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Jürgen Wengel, Fraunhofer-Institut für Systemtechnik und Innovationsforschung (ISI), Institute for Systems and Innovation Research), Karlsruhe,
Philip Shapira, School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology
This chapter examines the remaking of innovation processes and boundaries in a traditional sector – the machine tool industry within the mechanical engineering segment of the economy. In the machine tool industry we observe both incremental and fundamental changes in recent years in the organization, scope and form of innovation. These offer useful insights into the driving factors of the development and disaggregation of sectoral systems of innovation. They also demonstrate the value of the concept of an SSI, complementing such parallel concepts as national systems of innovation and the idea of technological trajectories. At the same time, we argue that there is differentiation within and between SSIs that is context-sensitive, not only to broader national and international trends but also to the particular strategic orientations of constituent enterprises and regional technological infrastructures.
Our focus is the machine tool industry – a long-established sector in the regional industrial clusters of most advanced economies. We examine:
The influence of the regional innovation system elements through reference to existing studies highlighting the regional aspects.
The impact of the national innovation systems via comparison between countries for the same sector (Germany, Italy, the United States and Japan).
Technological specificities by including an analysis of several characteristic technological developments in the sector.
We use these analyses to advance three principal hypotheses about sectoral innovation systems in machine tools.
The sectoral boundaries of the innovation system in machine tools have significantly shifted in recent years, in response to competitive and technological changes. […]
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