Businesses looking abroad for new knowledge:
International expertise required to stay in the game
To what extent do Norwegian companies take advantage of knowledge and expertise developed abroad? A new research project at the Centre for Innovation Research has set out to answer the question.
Head of Research Martin Gjelsvik will be investigating the innovation capabilities of regional businesses in Norway.
“As the world becomes increasingly globalised it gets harder and harder to achieve enduring competitive advantages. Nowadays, companies must continuously adapt and renew their business knowledge,” Dr Gjelsvik states.
He is heading the recently launched project, Capabilities for Regional Innovation in a Globalising World. The project has been granted funding under the Programme on Democracy and Governance in Regional Context (DEMOSREG) at the Research Council of Norway.
A country on the periphery
Dr Gjelsvik is out to explore where Norwegian companies go for new ideas and expertise. Do they depend first and foremost on regional networks or do they cultivate extensive contact with sources found abroad?
“Norway is a small country, somewhat on the periphery, with a small domestic market. The distance to the larger markets poses a real challenge. So, it is natural to assume that there is a greater need to draw on international expertise,” he continues.
There is a clear trend in the Norwegian business sector to outsource some segments of production to countries with far lower labour costs, thereby breaking up established value chains.
“The impression held by most Norwegians is that only minor tasks are outsourced, and thus the general attitude towards this trend is fairly relaxed. However, the developing economies around the world are now investing heavily in education, positioning themselves to take on a growing number of knowledge-intensive tasks.”
According to Dr Gjelsvik, in the long-term this trend can curb the innovative capabilities of Norwegian companies and regions.
New expertise is a must
- On the other hand it is possible for Norwegian businesses and regions to take advantage of the competence development taking place in other countries.
Under the project Capabilities for Regional Innovation in a Globalising World, the research team will be collaborating with a broad network of international researchers from the US, the UK and elsewhere to study how this international flow of knowledge affects value creation and earnings in companies and regions alike.
About the project
The project makes use of econometrics and other quantitative methods, along with interviews with companies and other relevant players.
The research team is made up of Head of Research Martin Gjelsvik (project manager) and Senior Research Scientist Rune Dahl Fitjar from the International Research Institute of Stavanger (IRIS), Professor & Head of Centre Ragnar Tveterås and Associate Professor Tatiana Iakovleva from the University of Stavanger and Professor Odd Jarl Borch from the University of Nordland.
All five participants are affiliated with the Centre for Innovation Research.
(Translation: Glenn Wells/Carol B. Eckmann)
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