Dissertation > Economic > Economics > Branch of science in Economics > Science and Economics, Knowledge Economics

Knowledge Bases, Learning Fields and Innovation

Author LvKeWen
Tutor MiaoChangHong
School Henan University
Keywords knowledge base learning field innovation super-hard material industry
CLC F062.3
Type PhD thesis
Year 2013
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In the era of knowledge economy, developing knowledge economy and continuously enhancing theinnovation capability have become the key steps to improve competitive advantage and promote regionaleconomic development in all countries around the world. The revival of regional economy in the era ofglobalization and successful experience of some innovative highland such as Silicon Valley in America,Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany and Hsin-chu in Taiwan have made a series of policies (such asconstructing regional innovation environment and innovation system, strengthening local embeddedness,realizing interregional connection and global interaction, etc.) to promote regional innovation anddevelopment become the important issue about strengthening competitiveness and innovation ability indeveloping regions and counties. In the field of international economic geography, regional technologylearning and innovation has become a leading edge and hotspot of research and debate. Around the issuesof technology learning, innovation and space, and the relationship between local places, scholars emphasizefrom different perspectives the importance to innovation of local network and local embeddedness,geographical proximity and spatial agglomeration, multinational community and the contact of inter-district,global network and the non-local relationships and knowledge flows and so on. Innovation is considered asa process of interaction between localization and globalization, an evolution of persistent relationshipconstruction and strategy coupling of key actors at different spatial scales. It is characterized by strongspatial and temporal heterogeneity and sensitivity. On the other hand, the technological catch-upperformance and innovation pattern have clear differences between industries in the developing regions andcountries, and the industrial technology regime has different characteristics. The study of industryknowledge base indicates that, the source of knowledge, organization and innovation pattern of the industryhave obvious differences according to the difference of the knowledge base. Therefore, the theoreticaldiscussion and policy design of innovation require considering industrial particularity and heterogeneity oftechnology/knowledge. The innovation policy and experience of successful regions cannot be imitated andused by developing regions without alteration.Therefore, this article brings the heterogeneity of technology/knowledge into the construction ofspatial learning theory, and tries to form a trinitarian analyzing framework of technology/knowledge base,industry and space. The attributes of technology/knowledge, industrial characteristics and spatial heterogeneity are taken into consideration to study the influence of different attributes oftechnology/knowledge and industrial attributes on the organizational and geographic patterns of innovation.From the perspective of knowledge base and with resort to the "learning field" theory, the complexity ofknowledge and the theory construction of learning field are explored. Based on this, the article chooses thesuper-hard material industry as the case to study the analytical knowledge base and the innovationmechanism, organizational and geographic patterns of scientific learning field. The article is divided intoeight chapters.Chapter one is introduction. This chapter deals with the research background, main thesis, researchsignificance, ideas and contents, research methods and the technical route and so on. Improving theinnovation ability has become the important measures to enhance regional competitiveness. Somesuccessful innovation policies related to construction of regional innovation environment and innovationsystem strengthen local embeddedness and realize interregional connection and global interaction and so on.These regional innovation theories and policies of picking winners and best practice models have beenincreasingly praised and imitated by developing regions, but they did not achieve success in the practice asthe imitators expected. Therefore, it is necessary to re-examine the theory and policy of spatial learning andinnovation of the international mainstream. The study shows that, the mechanism, organization andgeographic patterns of technology innovation have great differences in different industries due todifferences in technology regime and knowledge base. Based on this, the article holds that, we need tocombine the specific characteristics of technology/knowledge to discuss the theory and policy design ofmechanism and pattern of innovation. This has vital significance in building a more comprehensive andsophisticated theoretical model of technology learning and innovation. It also helps to amend themisunderstanding of indiscriminate copy the practice of successful regional innovation policy, and to workout suitable innovation policy.Chapter two is the research overview. Around the theory