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Edited by Cristiano Antonelli
Chapter 8: Complexity and the Coordination of Technological Knowledge: The Case of Innovation Platforms
8 Complexity and the coordination of technological knowledge: the case of innovation platforms* Davide Consoli and Pier Paolo Patrucco 1. INTRODUCTION The chapter integrates insights from complexity theory into the economics of technological knowledge in order to reflect systematically on the variety of forms and processes that underpin knowledge production, dissemination and coordination. In so doing the chapter brings together two complementary bodies of scholarly research: the analysis of multiple interactions occurring within network-type structures which is typical of the literature on complex dynamic systems; on the other hand the study of learning processes as intentional, mindful and purposive behaviors set in motion by myopic agents, which is at the heart of the economics of innovation. For what concerns the formalization of structured interactions and the emergence of networks we draw from complexity theory and emphasize the intentional nature of those interactions aimed at sourcing external knowledge and competences, and integrating them in the extant repertoires. In this view actors possess limited resources and knowledge, and their ability to innovate is contingent to the implementation of selective interactions by means of research, development and learning processes. Complexity theories emerge in economics as a response to the need of understanding systematically the dynamics of innovation and technological knowledge taking place in increasingly dispersed contexts (see Antonelli, Chapter 1 in this volume). This approach facilitates the appreciation of both structural and dynamic properties of evolving economic systems; the changing forms of interaction across actors are crucial for the evolution of the system...
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