Knowledge Creation and Innovation in Medium-technology Clusters
Chapter 3: Innovation Patterns and Best Practices in Medium-technology Networks
Rüdiger Wink INTRODUCTION 3.1 The last chapter showed the increasing importance of medium-tech sectors and the specificities of innovation in these sectors from a macro perspective. Within this chapter, the focus will turn to the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the medium-tech sectors and their contributions to the successful restructuring of EU medium-tech industries. The major backbone of this chapter is an empirical study on innovation processes in medium-technology SMEs in different European regions. Original qualitative and quantitative data was collected to get a better understanding of the organization of the innovation processes, the role of organizational learning, networks and international linkages for SMEs in the medium-technology manufacturing sector. The mediumtechnology manufacturing sector was chosen as most of the European firms are engaged in this sector and many new high technologies need close connections to the knowledge base of the established technologies in the medium-technology sector to achieve market breakthroughs and diffusions. In particular for lagging regions, medium-technology manufacturing segments are the only innovation areas possible when considering the existing resources. As already explained in Chapter 2, data on the market share of European exporters in global trade show that medium-technology market shares are dominated by European firms, while for low- and high-technology products the European market shares are remarkably smaller. Thus, medium technologies should be in the strategic focus of European industrial policy despite the fact that most empirical studies on innovation processes have so far concentrated on high-technology segments. Seven regions were selected to...
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