Dynamics of New Industrial Knowledge Flows
Edited by Philip Cooke, Carla De Laurentis, Stewart MacNeill and Chris Collinge
11. Platforms of innovation: some examples Philip Cooke and Carla De Laurentis INTRODUCTION 11.1 We have seen from the preceding finely textured case material from key European industrial sectors that there are two main kinds of innovationlinked knowledge flows typically in operation. The first and more traditional of these is broadly intrasectoral, which we here term ‘cumulative’, while the second is newer and accordingly more interesting, which we here term ‘combinatory’. Cumulative knowledge acquisition and application occurs within either lead-firms or their sectoral system. The term ‘system’ denotes repeated historic interactive relations with, for example, preferred suppliers. Thus even though it is well known that a complex sector such as automotives habitually procures from other sectors such as rubber or glass, such suppliers are likely to exist in a systemic relationship over time with their prime customer(s). Hence, knowledge flows are cumulative and systemic; we are obviously alluding to something akin to that described by Breschi and Malerba (1997) as a ‘sectoral innovation system’. The more recently observed combinatory knowledge flows that are engaged in with respect to innovative interactions are extrasectoral, non-systemic and often involve combinations of distinctive, possibly unexpected interactions. These may, for reasons to be discussed, have elements of a more regional innovation system character. For introductory purposes it is helpful to reflect upon the strong and necessary new knowledge flow networks occasioned in the automotive and agricultural industries by the rise of the twin forces of heightened oil prices on the one hand, and widespread...
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