This research project seeks to examine the building of internal and external networks for new product development by evaluating and comparing such practices in three European countries UK, Denmark and Germany. The aim is to identify the key socio-economic factors involved in shaping collaborative product innovation and to highlight broader European policy implications of such activities. Special attention will be paid to the social processes through which 'network builders' form, develop, and sustain internal/external collaborative networking and the manner in which policy interventions might be directed to support these activities.
The research will investigate examples of new product development and focus on three interrelated themes and their policy implications:
(a) The formation and development of internal collaborative networks within enterprises.
(b) The formation and development of external collaborative networks in interaction withinternal collaborative activity.
(c) The roles of 'network builders' in forming, developing and sustaining internal and external collaborative activities.
The work programme will involve comparisons of collaborative product development networks within three contrasting European national settings. The unit of analysis will be the 'product development network' rather than a single firm, though clearly one firm is very likely to be at the focal point of each network. In each country at least three networks will be studied in one or more industrial sectors. A case study approach with semi-structured interviews of all relevant participants will be used. The aim will be to increase the understanding of the diversity of collaborative practices within the enterprise as well as at sectoral and regional levels.
The project will deliver a final report highlighting the principal policy implications arising from the research. Project findings will be disseminated to participants, policy makers and diffusion agents through final 'feedback' workshops to be held in each participating country. These will also serve both to launch and publicise the final report and to generate awareness of the main policy and practical implications of the study.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts