Edited by Jonathan Michie
Chapter 5: Innovation and Globalisation: A Systems of Innovation Perspective
Jeremy Howells 1 Introduction The systems of innovation approach has proved valuable in exploring the role of geographical scale and different scalar levels in relation to the innovation process and as a way of analysing wider socioeconomic processes and institutional arrangements in innovative activity that have been so often neglected in the past. From a nationally based starting point, in terms of national systems of innovation (NSI: see Freeman, 1987, 1988; Lundvall, 1988; Edquist, 1997a), the systems of innovation approach has been considerably extended as a conceptual construct. Thus, Chris Freeman (1987, 1) originally dened the systems of innovation concept (from a national perspective) as ‘the network of institutions in the public and private sectors whose activities and interactions initiate, import, modify and diffuse new technologies’. The concept has widened and developed over time (see reviews by Lundvall, 1992b; Nelson, 1992; Nelson and Rosenberg, 1993; McKelvey, 1994; Freeman, 1995; Edquist, 1997b; Archibugi et al., 1999), but it is these institutional and infrastructural settings (which were initially reviewed at a national level) that frame the search, exploration and learning processes involved in innovation, that remain the foundations of the approach and its perspective (Lundvall, 1992b, 12; Galli and Teubal, 1997, 351–3) at whatever scale. Thus, in spatial terms the application and conceptualisation of the approach has moved in terms of its exploration and development as a concept, both ‘up’, to global systems of innovation (see, for example, Spencer, 2000; Carlsson, 2006), and ‘down’, both to regional systems of innovation (RSI;...
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