New Roles for Key Players
Edited by Willem Molle and Julia Djarova
Chapter 5: ICT and Firm Innovation in European ‘Catching Up’ Countries
5. ICT and firm innovation in European ‘catching-up’ countries Jacob Dencik and Julia Djarova1 INTRODUCTION Many economists consider the development, application and utilisation of ICT as a critical factor for economic performance and competitiveness in general, and for productivity, efficiency and innovation in particular. At the firm level, increased use of ICT leads to greater efficiency, lower costs and access to larger and new markets. At the national level, the enhanced application and use of ICT generates higher national productivity, job creation and competitiveness. We have seen in the introductory chapter that there are considerable differences between countries and regions as to their levels of innovation and their degree of inclusion in the knowledge economy. The new EU member countries score in general rather low on the relevant indicators. In order to catch up with the EU medium, these countries have to speed up the application of ICT by firms. As this will not happen by itself, the governments of these countries must adopt policies that facilitate and stimulate the use of ICT by firms. However, there is a general lack of understanding of the relation between ICT and firms that have to work under the conditions that prevail in most new member states. As a consequence there is also a lack of clarity as to the best way for the public authorities at all levels (EU, nation, region) to intervene. The objective of this chapter is to shed some light on these two issues. To that end we have...
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