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Go abroad or have strangers visit?

Go abroad or have strangers visit? On organizational search spaces and local linkages.” Is a paper, on which Sverre J. Herstad and me have been working for quite a while. It was accepted for publication with the Journal of Economic Geography. It is now available online.

The paper explores the role of multinational enterprise groups in linking geographically bounded innovation collaboration networks to external sources of information. To investigate if the information content of the corporate network of affiliates increases with internationalization, we distinguish first between uninational and multinational networks. We then compare affiliation with MNE networks headquartered within the focal economy to affiliation with networks which are controlled from outside. Using Norwegian firm level innovation survey data, we find that the former is associated with the highest likelihood that affiliates combine local collaborative knowledge development outside the corporate network, and innovation search within it.

Innovation in the wood-based industries

The ZukunftsForumHolz (forum for the future of wood) presented by pro:holz Austria draws representatives of the Austrian wood-based industries to the loveley vilage of Alpbach. Participating this years forum with discussions about innovation and wood-based industries gives me a first hand insight into the opportunities and challenges faced by all actors in the industry. The key note about social innovation was delivered by Josef Hochgerner.

Moderating a workshop about innovation in the wood-based industries is an amazing experience in this context. It allows to observe the whole value chain of an industry as represenetatives of all partners in the industry are present such as representatives of primary production, saw mills (Binderholz), wood building producers (e.g. Unterluggauer), architects (e.g. Armin Kathan of holzbox) and designers (e.g. Günther Grall). The group blended with actors in the sectoral innovation system such as academic research partners (e.g. Michael Flach, Alfred Teischinger and colleagues) and representatives of wood interest groups which broadened the discussion.