Inderscience Publishers

Network structures and the reproduction of resources for sustainable innovation

This paper explores whether, and how, network structures in different types of innovation systems align themselves with the resource pathways that sustain these systems. Floricel and Dougherty (2007) argue that sustainable innovation systems coalesce around pathways that ensure the reproduction of knowledge as well as of other key resources, such as funding for innovation. They suggest three modal positive feedback cycles based, respectively, on the regeneration of scientific, technological, or experience-based knowledge. This paper develops the theoretical implications of resource reproduction processes on innovation network configurations, and examines these implications using data from a survey of innovative firms from different sectors. Results show that networks will have different structures function of the type of resource renewal cycle in which firms are involved. Many of these differences correspond to those anticipated by the resource renewal cycles theory. But results also reveal unexpected elements, for example about the role of universities, which contribute to advance this theory.

Keywords: sustainable innovation systems, knowledge production, network structures, innovation networks, resources, science, technology, resource renewal, universities

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