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

Author

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  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen & David Jacobson & Paul Robertson, 2006. "'Low-tech' Industries: Innovativeness and Development Perspectives—A Summary of a European Research Project," Prometheus, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1), pages 3-21.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:promet:v:24:y:2006:i:1:p:3-21
    DOI: 10.1080/08109020600563762
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Paola Cardamone & Valeria Pupo & Fernanda Ricotta, 2016. "Exploring The Relationship Between University And Innovation: Evidence From The Italian Food Industry," Working Papers 201602, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    2. Saon Ray, 2011. "International Technology Diffusion and Productivity in Low- and," Chapters,in: Knowledge Transfer and Technology Diffusion, chapter 13 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. 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.
    4. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich, 2010. "Determinants of proactive and reactive technology licensing: A contingency perspective," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 55-66, February.
    5. 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.
    6. Ali Fikirkoca & Bahar Çelikkol Erbas & Arcan Tuzcu, 2011. "Understanding Regional Innovation Systems in LMT Industries: The Case of Turkey as an Emerging Market Economy," Chapters,in: Knowledge Transfer and Technology Diffusion, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Diego Campagnolo & Arnaldo Camuffo, 2011. "Globalization and Low-technology Industries: The Case of Italian Eyewear," Chapters,in: Knowledge Transfer and Technology Diffusion, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Kuwayama, Mikio, 2009. "Quality of Latin American and Caribbean industrialization and integration into the global economy," Comercio Internacional 92, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    9. Rammer, Christian & Köhler, Christian & Murmann, Martin & Pesau, Agnes & Schwiebacher, Franz & Kinkel, Steffen & Kirner, Eva & Schubert, Torben & Som, Oliver, 2010. "Innovationen ohne Forschung und Entwicklung: Eine Untersuchung zu Unternehmen, die ohne eigene FuE-Tätigkeit neue Produkte und Prozesse einführen," Studien zum deutschen Innovationssystem 15-2011, Expertenkommission Forschung und Innovation (EFI) - Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation, Berlin.
    10. Paul L. Robertson & David Jacobson (ed.), 2011. "Knowledge Transfer and Technology Diffusion," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13293.
    11. Maria De Paola & Michela Ponzo & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2016. "Are Men Given Priority for Top Jobs? Investigating the Glass Ceiling in the Italian Academia," CSEF Working Papers 428, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    12. repec:spr:jknowl:v:8:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s13132-016-0443-z is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Liang-Chih Chen, 2011. "Technological Learning and Capability Building in LMT Industries in Newly Industrializing Countries: Selected Examples from Taiwan," Chapters,in: Knowledge Transfer and Technology Diffusion, chapter 11 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Filitz, Rainer & Henkel, Joachim & Tether, Bruce S., 2015. "Protecting aesthetic innovations? An exploration of the use of registered community designs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 1192-1206.
    15. Paul L. Robertson & David Jacobson & Richard N. Langlois, 2009. "Innovation Processes and Industrial Districts," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Industrial Districts, chapter 21 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. Thierry Rayna & Ludmila Striukova, 2011. "Engineering versus Craftsmanship: Innovation in the Electric Guitar Industry, 1945–1984," Chapters,in: Knowledge Transfer and Technology Diffusion, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    17. Santamara, Llus & Nieto, Mara Jess & Barge-Gil, Andrs, 2009. "Beyond formal R&D: Taking advantage of other sources of innovation in low- and medium-technology industries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 507-517, April.
    18. Woodfield, Paul & Husted, Kenneth, 2017. "Intergenerational knowledge sharing in family firms: Case-based evidence from the New Zealand wine industry," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 57-69.
    19. Plechero, Monica, 2009. "The Role of Local Universities in Improving Traditional SMEs Innovative Performances: The Veneto Region Case," Papers in Innovation Studies 2009/11, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    20. repec:sgm:resrep:v:2:i:22:y:2016:p:23-32 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Franz Tödtling & Markus Grillitsch, 2014. "Types of Innovation, Competencies of Firms, and External Knowledge Sourcing—Findings from Selected Sectors and Regions of Europe," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 5(2), pages 330-356, June.

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