Title: Innovation capabilities and learning: a vicious circle

Authors: Joost Heijs

Addresses: Department of Applied Economics and Institute of Industrial and Financial Analysis, University Complutense Madrid, Campus de Somosaguas S/N, Madrid 28223, Spain

Abstract: The paper analyses the improvement of the innovation capabilities of firms – or the learning process – generated by innovation projects. The first section offers a brief presentation of the theoretical concepts of innovation and learning, a discussion about the methodological problems of measuring these concepts and the presentation of the results of existing empirical studies. In the next section, the outcome of my own empirical work and their policy implications will be offered. The paper points out that the firms with a low innovative level have a clearly lower learning capability than the more innovative firms. So the main conclusion of this paper is that the less innovative firms are enclosed in a vicious circle and can only reduce the technological gap, respecting to other firms, by extraordinary efforts. For this reason, the improvement of the learning capabilities of a firm should be an important goal of the public intervention in the field of technological change and R&D. To initiate a ||catching up|| process in the less innovative firms, the instruments of financial support should be combined with technical support and intensive consultancy services.

Keywords: R&D; learning; innovation capabilities; technical change; innovation policies.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIL.2004.004883

International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 2004 Vol.1 No.3, pp.263 - 278

Published online: 14 Jul 2004 *

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