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Knowledge ecologies and ecosystems? An empirically grounded reflection on recent developments in innovation systems theory

Papaioannou, Theo; Wield, David and Chataway, Joanna (2007). Knowledge ecologies and ecosystems? An empirically grounded reflection on recent developments in innovation systems theory. In: The 6th International Triple Helix Conference on University-Government-Industry Relations, 16-18 May 2007, Singapore.

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Since the development of the national systems of innovation theory in the early 1990’s there has been a succession of attempts to research the systemic dimension of innovation at many different levels of economy and society. More recently, there has been some shift in the academic and policy debate on innovation from a more traditional systems approach to ecologies and/or ecosystems. The latter are concepts transferred from the world of biology to the social world in order to explain the evolutionary nature of interrelations between different individuals, their innovative activities and their environment. This paper evaluates the concept of knowledge ecology and the related implications for innovation systems theory on two fundamental grounds: firstly, on the grounds of theoretical plausibility and conceptual consistency; secondly, on empirical grounds of the case of public-private interrelations of biotech innovation in Cambridge. The paper argues that the concept of knowledge ecology and the associated version of innovation systems theory can lead to problems of reductionism and functionalism. This is due to its development in abstraction from more grounded analysis of historical processes of capitalism. Knowledge and innovation need to be looked at in the context of historically founded processes of economic and social development.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Keywords: Knowledge Ecology; Innovation System; Public-Private Interrelations; Biotech
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Development, Geography
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
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Item ID: 8550
Depositing User: Theo Papaioannou
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2007
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2018 03:57
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