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Multinational Enterprises in Regional Innovation Processes

Empirical Insights into Intangible Assets, Open Innovation and Firm Embeddedness in Regional Innovation Systems in Europe


Jan-Philipp Kramer

This book is positioned at the interface of research in economic geography and strategic management, combining topics like intangible assets (IAs), Open Innovation strategies of multinational enterprises (MNEs), and Regional Innovation Systems (RIS). A micro-approach to analyzing the innovation behavior of nine MNEs in two advanced European economies, Germany and the UK, was applied, which has revealed key channels through which IAs are enhanced in the innovation processes of multinationals and has described their spatial roots and impact. Moreover, the study presents a novel matrix of the regional embeddedness of MNEs and systematically classifies the case study firms. Finally, it shows that geographical proximity to RIS is important for Open Innovation and enables MNEs to strengthen their absorptive capacity.


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148 6 Regions as Catalysts of Open Innovation? The Case of SAP in the Regional Innovation System of Baden-Württemberg Abstract Following GASSMANN, ENKEL and CHESBROUGH (2010), the spatial dimension of Open Innovation represents one of the core fields for future research on the topic. More pre- cisely, they argue that geographical proximity to regional centers of excellence remains cen- tral despite the globalization of innovation. Taking this discussion as a starting point, this chapter explores the outside-in and coupled Open Innovation processes of the German soft- ware firm SAP, explicitly incorporating the concepts of absorptive capacity and localized learning in Regional Innovation Systems (RIS) into the analysis. Patent and publication data- bases are used to analyze the breadth and depth as well as the spatial configuration of SAP’s Open Innovation networks, followed by a qualitative matrix analysis of semi-structured inter- views with leading SAP representatives. The analysis shows that SAP is highly engaged in co-innovation networks that have a strong regional concentration tied to its architecture of R&D units, and provides confirmation that geographical proximity, along with other dimensions of proximity, to dynamic RIS in- creases SAP’s capability to value and acquire external knowledge. Keywords Open Innovation, Regional Innovation Systems, Absorptive Capacity, Spatial Organization of Innovation, Embeddedness. 6.1 Introduction It is widely considered today that sustaining global competitiveness is increa- singly determined by a firm’s ability to combine different knowledge inputs from a variety of sources, some of them local, others national or global (LUNDVALL, 1992; MOODYSSON et...

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