Access to global innovation networks (GINs) has been unequal across the regions of the world. While certain regions are considered knowledge hubs in GINs, others still remain marginalized; this points to the role of regional innovation systems (RISs) in the emergence and development of GINs.
Using firm-level data collected through a survey and case studies in 2009– 2010, this paper systematically compares the patterns of global networks in the information and communications technology industry in a selection of European, Chinese and Indian regions. The results show that GINs are more common in regions, which are not organizationally and institutionally thick, suggesting that GINs may be a compensatory mechanism for weaknesses in the RIS.
Cristina Chaminade & Monica Plechero (2015) Do Regions Make a Difference? Regional Innovation Systems and Global Innovation Networks in the ICT Industry, European Planning Studies, 23:2, 215-237.
Professor in Innovation Studies at the School of Economics and Management and CIRCLE (the Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy), Lund University, Sweden.
Her current work is driven by the conviction that a sustainable and inclusive world is possible but that achieving that goal will require radical changes in current systems of production and consumption. In her research she looks for innovative practices all over the world, which combine novel ways to acquire income, with social equity and nature conservation.
As a researcher she is particularly interested in the process of transformation from unsustainable to sustainable systems. Her leading questions are what might enable the direction and geographical scale of the transformation and how can transformations be accelerated. The latter is paramount if we consider the urgency of the challenges our planet is facing today.
A red threat in her research is the focus on the global dimensions of transformations. Currently she is investigating regions around the world whose fast transformation is particularly important worldwide. Those are critical regions because they are particularly vulnerable to global unsustainable human action (for example, Small Island Development States), or because they have a high impact on the transformation of world systems (for example, the Amazon basin) or particular subsystems (for example, food production or consumption).
The interview transcript
Hi welcome to coffee break with researchers.
Today I’m having a coffee break with Christina Chaminade. She’s a professor at the department of economic history at Lund University in Sweden. She’s also an expert globalization of innovation.
Hello Christina thank you for accepting my invitation to a coffee break how are you doing?
I’m doing fine Lorena thank you for inviting me.
Today I’m having a black coffee from Indonesia which one are you having?
I’m having a super nice Arabiga 100% black coffee from Costa Rica, very nice and very soft.
That sounds very nice indeed I will definitely need to try that one.
I was reading one of your recent papers the one about Global innovation of Networks in firms, in which you analyze if these networks depend on the location of firms. This is an empirical paper, which was very interesting for me; I would like to know from your words what the paper was about.
Yeah in the paper we are comparing the propensity of companies located in different regions to go global, so we are really looking at how the regional context in which they are located affects the way that they engage globally in the search of knowledge for example, for innovation.
Which one was your main finding?
I can tell you what we were expecting. We were expecting that companies that were located in very strong regions like capital regions, or regions that are very diversified, that those were the companies that would go more often globally because they were strong companies basically or multinational companies, and rather than that, we found that it was companies that were located in regions that were neither to peripheral not too strong, were the ones that were engaging more in different types of Global Innovation Networks. So it was telling us something about the capacity to go global and at the same time the necessity to go global, so both needed to be hand in hand.
Did you have any specific challenge in doing the empirical part?
Yes, actually I mean every time that you work with developing countries there is a very big challenge in finding the data so finding data at the regional level for Bangalore and for Beijing was actually quite a big challenge in this paper, and it was also quite challenge to try to capture the degree of thickness of the region, so which indicators to use to say that one region is very thick and another region is thin for example so that was a major challenge in the paper.
This challenge can also be a motivation in doing research like that; did you have also a personal motivation in doing it?
Yes, I am very interested this international comparative analysis; I’m very interested in processes of transformation of regions in developing countries. So those are regions and companies that are located in regions that are usually not too well developed where there is quite a limited amount of resources and they really need to go abroad to gather the knowledge that they need to innovate. So understanding these processes of transformation in developing countries is really a personal driver I’m very interested in that.
I can copy to that coming from Colombia, a developing country, this is a very interesting topic for me, could you please tell me a policy implication for policy making in developing countries?
One very important policy implication is regarding this balance of having the capacity and having the need. So usually companies that are located in regions in developing countries they have the need to go abroad because they don’t have the resources in the regional innovation system in which they are located so they use this international network as a kind of compensation mechanism but sometimes they do not have the capacity to go abroad. So for policies is very important that they focus both on sustaining this capacity building or capability building in companies and at the same time helping them to go abroad to, for example participate in international innovation fairs, or help them to participate in international collaboration projects, so these support for internationalization and capacity-building is really really important in firms in developing countries.
Is any of these findings a future path for you for doing research?
Yes, I am definitely very interested in researching this interplay between regional dynamics and global networks and right now I’m more looking at the transformations toward sustainability and again what is the interplay between this regional endowment basically and global international networks. I will continue working on this field in the following years.
That sounds very exciting. I’m very much looking forward to your next paper and thank you Christina for joining me in this coffee break and then I hope to see you next time, bye bye.
Good bye, thank you.
Thank you for watching. If you are interested in more details about this research find here to link to the academic publication.Tags: China, Europe, Global innovation networks, India, Innovation, Knowledge sourcing, Regional inovation systems