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Who Co-operates For Innovation, And Why: An Empirical Analysis

Bruce S. Tether
Published 2002 · Economics
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Abstract In recent years, there has been growing interest in co-operative arrangements for innovation, with some commentators arguing innovation is no longer the province of individual firms, but depends increasingly on collective action. This paper examines the response to the UK’s version of the second European community innovation survey (CIS-2) to investigate the patterns of co-operation between innovating firms and external partners. The analysis shows the relationship between innovation and co-operation is not straightforward. From a subjective (i.e. firm based) perspective, it is clear that most firms still develop their new products, processes and services without forming (formal) co-operative arrangements for innovation with other organisations. However, firms that engage in R&D and that are attempting to introduce higher level innovations, i.e. ‘new to the market’ rather than ‘new to the firm’ innovations—are much more likely to engage in co-operative arrangements for innovation. Consequently, if an objective (i.e. innovation-based) perspective is taken, which weighs innovations by their significance, then it is likely that a significant proportion of high-level innovations are developed through co-operative arrangements, although unfortunately the CIS-2 does not indicate the direct significance of these arrangements to the development of the innovations. In summary, the extent of co-operative arrangements for innovation appears to depend on the type of firms being considered and on what is meant by innovation.

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