On foresight processes and performance of innovation networks

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Doctoral thesis (article-based)
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19, [app]
Research reports / Helsinki University of Technology, Systems Analysis Laboratory. A, 89
This dissertation seeks to increase understanding of how innovation systems perform, and therefore to provide stronger foundation on the evaluation and development of technology policy instruments. The five essays contained in it examine the rationales for government intervention in the commercialisation of new technologies, and within that context the role of instruments facilitating emergent and embedded foresight processes is elaborated on. This higher-level analysis is complemented with the quantitative modelling of factors affecting inventive performance within an industrial research organization, especially considering the effects of intra- and inter-organizational collaboration networks. Overall, the analyses are based on an open system perspective, and the research addresses how the absorptive capacity of different participants is affected by the organizational and cross-organizational arrangements. The approach is normative in the sense that it aims to provide policy and managerial recommendations for improving the system performance, even in conditions of bounded rationality. At the policy level, the dissertation argues that innovation policy instruments should mitigate anticipatory myopia that is a potential hindrance to the overall performance of innovation system. Hence, there is a key role for instruments that support foresight in the innovation system, and accordingly emergent and embedded foresight processes should be taken into account in instrument design. Control systems, mechanisms for focusing the research and technology development effort, as well as means to identify required complementary actions can be inbuilt to the policy instruments when innovation performance is addressed as a multi-layered issue. At the micro level, the results call for the re-examination of the concept of organizational boundaries in the innovation process, as within-firm arrangements can enable some market-like characteristics to industrial research. Parts of the organization can behave as "boundary operations", bridging between the organization's core and its environment. Policy instruments should leverage, not dismiss, this behaviour as appropriate for enhancing system-wide innovation performance.
innovation system, collaboration network, inventive productivity, anticipatory myopia, technology foresight, innovation policy
  • Salmenkaita J.-P. and Salo A., 2002. Rationales for government intervention in the commercialization of new technologies. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 14, number 2, pages 183-200. [article1.pdf] © 2002 Taylor & Francis. By permission.
  • Salmenkaita J.-P. and Salo A., 2004. Emergent foresight processes: industrial activities in wireless communications. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 71, number 9, pages 897-912.
  • Salo A. and Salmenkaita J.-P., 2002. Embedded foresight in RTD programs. International Journal of Technology Policy and Management 2, number 2, pages 167-193.
  • Salmenkaita J.-P., 2003. Organizational learning in industrial research: inventive productivity vs. emergence of technological programs. International Studies of Management & Organization 33, number 4, pages 8-33.
  • Salmenkaita J.-P., 2004. Intangible capital in industrial research: effects of network position on individual inventive productivity. In: Bettis R. (editor), Strategy in Transition. Blackwell Publishing, pages 220-248. [article5.pdf] © 2004 Blackwell Publishing. By permission.
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