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“Low-Tech” Innovations

Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen

Industry and Innovation, 2008, vol. 15, issue 1, 19-43

Abstract: This paper is about an industrial sector which, according to the usual socio-scientific indicators, is referred to as “low-tech”, respectively as non-research intensive and which mostly comprises “traditional” industries. The interest in this sector is motivated by the contradictory situation that, on the one hand, the debate about the perspectives of modern societies focuses on the rapidly growing importance of technological innovations, knowledge and research-intensive economic sectors while, on the other hand, traditional industries make up a considerable fraction of employment and production, especially also in developed economies. On the basis of the results of extensive empirical research, this contribution tries to find answers to the basic question, whether one can speak of an innovation mode typical of the low-tech sector. The institutional based innovation systems approach forms the categorical basis of the analysis. In order to elucidate the specific features of low-tech innovations, they are, in conclusion, compared to the general characteristics of high-tech-based innovation processes.

Keywords: Low-technology; industrial innovations; innovation system; industrial development (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008
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