and practical problems of this research, fromthe angle of the evolution of the innovative ideas, the change of the research perspective of economicgeography in technology learning and innovation, technology regime and innovation pattern, knowledgebase and innovation and so on, this chapter reviews the related literatures and draws the followingconclusions: Innovation is a complex network tightly woven by scientific research, technical innovation and economic activities. It is the interaction and a strategic coupling process of multiple actors in a varietyof spatial scales, and has strong spatial heterogeneity. Technology has the characteristics of diversity andcomplexity. The complexity performs as the technology regime, ie., a particular combination oftechnological opportunities, appropriability and cumulativeness of of innovations, and the difference intechnology regime affects the performance and pattern of technological catch-up and innovation;knowledge base has diversity, characterized by the combination level of tacit and codified knowledgecontents, the degree of formalization and the context specificity of the knowledge and so on, and thedifference of industrial knowledge base affects the mechanism and organization and geographic patterns oftechnology innovation. Therefore, relevant theory about spatial learning innovation from local and global,internal and external forces to study the affecting factors and mechanism of innovation occur should takeinto account of the heterogeneity of technology/knowledge, so it can help us to understand the mechanismof learning innovation more comprehensively.Chapter three, theoretical basis and analysis framework. After an overview of spatial learninginnovation theory such as new industrial district theory, the global production network and value chaintheory, etc., the author introduces two core theory of this study, learning field theory and knowledge basetheory. Because of the spatial heterogeneity of learning innovation and the complexity of knowledgetechnology, it is necessary to bring the complexity of the knowledge base into the spatial learninginnovation theory, and the theoretical research about space innovation needs to be studied from two angles:the space/relations and technology/knowledge, and discussed combining specific industry. Based on this,the paper designs a trinitarian framework of space, industry and knowledge, and focuses on three aspects:the subject of innovation, mechanism and geographic pattern.Chapter four, the theoretical construction of knowledge base and learning field. This chapter firstlyelaborates the evolution of thought from physical field to information field, to knowledge field, to creativefield, and finally to learning field, and from the angle of relationship elaborates the diversity andcomplexity of learning field;Secondly, the author expounds the research context and logic of theknowledge type, knowledge base and spatial innovation; thirdly, the relationship between knowledge type,knowledge transformation and field is elaborated from the angle of knowledge creation, and find thatspecific knowledge transformation stage is closely related to different fields. Based on these research, this part analyzes the inner link of knowledge base and learning field, distinguishes several types of knowledgeand learning field, such as the symbolic knowledge and creative learning field, synthetic knowledge andembeddedness learning field, analytical knowledge and scientific learning field, complex knowledge andmixed learning field and so on, and studies the innovation mechanism and organization pattern of eachcorresponding type.Chapter five, the development and technology innovation of the super-hard material industry aroundthe world. Based on the research of the theory, this chapter chooses the super-hard material industry as acase to explore the general characteristics of the scientific learning field in a global scale. This chaptermainly introduces the industrial characteristics, global development process and patterns, and thedevelopment history of technology of super-hard material industry. The study shows that, super-hardmaterial industry has characteristics of high degree of specialization, strong dependence on economicgrowth as well as differences in added value of each link and geographic distribution; the industrialdevelopment and innovation is highly dependent on analytical knowledge base which is based onknow-what and know-why, and the progress of science and technology and scientific research is theimportant force promoting the development and innovation of international super-hard material industry.For instance, the development of modern science promoted the synthesis of the world’s first syntheticdiamond, and promote the industrialization production of the synthetic diamond; the research on thechemical vapor deposition synthesis promoted the rise of “diamond film” and extened the fieled ofdiamond application; the emergence of the nanoscience and nano-synthesis promoted the advent ofnanodiamond and prompted the special performance of the diamond, which resulted the arrival of the era ofthe diamond.Chapter six, the development and technology innovation of the super-hard material industry in China.National scale is commonly used in the analysis of learning field. The development of