Diversity in the Knowledge Economy and Society
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Diversity in the Knowledge Economy and Society

Heterogeneity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Edited by Elias G. Carayannis, Aris Kaloudis and Åge Mariussen

The key message of this book is that heterogeneity should be seen as an intrinsic and indispensable element of knowledge systems. The authors address the concept of heterogeneity in a multi-disciplinary fashion, including perspectives from evolutionary economics and innovation system studies, and relate this approach to existing theories in a broad range of fields.
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Chapter 6: Towards a Communicative Theory of Diverse Innovation Systems

Finn Orstavik


Finn Orstavik INTRODUCTION The concept of innovation systems has gained wide currency in the scholarly analysis of innovation (Freeman and Pavitt, 2002), and has become integrated in recent years into core policy rhetoric in the OECD and the European Union (Mytelka and Smith, 2002). The systemic approach is important for several reasons. Theoretically, it allows for the explicit analysis of diverse rationalities (Sandven, Chapter 4, this volume), and it makes it possible to argue convincingly that even radical innovation can be the outcome of human intentions and not simply the result of serendipity (Godø, Chapter 2, this volume). In policy, the systemic approach is useful as a basis for developing specific and hands-on economic, industrial, and innovation policies. For this reason, the systemic approach has been received enthusiastically by policy makers, in spite of the fact that the theoretical foundations of the concept have yet to be sufficiently developed (Acha et al., 2004; Edquist, 1997; Miettinen, 2002). The objective of this chapter is to contribute to the conceptual foundations of a new and more robust theory of innovation systems. Contrary to Edquist’s idea that the concept of innovation systems may be exploited and can be rendered useful even when renouncing theoretical rigour (Edquist, 1997), it can be argued that such rigour is essential. It is obviously important scientifically, if innovation systems theory is to be taken seriously in the future. In the longer term, theoretical rigour is also vital in order to secure the legitimacy of systemic...

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