Category: General

Social Innovation – A Workshop

I am currently attending a workshop about social innovation and CSR held in the baroque castle of Urstein. The workshop is organized by Thomas Osburg and by Rene Schmidpeter.

In the evening there will be a book launch. The presentations are:

Michael Hopkins: Humanitarian Perspectives between Ethics and Innovation

André Habisch: A Social Capital Approach towards Social Innovation

Susan Müller: Business Perspectives of Social Innovation Keynote 4

Bradley Googins: Leading with Innovation

Dinner-Speech 1 by Gilbert Lenssen

Dinner-Speech 2 by Joan Fontrodona

Deepa Prahalad: Social innovation and the bottom of pyramid

Innovating knowledge transfer

This year’s PRO INNO Europe Partnering Event (April 5 – April 7) in Munich focussed on a broad understanding for knowledge transfer to support broad based innovation. It also emphasized that innovation depends on sources which go far beyond internal research and development of companies. My presentation with the title “How much innovation bases on outside technology, knowledge and creativity?” highlighted the (preliminary) findings of the INNOGrips WP 3 about the effects of and the determinants for firms’ utilization of open innovation practices among European SMEs.

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.

Open innovation practices and their effect on innovation performance

The paper “Open innovation practices and their effect on innovation performance” by Carter Bloch, Sverre Herstad, Els Van De Velde and myself is accepted for publication with the International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management. The paper develops an indicator framework for examining open innovation practices and their impact on performance. The analysis, which is based on Community Innovation Survey (CIS) data for Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Norway, yields a number of interesting results. First, we find that open innovation practices have a strong impact on innovation performance. Second, results suggest that that broad-based approaches yield the strongest impacts, and that the collective of open innovation strategies appear more important than individual practices. Third, intramural investments are still important for innovative performance, stressing that open innovation is not a substitute for internal knowledge building.

Do direct R&D subsidies lead to the monopolization of R&D in the economy?

The WP “Do Direct R&D Subsidies Lead to the Monopolization of R&D in the Economy?” by Dirk Czarnitzki and Bernd Ebersberger has been finalized recently.

In this paper we explore the impact of R&D subsidies on the concentration of R&D in an economy. First, governments are often criticized of subsidizing predominantly larger firms and thus contributing to the persistence of leadership in markets and higher barriers to entry, and, hence, reduced competition eventually. Second, theoretical literature, such as endogenous growth literature, has also shown that governmental intervention in the market for R&D affects the distribution of R&D which finally affects product market concentration. We test the relationship between R&D subsidies and R&D concentration employing treatment effects models on data of German and Finnish manufacturing firms. The data and estimations allow calculating concentration indices for the population of firms for both the actual situation where some selected companies receive R&D subsidies and the counterfactual situation describing the absence of subsidies.

We find that R&D subsidies do not lead to higher concentration of R&D. On the contrary, we even find that R&D concentration is significantly reduced because of subsidies. This result may be attributed to the fact that technology policy maintains special funding schemes for small and medium-sized companies. The fact that the larger companies benefit from a higher likelihood of a subsidy receipt is offset by the phenomenon that smaller firms may be completely deterred from any R&D activity if they would not receive governmental support.