China’s diamondindustry is closely related to the technology innovation and scientific research. China’s first successfulsynthetic diamond benefited from the research and exploration of super high-pressure and high-temperaturetheory made by the early scholars and experts; the full swing of scientific research on diamond synthesismechanism, process and the related principles and so on triggered the breakthrough innovation of China’sdiamond industry in80s and90s of the20th century, and China became the largest producer in the world; the research and extension of the method of powder synthesis in the1990s led to a breakthrough of theindustry, and the diamond industry began to stride forward to the powers of super-hard materials.Technology innovation and development of super-hard material industry is largely dependent on scientificresearch and breakthrough, and industry innovation has the characteristics of science driven. Analyticalknowledge based on science basis, some important scientists and academies are essentially significant inthe industrial innovation. At present, China has become the largest producer of super-hard materials, andthe super-hard material industry system has basically formed, and the degree of regional agglomeration andindustry concentration is relatively high. But on the whole, the domestic products are seriouslyhomogenized and the industry is still in the low end of the industry value chain.Chapter seven, scientific learning field and technology innovation of super-hard material industry ofZhengzhou high-tech zone. This chapter selects the super-hard material industrial park in Zhengzhouhigh-tech zone as a case to studys the innovation organization and geographic pattern of the small scalescientific learning field, and draws the following conclusions: the super-hard material industry inZhengzhou began and formed benefited from the technology strength of the Zhengzhou Research Institutefor Abrasives and Grinding. From the aspects of the cultivation of talents, technology spillover anddiffusion, and enterprise derivative, etc, the institute made significant contribution to the development andprosperity of super-hard material industry of Zhengzhou. The technology innovation in the industrial parkis highly dependent on formal research and development. Learning through research and technologicalprogress is an important way to achieve innovation for the enterprises. Universities, research institutions,industry well-known experts (star scientists) play key roles in the progress and update of technology in theenterprises. Strengthening contacts with universities, academies and industrial knowledge communities arethe policy emphasis of this kind of enterprises in its technology learning and innovation. The innovationnetwork of the industrial park is not just limited to the local. It can run in a larger spatial scale through theexpert knowledge community, and the cooperation network of the enterprises’ R&D also has thecharacteristics of across local. Industry-university-research cooperation and patent transfer are also notlimited to local, while distributed outside the province and the country. The feature of multi-scalerelationship construction is very significant.Chapter eight, conclusions and remarks. The thesis draws in the following conclusions:(1) Innovation has not only the sensitivity characteristics of space-time scenario, but also the characteristics of technologyand knowledge heterogeneity. The research on innovation mechanisms affected by geographic spacerequires a combination of specific knowledge bases. The designs of innovativation policy need to becautious, depending on the industry knowledge bases.(2) From the perspective of knowledge creation,knowledge creation is closely linked to specific fields, and the transformation process of different types ofknowledge is connected with different fields’ exercises.(3) Different knowledge bases are closely related tomultiple learning fields, and different knowledge bases are corresponded to different learning fieledsone-to-one. Theoretically, there are topological relations between symbolic knowledge and creativelearning field, synthetic knowledge and embedded learning field, analytical knowledge and scientificlearning field, complex knowledge and mixed learning field and so on.(4) The innovation and developmentof super-hard material industry strongly depend on analytical knowledge, with the characteristics of thescience-driven industry.(5) Technology poles such as research institutes and universities are key forces ofindustry innovation and development of Zhengzhou (High-tech Zone) super-hard material industry, in thatthey play important roles in technology diffusion, spin-off companies, and training professionals;(6)Zhengzhou High-tech Zone Super-hard Materials Industrial Park belongs to the science-driven learningfield based on analytical knowledge base. The formal R&D, research achievemens relying on scientificresearch of research institutes, and to maintain close contact with them are important mechanism fortechnological innovation, and the innovation geography has the characteristics of multi-scales. Besides, inview of the insufficiency of the paper, this chapter put forward the further research work to carry out in thefuture.

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