اندازه گیری نوآوری با تقاضا در یک سیستم بخشی : نقش کاربران صنعتی در نیمه هادی ها
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|2359||2013||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||11840 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Research Policy, Volume 42, Issue 1, February 2013, Pages 1–14
How relevant is innovation by demand compared to innovation by other actors in a sector? In quantitative terms, this is a yet unanswered question. The current study fills this major gap in the literature on industry studies. By taking a sectoral system perspective, this study is able to highlight the magnitude of innovation by intermediate user firms in a high technology sector: semiconductors. Using a combination of different datasets – patents, co-patents, R&D alliances and new ventures in semiconductors – this study proposes a novel quantitative approach to assessing the magnitude of innovative activity by user firms. The study reaches several findings. First, the magnitude of innovation by user firms, as measured by patents, is high in both absolute and relative terms compared to semiconductor firms and other actors in the sector. Second, the distribution of patents among different demand segments is highly uneven. Third, innovative user firms are highly heterogeneous in terms of size, diversification and vertical integration. Fourth, collaboration in R&D and co-patenting activity in semiconductors take place not just between user firms and semiconductor firms, but also among user firms themselves. Fifth, innovative user firms are quite active in entrepreneurial activity in semiconductors and their new ventures, on average, survive longer than spin-offs or other start-ups.
How relevant is innovation by demand compared to innovation by other actors in a sector? In quantitative terms, this is a yet unanswered question. The current study fills this major gap in the literature. By taking a sectoral system perspective and using a combination of indicators and datasets, this study examines the magnitude of innovation by intermediate users in a high technology sector: semiconductors. Research on sectoral systems has shown that the innovation process involves interaction among a wide variety of actors for the generation and exchange of knowledge (Malerba, 2002). These actors may include the firms within the industry, linked firms such as equipment, component and material suppliers, consumers and users, universities, research organizations, financial institutions and other public and private organizations that interact in various ways within the broader sectoral system. The roles of these different actors and their importance for innovation vary according to the sector involved. Such observations have led researchers to attempt to assess the contribution of these actors within a sectoral context. Much of this empirical work has focused on the relevance for innovation of producers, universities, and financial and public research organizations (see for example Mowery and Nelson, 1999, Malerba, 2004 and Malerba and Mani, 2009). By contrast, little empirical work has been done within a sectoral systems perspective to date to assess the relevance of innovation by demand with respect to the other actors. As a result, the contribution of demand to innovation may be systematically underestimated by existing research (see the discussion by Lettl et al., 2009). This comes as a surprise. In fact, in recent years a burgeoning literature has convincingly shown that demand, in terms of end-consumer users or intermediate user firms, plays an important role in affecting innovation in sectors. Broad studies on sectoral systems, such as the ones cited above, have also emphasized the active role of demand in sectors such as software, machine tools and semiconductors. In addition, since the pioneering work of von Hippel, 1988 and von Hippel, 2005 on lead users, numerous case studies and survey analyses have highlighted the major role of users in innovation processes across a variety of sectors. Yet despite these contributions, we still do not have clear ideas of the quantitative magnitude of innovation by demand at the sectoral level. A number of basic questions have yet to be answered. Within a sectoral system, how many innovations are developed by demand compared to other actors? What differences exist across different types and categories of demand? Does the magnitude of innovation by demand change over time? Answers to these questions are vital for both researchers and policy makers because they provide a quantitative indication of both the absolute and relative importance of innovation by demand within a sectoral system and lay the ground for comparative analyses of the relevance of demand across different sectoral systems. The novelty of this study is to fill the gap in our understanding of the relative importance, in quantitative terms, of innovation by demand – defined here as intermediate users – in a sector. We will measure the magnitude of innovation by demand in one sector – semiconductors – through a series of indicators that will allow us to provide a quantitative analysis of the relevance of innovation by demand over time. After a brief discussion of what we know about the role of demand in innovation in different sectoral systems (Section 2), we present an analysis of the role of demand in the semiconductor sectoral system of innovation and introduce the four different indicators and data sets used in the study (Section 3). We then present the findings from our quantitative analysis (Section 4) of the extent and relative weight of innovation by demand in semiconductors over a 20-year period. Finally, in Section 5, we draw some conclusions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
By taking a sectoral system perspective in which innovation is related to the various actors active in a broad technology such as semiconductors, this study has examined a simple and important, but as yet unexplored, issue: the magnitude of innovation by users in a high technology sector. Several results emerge from this analysis. First, the magnitude of innovation by user firms, as measured by patents, was quite high in both absolute and relative terms compared to firms in the industry over the entire period under examination. This finding is quite novel and somewhat surprising. While it has long been pointed out that demand plays an important role in innovation, that users have made important process innovations in semiconductors, and that ‘lead users’ develop innovations on their own, these results demonstrate that a broad range of intermediate users were a major source of patents in a product field (semiconductor devices) outside of their ‘core’ business. Second, the distribution of innovation among firms from different intermediate user industries was highly uneven; this finding points to differences across final demand groups in terms of the requirements, the intensity of use, and the strategic content of semiconductors. It may also be the result of differences in the propensity to patent across demand categories. While the explanation of such findings is beyond the scope of this study, they point to interesting issues for future research. Third, innovative users were highly heterogeneous in terms of size, diversification and vertical integration. Large user firms, most of which were vertically integrated, had substantial patent portfolios. Yet there is also evidence of a vast number of smaller user firms that were able to patent in this technology, albeit at lower rates. The finding is striking because, by classifying companies whose main line of business is