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Edited by Philip Cooke, Bjørn Asheim, Ron Boschma, Ron Martin, Dafna Schwartz and Franz Tödtling
Chapter 12: Networks of Innovation
12 Networks of innovation Elisa Giuliani INTRODUCTION Innovation is nowadays considered an engine of economic growth (Fagerberg et al., 1994; Silverberg and Verspagen, 1994). As suggested by Freeman and Perez (1988), a chief explanation for this is that, when a new techno-economic paradigm emerges and displaces an old one, the new paradigm opens up an unprecedented range of new investment opportunities which, after a period of adjustment, lead to a new wave of growth. New techno-economic paradigms are technological revolutions like the introduction of electricity, or the information technologies that have pervasive effects in the economy by raising productivity, but also by leading to the emergence of new industries as well as to changes in the institutional systems and in the functioning of society. While these revolutions happen only episodically, they are nevertheless based on an underlying process of continuous exploration and innovation carried out by firms, public institutions and other actors in the economy in the search for new solutions to problems. A key characteristic of innovation is that it is widely recognized as being a social process, involving the interaction, alliance and cooperation, and thus the networking, of different actors, being rarely the result of an individual effort by a single firm (Freeman, 1991). This chapter presents a literature review about innovation networks, with a particular focus on regional networks.1 The chapter is organized as follows. I first introduce the concept of ‘network’ as a governance structure and outline the various strands of literature about innovation networks. The...
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