Innovation Studies

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Transcript Innovation Studies

Innovation Studies:
the Invention of a Specialty
Workshop on the Rhetoric
of Innovation in Contemporary Society
University of Helsinki
8-9 February 2010
- Freeman, 1974: ‘Few economists have
stopped to examine’ technological innovation
- Forty years old
- Invention: adding an economic dimension to an
old category (US NBER)
- Technological change: inventing a disciplinary
category (US WPA; spin-off ‘committee’)
- Innovation: a too subjective category
Introduction (continued)
- What is Freeman’s intention?
- Inventing a new tradition
- Freeman as ‘innovative ideologist’
- Selecting: combining (and neglecting) previous
- Innovating: bringing in new perspectives
- Legitimizing: using ‘key’ authors
- The Economics of Industrial Innovation (1974)
Structure of the book
- Technological innovation as ‘introduction
and spread of new and improved
products and processes in the
- Part I: Rise of ‘research-intensive
- Part II: How firms innovate
- Part III: Policies
- History
- Secondary literature
- Historical approach or background history (economic
- Surveys (and statistics)
- Own (SPRU; contracting works)
- Others: OECD, US NSF
- ‘Theoretical’ work
- Study of factors like firm size (‘Schumpeterian hypothesis’)
- Management, decision theory and uncertainty (RAND)
- Trends in R&D (OECD)
Institutional perspective
- Main characteristics according to the
- Broader context than economics
- But the firm is still at the center of the
- Gave rise to National Systems of
Market perspective
- Technological change: innovation as introduction
(use or adoption) of invention in industrial production
- Like inventors (19th century), sociologists (Ogburn; Rogers),
- Precursor term to technological innovation
- Issue
- (-) Technological unemployment (1930s)
- (+) Productivity
- Measurement: increase of labour productivity as indicator of
technology use
- A voluminous literature
- Econometrics and the production function
- ‘Induced innovation’
Market perspective
- A new definition of innovation: innovation as
introduction to the market (products)
- First commercialization
- Schumpeter or Maclaurin?
- Perspective of the inventor (turned businessman)
- As opposed to the ‘imitator’ (technological change)
- Issue
- Getting more innovation
- How? Opening the black-box
- Innovation as a process (third meaning)
Policy perspective
How government may help?
European concerns with lags and gaps
- SPRU as a think-tank from the OECD
Changing priorities of R&D expenses: ‘consumer-oriented
- Wishful thinking (but an erreur de parcours)
- Consumer perspective comes from a focus on products (processes
causes unemployment)
- Most issues left to STS studies
A prescriptive perspective
- Universals (progress, conditions of life, employment)
- Normative vocabulary (should, must)
- Policy recommendations
• Machlup and the ‘systemic’ perspective (I/O)
– Criticized by US mainstream economists (Nelson)
– Used in Europe: descriptive statistics; grand narratives
• Schumpeter
– From one among several authors (1974) to THE father of
innovation studies (1982): a ‘neo-Schumpeterian’ interpretation
• ‘Histories’ of the field (Handbooks; ‘mappings’)
– No tradition of research but a resurrection
– Symbolic father: originality and legitimacy
• Two strategies available: contrasting or ignoring
– Few uses of the technological change tradition: econometrics
(production function), productivity issues and indicator
• Two existing combinations: Peck et al, 1967; Mansfield, 1968
– Maclaurin (first commercialization; linear model)
– Ogburn (innovation without the word)
- A theory of innovation?
- Innovation in ideas, things and behavior (Barnett, 1953)
- Invention → innovation → diffusion → impacts
- Freeman et al.: a survey, conceptualization on particular
aspects, and framework (‘research-intensive economy ’)
- Inventing a new tradition
- No linear story but two traditions
- Technological change (America)
- Technological innovation (Europe)
- Hegemony, perhaps
- Other disciplines make no use of the term
- Official legitimacy
- Monopoly, no
- Broader conceptions exist (Shavinina, 2003)
Conclusion (continued)
- The ‘scholarly’ status of the field
- To what extent is the specialty critical – as
opposed to the social studies of science –, and
why doesn’t the specialty engage in scholarly
discussions with other sciences like sociology and
history, as well as with ‘critical’ researchers?
- Constitutive and self-promotional (Shinn, 2002)
- How to explain the performativity of the specialty
(Godin, 1998) and the invention of grand (abstract
and normative) narratives as explanation of the
phenomena under study (Godin, 2010)?
- What role has consulting work to do with this orientation?
- National Systems of Innovation
- List or Galbraith?
- ‘Military industrial complex’ (first stage of
R&D) contrasted to a new stage (customers)
which will happen only if regulated (national
- ‘Military innovation system’ → ‘Social
innovation system’ → ‘National System of