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‘Low‐tech’ Industries: Innovativeness and Development Perspectives—A Summary of a European Research Project
Hartmut Hirsch‐Kreinsen , David Jacobson & Paul L. Robertson
This paper introduces the findings of a European research project on the innovativeness of industrial ‘low‐tech’ sectors. This research was carried out in the context of the ongoing discussion about the emerging knowledge society. We argue that innovation depends not only on industries with frontline technological knowledge but also on low‐tech industries. Our starting point is an examination of widely held views on the strengths of high‐technology, followed by a discussion of the project’s objectives and methodology. Thirdly, we present the basic findings of the project. They include: statistical data stressing the importance of the low‐tech sector; an elaboration of the main dimensions, resources and practices of low‐tech innovativeness; and the interrelationships of low‐tech with high‐tech sectors. Fourthly, we discuss policy issues derived from the findings. One key policy recommendation is to support activities raising awareness of low‐tech industries and their specific needs and conditions. A fundamental precondition for this is the development of a new, broader understanding of innovation that does not equate innovative ability with excellence in R&D alone. Finally, we emphasise that, in spite of globalisation and growing competition, prospects for a substantial range of low‐tech and medium low‐tech (LMT) sectors and companies are bright in the high‐tech countries of the European Union.
Constructing Advantage: Distributed Innovation and the Management of Local Economic Growth
John De La Mothe & Geoff Mallory
This paper discusses, in a preliminary way, the new dialogues that successful knowledge‐intensive communities have adopted in order to achieve global business growth. Using empirical data on innovation from cities in Canada and the United States; innovation governance models from small and medium sized countries including Scotland, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden; and using differences in technology sectors—particularly telecom and photonics—this paper will present some modest insights into the path dependencies of small firms, small nations and globally competitive innovations.
Ireland’s National Innovation System: An Exploratory Study of Supporting Institutions and Dynamic Actors
Dimitrios Pontikakis , Thomas McDonnell & Will Geoghegan
This paper begins with a brief look at the literature on national innovation systems (NIS). Building on the NIS approach, we present a simple conceptual framework. National innovative competence is dependent on the presence of dynamic STI actors, operating within the confines of compatible institutions. We distinguish the roles played by different STI actors and argue that heterogeneous actors engage in innovation for different reasons. Collaborative innovation is not always a natural consequence of engagement in innovation but is characterised by a distinct set of considerations. The latter part of the paper is concerned with the application of this conceptual framework to the case of Ireland. We identify the institutions pertaining to Ireland’s current innovative performance. An outline of STI actors according to their role in the system is then presented. In turn we outline the various contributions of Irish STI actors and explore their motives for engaging in innovation and collaborative innovation.
Policy Initiative Dilemmas Surrounding Media Convergence: A Cross National Perspective
The discourse surrounding convergence of mass media content and infrastructures has been fraught with extravagant expectations and rhetoric. This article utilizes a cross‐national perspective and focuses on regulatory aspects of the media convergence issue in order to explore the disconnect between the hype and realities of convergence. Three research questions characterize the relevant existing policy initiatives, identify obstacles to convergence and in comparativist terms ascertain which policy models have been relatively more effective. This paper adopts a case study structure integrating convergence policy models in the US, South Africa, Japan and India.
English Spelling Reform
James B. Carter
Knowledge is the wealth of nations, and language is the main social technology by which knowledge is communicated. An efficient orthography is therefore of great importance. English, as the principal international language of the early twenty‐first century, has much to offer the world, but its spelling is archaic and dysfunctional. Technically, the reform of English spelling would not be difficult, but there are very major political obstacles in the way. The benefits of spelling reform would greatly exceed the costs, and a ‘Big bang’ approach to reform is required. The present article outlines a technical solution and the way in which reform could be implemented.