not semiconductors but who produce chips as vertically integrated user firms rather than as diversified semiconductor producers as in most studies, and by grouping them together with smaller, non-vertically integrated user firms, we were able to fully acknowledge the relevance of users’ contextual knowledge about final applications for innovation in semiconductor devices. Fourth, collaboration in R&D and co-patenting activity in semiconductors took place not just between users and semiconductor firms, but also among users themselves. While such activities are less a direct indicator of innovation, they show that user firms contribute in different ways to the generation of new knowledge in semiconductors, to the introduction of new technologies, and to the launch of new products and designs. The magnitude of co-patenting and alliances involving user firms also shows that such firms represented a major source of complementary knowledge about devices for both other user firms and semiconductor firms. Finally, employees from user firms were quite active in entrepreneurial activities that involved patents in semiconductors. Their ventures, on average, also survived longer than spin-offs from incumbent firms in the industry. This finding indicates the relevance of application and market knowledge for entry and survival. Our findings are relevant in a number of ways. While the role of intermediate users in innovation has been examined through case studies and surveys, this study contributes to the literature by introducing an approach that allows researchers to use quantitative indicators of innovation by user firms with respect to the other actors within a sectoral system. The methodology applied in this study is based on a novel approach that has two basic characteristics. The first is the use of the technology class as a point of departure. By starting with a technology class rather than a pre-defined list of firms in the industry, we were able to identify all of the actors that were actively patenting in that technology and then to examine the characteristics of these actors. This is a fundamental difference from previous approaches and, as detailed above, has permitted us to show the relevance of intermediate user firms within a specific sectoral system. The second characteristic of our approach is the use of multiple indicators of innovative activity: patents, co-patents, R&D alliances and new firm formation. The combination of these different indicators is important in order to shed light on complementary aspects of the role demand in the innovation process: invention and patenting, cooperation in research, and the launching of new entrepreneurial ventures. The use of databases for each of these indicators also begins to map an alternative to a reliance on survey data to quantify different types of innovative activities across actors and over time. This methodology is applicable in other sectoral systems in which patents are a good (albeit not perfect) indicator of innovation. In sectors such as pharmaceuticals and ICT, in fact, it would provide a good basis for a quantitative assessment of the magnitude of innovation by users compared to other actors and other firms in these industries. The limit of this methodology, however, is that it is impossible to apply it in sectoral systems where patenting is not a major indicator of invention and innovation, or where patents are not used extensively. It would therefore be difficult to make comparisons across sectors in which the intensity and dynamics of patenting differ extensively. A final limitation of this study is that it does not give any indication of the importance or value of the activities measured. While it is true that demand-based firms have a greater number of patents and alliances, are they of larger or smaller value than those belonging to firms in the industry? A next step in the research will be to develop indicators that include value as well as number for each type of activity. This study has also added to our knowledge of the semiconductor industry. Most studies of the industry have focused on the effects of the emergence of new markets for semiconductors in the 1980s and increasing vertical specialization within the industry on the innovative activities of semiconductor firms (Macher et al., 2007, Brown and Linden, 2009 and Ernst, 2005a). Our study highlights the importance of looking at the influence of these factors not only on the supply side, but also on the demand side. Developments in technology and the growing need for closer interactions between component designers and the heterogeneous product markets in which they were active allowed user firms to play a significant role in innovation in semiconductor technology during this period. By starting from a definition of the technology to be examined, rather than a definition of the firms in the industry, the study was able to uncover this important finding. Our findings have important implications for both management and public policy. For management, the implication is the importance of taking into full consideration both the characteristics and the boundaries of knowledge within an industry when thinking about innovation. In our case, the increased codification of formerly tacit knowledge within the value chain, the development of technical standards that promoted stability and exchange across interfaces, and a growing importance of “sticky” application-specific knowledge in product design paved the way for a major role for demand in innovation in the semiconductor industry. Thus changes in the characteristics and boundaries of knowledge may shift the locus of innovation and push firms to rethink their innovation strategies and innovative alliances (von Hippel, 1998). For public policy, the implications relate to the issue of demand-led innovation that has gained considerable attention in policy circles such as the OECD and the European Commission. The policy discussion has so far been focused on either the role of public agencies in mission-oriented technology policies and their spillovers to the economy, or diffusion-cum-innovation policies in which the goal has been to stimulate demand for innovative products. Policy-makers have adopted tools ranging from public procurement, to regulation, to standardization and lead-market initiatives with the objective of stimulating the “demand for innovation”. This paper indicates a different approach to the issue. Our results show that in order to stimulate innovation and technological change in an economy or an industry, public policy should focus not only on the demand for innovation, but also on “innovation by demand”. To this end, mechanisms will be needed to valorize the application and technological knowledge that user firms possess and to stimulate them to introduce innovations and new technologies. The shift in perspective from supporting demand for innovation to supporting innovation by demand could be significant, and may add an important policy input for the growth and dynamics of an economy. Further research along the lines highlighted in this study may involve two areas. In semiconductors, it would be interesting to examine the trends in user patents across a broader spectrum of technologies (in addition to H01L) and a longer time frame. It would also be interesting to investigate the reasons for the heterogeneous patenting behavior in different user groups. Finally, a comparative analysis of two or more sectoral systems would allow researchers to understand and develop hypotheses about differences in the relevance of user firm knowledge when technological or sectoral contexts differ.