Knowledge intensive industries, networks, and collective learning
Knowledge has become a key source of competitiveness for advanced regions and nations, indicating a transformation of capitalism towards “knowledge-driven economies“. Know ledge intensive sectors in production and in services have a lead in this respect, they can be considered as role models for the future. The innovation process, the mechanisms of knowledge exchange and the respective linkages in those industries differ quite markedly from those in other sectors. Clustering and local knowledge spillovers are frequently stated phenomena, although it is still unclear to what extent regional networks and collective learning are indeed relevant and what the mechanisms of knowledge flows are. The aim of the paper is to examine in a differentiated way the character of the innovation process and the ype of interactions in those industries, in order to find out how strongly they are related to regional, national and international innovation systems. We will analyse the relevant types of actors, the respective mechanisms of knowledge exchange and the importance of collective learning and innovation. The paper will discuss relevant theoretical concepts and available evidence and it will be based on an empirical analysis for Austria. The data base is a recent firm survey which was carried out in the year 2003. From this analysis conclusions regarding the role of regional and other innovation systems for the development of knowledge-based industries will be drawn.
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