Research objectives and content Services are accounting for an increasing part of modern economic systems' wealth. In spite of this, they are still not at the core of industrial economics. In particular, how and way the service sector introduces technological and organisational innovations is still little explored. This research project aims to test the impact of innovation in services on industrial and economic performance. The analysis will be confined to business services. The study aims to overcome traditional indicators of innovation. It is based upon the belief that the methods and sources used by service firms to innovate are substantially different from those of the manufacturing industry. On theoretical ground, the project aims to carry out a comparison between the traditional approach, who consider services as a residual sector and its innovation system as an autonomous process, and newa pproaches which pay attention to the specific nature of the service sector and to its integration with manufacturing industries A "systemic" approach to innovation in services should stress the inter-industry technology flows from the business sinuses to the manufacturing sectors. Recent research stress that inter-industry flows of technology between services and manufacturing, based on embodied inter-industry R&D flows, are an important channel of creating and diffusing technological and organisational knowledge across industries. The innovative potential of the service industries is often underestimated and mismeasured. This also leads to a mismeasurement of countries performance and competitiveness. An appropriate understanding of industrial performance and competitiveness also relies on a roper measurement of the contribution provided by the service industries to productivity growth and technological change. This research project also has a strong empirical content. It aims to critically overcome traditional innovation indicators, and to consider come strategic inputs, such as information technologies, knowledge and human resources. Such an integrated view is now allowed by exploiting the results of a unique European surveys on innovation in services carried out by Eurostat. The results of the project will be used to improve existing methodologies to measure the heterogeneous nature of innovation in services. This will allow developing a new theoretical framework to evaluate the contribution of business services to economic performance and competitiveness across industries and countries.
Training content (objective. benefit and expected impact):
This project will be carried out within a Doctoral course. On the bases of the results of the project, suggestions for improving current methodologies for measuring innovation activities in business services, as the main innovation sources for "scope-based" industrial paradigms, will be provided, especially with references to he most complex aspects such as organisational changes, learning processes, knowledge intensive service functions and human resource development.
In particular, the expected results are concerned with:
- a strong relationship between structural changes in production and organisational industrial models and the increasing role of business services inputs;
- innovation performance in services functions purchased by producers are an essential vector of innovation at a cross-sectoral level.
A set of policy guidelines will also be proposed, on the bases of the results of the project: in particular, the ways in which the innovation and technology policy framework used in manufacturing should be integrated considering the specific role of business services within these innovation patterns.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22):
The research project will be carried out in close collaboration with industrial association of the service sector