The Future Of Innovation Is Everywhere

Mr Andrés Barge-Gil

The future of iInnovation is everywhere. All firms aiming to survive in the market should be innovation-proactive, no matter where they are performing nor what they are doing. This situation would raise many challenges both for practitioners and for scholars. They will need to deal with very different realities and delve into how innovation takes place in them, because, for sure, innovation is going to taking place in all of them.

First, more attention should be directed to firms performing in low-tech (LMT) sectors. The behaviour of LMT industries is an important indicator of the rate of investment in the economy in general. They are not only generators of innovation, but also key users of innovation generated in high-tech (HT) industries. In fact, LMT industries are often the best customers of HT industries and the levels of performance of LMT and HT industries are heavily interdependent.

Second, more attention should also be directed to firms performing in the services sector. The services sector accounts for the greatest portion of employment and it is extremely heterogeneous, so that specific studies for each subsector should be developed by people very familiar with the subject. Like LMT industries, they are very good clients of innovations developed in other sectors but their transfer would encompass many specific problems.

Third, non-technological innovations will be increasingly important, aimed at changing the way the firm operates and the perception of the environment about it. This would probably demand a higher interaction between technological and non-technological aspects of innovation and, accordingly, the generalization of highly interdisciplinary groups (anthropologists, philosophers, and historians, together with economists, managers, engineers or scientists).

Fourth, an increasing part of technological innovation will not be science-based but will consist on adapting existing technologies, knowledge or practices to specific contexts. Thus, a need for new indicators beyond R&D is urgent. Employees` skills and training, the design capabilities or the ability to forecast the evolutions of technologies and markets would be very important sources in this more distributed model of innovation.

Fifth, the open innovation paradigm will get stronger. Firms would need to turn to very different organizations and types of relationships related to innovation. A consequence is that the generation of relational capabilities will be crucial. A quasi market for knowledge intensive services has been developing for years. This market is characterised by very different organizations both cooperating and competing, such as universities, public research centres, technology institutes, engineering and consultancy firms, commercial laboratories, etc. A better characterization of their interactions and the interactions they develop with their customers is needed.

Sixth, in order to address all these challenges new methods should be used by academics. On the one hand, more qualitative evidence based on case studies in different contexts is needed. On the other hand, more creative utilisation of existing databases should be encouraged. Those initiatives of great scope, such as CIS-surveys and OCDE manuals should continue evolving as they have been doing last years to cope with changes.

Article © 2009 Mr Andrés Barge-Gil. All rights reserved.

about the author...

Mr Andrés Barge-Gil

Mr Andrés Barge-Gil

affiliation:   Laboratory For The Analysis And Evaluation Of Technical Change

position:  Associate Researcher

country:  Spain

area of interest:  Non-R&D based innovation

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