Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2014/28: Combinatorial knowledge bases: integrating cognitive, organizational and spatial dimensions in innovation studies and economic geography

Jesper Manniche (), Jerker Moodysson () and Stefania Testa ()
Additional contact information
Jesper Manniche: Centre for Regional and Tourism Research (CRT), Bornholm, Denmark
Jerker Moodysson: Centre for Innovation, Research and Competence in the Learning Economy (CIRCLE), Lund University, Sweden
Stefania Testa: Polytechnic School, University of Genova, Italy

Abstract: This paper has three aims. Firstly, to provide a critical review of previous conceptualizations of the knowledge base approach in the research fields of innovation studies and economic geography. Secondly, to propose a broadened interpretation of the knowledge base approach which allows for considering combinatorial knowledge bases within and across industries, regions and time periods and for analytically integrating the cognitive, organizational and spatial dimensions of innovation and learning. Thirdly, to provide methodological suggestions for how to apply such broadened interpretation of the knowledge base approach in empirical innovation studies, regardless of industrial, geographical or temporal context. The paper thereby dismisses the wide-spread taxonomical application of knowledge base conceptualizations in innovation studies and economic geography for classification of firms, industries and economies into fixed categories based on their knowledge base characteristics. Instead it proposes a typological approach and a conceptual and methodological basis for explaining the shifting dynamics of innovation processes in firms, industries and economies. In addition to highlighting limitations and strengths of the knowledge base approach, the paper thus targets investigation of unexploited potentials of knowledge base conceptualizations and provides suggestions for future research.

Keywords: Biographies; economic geography; innovation; knowledge; learning

JEL-codes: L20; O31; O32

22 pages, December 15, 2014

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