Socio Cultural Factors Innovation

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  • WP10

    Socio-cultural determinants of innovation

    TECHNOPOLIS

    Nelly Bruno, Michal Miedzinski

    Alasdair Reid, Miriam Ruiz Yaniz

    February 2008

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    INTRODUCTION ..........................................................................................................................................................3

    1. THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK OF THE STUDY............................................................................................5

    2. OVERVIEW OF NATIONAL SOCIO-CULTURAL PROFILES ...............................................................................7

    2.1. Methodological approach for national data ............................................................................................7 2.2. Cultural capital and consumer behaviour................................................................................................8 2.3. Human capital..........................................................................................................................................10 2.4. Social capital............................................................................................................................................12 2.5. Organisational capital and entrepreneurship........................................................................................14 2.6. Summary ...................................................................................................................................................16 2.7. Socio-cultural environment and innovation performance: an overview..............................................18

    3. OVERALL RESULTS OF THE SURVEY .............................................................................................................24

    3.1. General overview .....................................................................................................................................24 3.2. Cultural capital and consumer behaviour..............................................................................................25 3.3. Human capital..........................................................................................................................................26 3.4. Social capital............................................................................................................................................28 3.5. Organisational capital and entrepreneurship........................................................................................29

    4. ANNEXES .........................................................................................................................................................30

    5. REFERENCES ...................................................................................................................................................42

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    Introduction

    Work package 10 of the SYSTEMATIC project aimed at identifying socio-cultural barriers and driving forces to innovation across ten sectors: food/drink, automotive, energy production, biotechnologies, textiles and clothing, chemicals, information and communication technologies, aerospace, machinery and equipment, and eco-innovation. Our work extends the analysis carried out in the previous work-packages on the barriers to innovation and the driving forces, by identifying and analysing other sector specific characteristics such as for example consumer habits, tradition and culture, organisational rigidities, and mobility of the workforce. In the literature on innovation, socio-cultural factors are most often used to characterise a geographically defined community (e.g. a nation, a region, etc.) rather than a sector of economic activity. Nevertheless, management literature and simple observation suggests that behaviour is also shaped by factors inherent to belonging to a professional group (with shared educational, work experience, social networks such as engineering associations, etc. trajectories). Equally, the increasingly integrated European market with large companies operating across the Single Market 'imposing' their management 'culture' on operating divisions and their standards and practices on suppliers may also lead to cases where the 'culture of innovation' in enterprises diverges from that of their 'home' region or country. Equally from the demand side, we know from economic literature that not all products have the same inherent characteristics and that they are more or less sensitive to consumer demand. Sophisticated marketing can change perceptions of a product in wider society but equally interest groups and lobbies and changing social values can equally undermine a products position or image in the eyes of consumers / buyers. These societal forces, the subtle, or sometimes dramatic, changes in the balance of market power can heavily influence the position of certain sectors more than others (most simply one could imagine that sectors producing essentially final consumer goods, food or automotives for instance, would be more sensitive to such factors than sectors producing 'intermediary goods' such as machinery and equipment).

    In this respect the analysis of socio-cultural factors goes to the very heart of what the SYSTEMATIC project set out to examine: are there sectoral innovation systems operating at national level or even across national boundaries; and if so does this require a distinct policy approach on the part of national or European institutions. If the hypothesis is correct that there are socio-cultural factors which influence innovation in specific sectors to a greater or lesser extent and that these factors transcend national boundaries, then the SYSTEMATIC project will have come closer to elucidating the policy issues related to sectoral innovation systems.

    In consequence, the approach of the study team has been twofold: first, we have analysed similarities and differences across national socio-cultural profiles and then we have explored socio-cultural factors relevant for each of the specific sectors.

    The study has been conducted in several steps:

    ! The first step provides a review of academic literature on socio-cultural factors influencing innovation. Based on this literature review a selection was made of

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    generic socio-cultural factors relevant to innovation. This led us to develop a novel conceptual framework entitled the four capitals approach (Chapter 1).

    ! Following a review of available surveys dealing with relevant socio-cultural aspects (e.g. Eurobarometer, European Social Survey, Community Innovation Survey), relevant indicators have been collected with an objective to characterise national socio-cultural environments. A framework of socio-cultural indicators at country level and a database of national data were developed. Presentation and analysis of the data was undertaken following the four capitals approach (Chapter 2).

    ! To gather further sectoral insights, a survey has been prepared and submitted to the Europe Innova panels and other key sectoral stakeholders (Chapter 3).

    ! In parallel socio-cultural characteristics especially relevant for specific sectors have been scanned in the literature and strengthened with the views of the experts of the Europe Innova panels1. This resulted in sectoral socio-cultural profiles presented following the four capitals approach (Chapter 4).

    Finally policy implications of socio-cultural aspects of innovation have been discussed by the experts of the Europe Innova panels and are presented in the last chapter of this report.

    1 No panel of expert took place for the following sectors: food and drink, chemicals and machinery and equipment.

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    1. The conceptual framework of the study

    Socio-cultural barriers or drivers to innovation are socio-cultural factors that influence sectoral innovativeness. In this study, it is assumed that innovation processes are influenced by a range of socio-cultural factors.

    Various dimensions can be used to describe the socio-cultural characteristics of a community (whether it be geographically or professionally defined). Each of these dimensions of the socio-cultural value system can be described by (a set of) socio-cultural factors. In this project four dimensions2 are used to identify the socio-cultural characteristics of communities relevant to innovation:

    ! cultural capital & consumer behaviour,

    ! human capital,

    ! social capital, and

    ! organisational capital & entrepreneurship.

    Within each of these dimensions specific elements can be distinguished that are considered relevant to innovation. Cultural capital was defined by Pierre Bourdieu (1981) as the inherited and acquired properties of ones self. Inherited not in the genetic sense, but more in the sense of time, cultural, and traditions bestowed elements of the embodied state to another usually by the family through socialisation. It is not transmittable instantaneously like a gift. It is strongly linked to one's habitus - a person's character and way of thinking. The definition refers to the cultural background and basic value system that is shared by the individuals in a community and manifests in their attitudes and habits, including consumption. In this context, demand is composed of individual consumers and firms characterised by different attributes, knowledge and competencies, and is affected by social factors and institutions. As has been underlined the evolution of demand specific to sectoral communities is likely to influence sharply the dynamics of sectoral systems (Malerba 2005).

    The cultural capital and consumer behaviour category encompasses factors (and related