11.1.3 What are the areas where innovation networks can apply?

Generally speaking an innovation network can be diverse in several ways:  it can be cross-sectoral, bringing together people and organisations from the public, private, and non-profit sectors and it also can be multi-disciplinary, assembling expertise from various specialised knowledge bases. It can connect to a variety of communities.

Practical implementation results show that innovation networks can work especially well along the following concentration points and targets

  • Research and development extension of application oriented R&D
  • Strengthening of the innovation potential of branches or branch overriding systems respectively
  • Strengthening of the innovation potential of a whole region or forming a regional profile
  • Technology transfer –effective and speedy dissemination and application of new technologies
  • Support in internationalisation (for SMEs especially important)1

Please stop and think:
After reading the areas where innovation networks can be successful, think over the reasons why your organisation should join an innovation network. Consider the areas (regionally and technologically) where this kind of cooperation would be efficient for you. You can also try to find some innovation networks already existing in your sector. 

One way of assessing how significant networking has been in broadening and deepening globalisation is to compare sectors in terms of their participation in international versus domestic collaborative activities. For example, a “relative international partnering index” has been calculated for each of the major technological sectors. Table 1 illustrates that for example automotive industry had a slightly higher proportion of international (versus domestic) partnerships. When compared to other sectors, this index suggests that the automotive industry has been relatively more international in its networking than most other major industries.2

Table 1 International Networking Indexes, by Technological Sector, 1960-1998 3

1 InnoSupport: Supporting Innovations in SME. 11. Innovation Networks. 2005
2 http://gstudynet.org/publications/OPS/papers/CSGOP-03-16.pdf
3 J.,Hagedoorn, “Inter-Firm R&D Partnership—An Overview of Major Trends and Patterns Since 1960,” p. 87 in J. E. Jankowski, Albert N. Link, and N. S. Vonortas, eds., Strategic Research Partnership