Edited By Bernhard Seliger, Jüri Sepp and Ralph Michael Wrobel
Measuring Absorptive Capacity of National Innovation Systems
A rising competitive pressure for innovations comes along with an increasing number of companies and public research facilities that include external sources of information into the innovation process.1 This trend towards an open innovation process can be verified empirically. For example, the external R&D expenditures of German companies nearly quadrupled between the years 1991 and 2009 and account for almost 20% of the total R&D expenditure.2 External R&D expenditures are those invested in R&D activities outside the firm’s boundaries, e. g. license fees, research assignments or collaborations with public research institutes and companies. Investments in external R&D allow fast adaptations within the innovation process in case of changing market trends or radical innovations. Furthermore, opening up the innovation process simplifies an integration of required knowhow from another industry.3 Altogether, the flexibility of innovation can be increased without an expansion of a company’s own capacities.
Beside the trend of integrating knowledge from outside the firm’s boundaries, an increasing internationalization of R&D can be observed in several branches. For example, the inclusion of knowledge across national borders accounts for 50% of external R&D expenditures in the German pharmaceutical and chemical industry. It therefore can be noted that an increasing amount of knowledge is transferred between national and international innovation actors and that the absorption of external knowledge has become a significant factor of success.4 ← 97 | 98 → Hence, this article examines the...
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