Towards a New Technological Paradigm Based on Industry 4.0: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation Policies

Galli, Stefania (2018) Towards a New Technological Paradigm Based on Industry 4.0: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation Policies. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

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The analysis of the complex and fast changing technological processes which today are summarized in the term ‘Industry 4.0’ reveals that the industrial system is shifting towards a new technological paradigm (Perez, 2009; 2010), implying systemic transformations at micro, meso and macro levels of analysis (Geels, 2005). These radical transformations are deeply changing the way products, production processes and business models are conceived, questioning the traditional separation between manufacturing and services, and making it more and more important for firms to adopt a collaborative approach to innovation (Hagedoorn et al., 2000). This rapid technological advance implies the need for the socio-economic players to adopt new strategic and operational measures in order to prevent the loss of competitive advantage of national and regional innovation systems. The recent debate on industrial policies shows that a mission-oriented industrial policy approach (Mazzucato, 2014; European Commission, 2018) may provide interesting inspirational principles able to guide these transformations, since it places at the centre of its reasoning the key role of the public actor able to stimulate the strategic coordination between multiple socio-economic players at different levels (Mazzucato and Perez, 2014; Rodrik, 2004). According to this approach, Public-Private research Partnerships, are assumed to be effective vehicles of governance able to improve technological development, stimulating strong links between the relevant socio-economic players and thus increasing the national and regional systems’ overall innovative potential (Mazzucato, 2014; Rodrik, 2004; 2014; Robin and Schubert, 2013; Kristensen and Scherrer, 2016). The aim of the present work is to understand how the strategic coordination between public and private players may be an opportunity for the definition of effective innovation policies in the context of the current socio-technical transition. In order to reach this purpose, a multilevel approach (Geels, 2005) is adopted, taking into account both the national and the regional levels of analysis. A quantitative analysis is provided at national level in order to understand the relationship between a specific approach to innovation and technology policy, the overall innovation performance and the level of diffusion of cooperative innovation activities in a National Innovation System (Lundvall, 1988); moreover, it contributes to the existing literature on Public-Private research Partnerships (Hagedoorn et al., 2000) by testing the effectiveness of some main variables at industry and company level explaining the propensity of companies to get involved in formal cooperative innovation activities. This analysis is made taking into account data stemming from the 8th wave of the Community Innovation Survey, 2010-2012. Moreover, the results of a field research conducted at regional level are presented, aiming at understanding the elements of an institutional/organizational framework which are able to positively influence technological local development. In this case, the analysis takes into account a Regional Innovation System (Cooke et al., 1997): the Autonomous Province of Trento. Data have been gathered through both primary sources, based on 57 semi-structured interviews to local institutions and firms, and secondary sources, based on relevant documents and reports. The major conclusion of the present work is that, given the systemic nature of this socio-technical transition, only a mission-oriented policy approach to innovation policy based on strategic Public-Private research Partnerships may be able to trigger the necessary cross-level synergies between the different socio-economic players involved, managing the important challenges lying behind these transformations.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Development Economics and Local Systems - DELoS
PhD Cycle:30
Subjects:Area 13 - Scienze economiche e statistiche > SECS-P/01 ECONOMIA POLITICA
Area 13 - Scienze economiche e statistiche > SECS P/02 POLITICA ECONOMICA
Area 13 - Scienze economiche e statistiche > SECS-P/06 ECONOMIA APPLICATA
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