Three Consequences of Considering Innovation as a Collective Process and Knowledge as a Collective Good

Pénin, Julien
March 2005
Journal of Information & Knowledge Management;Mar2005, Vol. 4 Issue 1, p15
Academic Journal
Following the seminal work of Arrow (1962) and Nelson (1959) innovation is traditionally viewed as an individual process involving isolated agents connected only through market interactions and the outcome of this process, knowledge, is assumed to share the properties of a public good. Once produced, knowledge is supposed to spill over, i.e., to benefit other agents in the economy instantly. Departing from this approach we adopt here the view that innovation is a collective and interactive process and that knowledge is a collective good, in the sense that it flows only within networks or clubs. This shift of vision helps to improve our understanding of several points dealing with the innovation process. In this paper, we explore three of these points: the absorption of external knowledge, firms' strategies of knowledge management (secrecy versus disclosure) and innovation public policies.


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