42nd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "From Industry to Advanced Services - Perspectives of European Metropolitan Regions", August 27th - 31st, 2002, Dortmund, Germany
This paper helps to define the concept of innovation networks, in the context of urbanregional development. Faced with the Schumpeterian theory of innovation, a concept based on cumulative actions within innovation processes tends to emerge. These processes are presented as forms of "organization" which more or less explicitly link several different hierarchical organizations, without merging them, according to rules and requirements which are not limited to those of the market. The first part of the paper outlines some important characteristics of innovation processes. These complex processes need to be supplied with various resources, especially information resources which are produced in rapidly increasing quantities nowadays. This increase in turn causes an increase in both the purchase and transaction costs of information resources. A possible way of reducing these costs is to work towards cooperation between firms or institutions possessing complementary resources. The second part of the paper examines the concept of innovation networks. Within these innovation networks there are, on one hand, networks established on a contractual basis, often trans-territorial, and, on the other hand, networks established on a "conventional" basis (in the sense of the "economy of conventions"). It is believed, generally speaking, that the latter type of network can only develop within "districts" according to the Marshallian theory of the concept, and only after a long process of collective learning.