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'Low-tech' Industries: Innovativeness and Development Perspectives—A Summary of a European Research Project

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Author Info

  • Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen
  • David Jacobson
  • Paul Robertson

Abstract

This paper introduces the findings of a European research project on the innovativeness of industrial 'low-tech' sectors. This research was carried out in the context of the ongoing discussion about the emerging knowledge society. We argue that innovation depends not only on industries with frontline technological knowledge but also on low-tech industries. Our starting point is an examination of widely held views on the strengths of high-technology, followed by a discussion of the project's objectives and methodology. Thirdly, we present the basic findings of the project. They include: statistical data stressing the importance of the low-tech sector; an elaboration of the main dimensions, resources and practices of low-tech innovativeness; and the interrelationships of low-tech with high-tech sectors. Fourthly, we discuss policy issues derived from the findings. One key policy recommendation is to support activities raising awareness of low-tech industries and their specific needs and conditions. A fundamental precondition for this is the development of a new, broader understanding of innovation that does not equate innovative ability with excellence in R&D alone. Finally, we emphasise that, in spite of globalisation and growing competition, prospects for a substantial range of low-tech and medium low-tech (LMT) sectors and companies are bright in the high-tech countries of the European Union.

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File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08109020600563762
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Prometheus.

Volume (Year): 24 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 3-21

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Handle: RePEc:taf:promet:v:24:y:2006:i:1:p:3-21

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Related research

Keywords: low-technology; technology indicators; knowledge society; innovation policy; industrial development;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich, 2009. "The role of corporate technology strategy and patent portfolios in low-, medium- and high-technology firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 559-569, April.
  2. Paul L. Robertson & David Jacobson & Richard N. Langlois, 2008. "Innovation Processes and Industrial Districts," Working papers 2008-03, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  3. Robertson, Paul L. & Patel, Parimal R., 2007. "New wine in old bottles: Technological diffusion in developed economies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 708-721, June.
  4. Plechero, Monica, 2009. "The Role of Local Universities in Improving Traditional SMEs Innovative Performances: The Veneto Region Case," CIRCLE Electronic Working Papers 2009/11, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
  5. Nugroho, Yanuar, 2011. "Opening the black box: The adoption of innovations in the voluntary sector--The case of Indonesian civil society organisations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 761-777, June.

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