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Proximity, knowledge base and the innovation process The case of Unilever’s Becel diet margarine

Author

Listed:
  • Davids, Mila

    () (School of Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology)

  • Frenken, Koen

    () (Innovation Studies, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University & CIRCLE, Lund University)

Abstract

The proximity concept refers to types of inter-organizational relationships that are expected to facilitate interactive learning and collaborative innovation. Different forms of proximity include geographical, cognitive, social, institutional and organizational proximity. Following an extensive case study of a new diet margarine developed by Unilever, we extent the proximity framework by theorizing how the relative importance of each proximity dimension depends on the type of knowledge being produced, where we distinguish between analytical, synthetic and symbolic knowledge. We argue that our theoretical framework in principle applies to product innovations in all science-based industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Davids, Mila & Frenken, Koen, 2015. "Proximity, knowledge base and the innovation process The case of Unilever’s Becel diet margarine," Papers in Innovation Studies 2015/7, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lucirc:2015_007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    innovation; proximity; knowledge; science-based industries; multinational enterprise; management;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • L66 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Food; Beverages; Cosmetics; Tobacco
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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