Systems of Innovation: Technologies, Institutions and Organizations

Posted: 4 Nov 2009

Date Written: 1997


Innovation and technical change play significant roles in both firm and economic growth, resulting in the creation of knowledge and the formation of new products. Due to the competitive aspects of innovation, firms often interact with and share and/or exchange information with other organizations, including other firms and universities, to further their innovative pursuits. Additionally, other factors, such as laws, cultural norms, and social rules, impact a firm's innovative abilities and behaviors. Organizations and institutions, economic infrastructures, sectoral innovation systems, and national imaginations all have a role in innovation systems. This edited work is composed of 17 essays, providing differing perspectives. To better understand the systems of innovation approach to business, this book examines three significant issues: part one dissects conceptual problems related to the theory of the systems of innovation approach; part two discusses the relationship between the systems of innovation approach and other innovation theories; and part three promotes greater understanding of the dynamics of systems of innovation. The various systems of innovation approaches have nine common characteristics: innovations and learning at the center of focus; holistic and interdisciplinary; historical perspective; differences between regional systems (no optimal system); interdependence; encompasses both technological and organizational innovations; institutions are central; conceptual ambiguity; and conceptual frameworks rather than formal theories. The creation and distribution of technological knowledge, including interindustry differences, are also explored. Evolutionary theories of economics and the ways in which they influence the systems of innovation approach are examined. The influence of policy upon technological change is also discussed, as are Technological and institutional change as components in the creation and change of innovation systems. Challenges to the systems approach are examined, including policy-based challenges to firms, paradigmatic shifts in innovation systems, and differences among European systems of innovation. (AKP)

Keywords: Innovation systems, Evolutionary economics, Information networks, Organizational learning, Technology policies, Innovation process, Firm growth, Technology acquisition, Economic development, Technological change, Knowledge production, Social networks

Suggested Citation

Edquist, Charles, Systems of Innovation: Technologies, Institutions and Organizations (1997). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship, Available at SSRN:

Charles Edquist (Contact Author)

Lund University ( email )

Box 117
Lund, SC Skane S221 00

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