Innovation Cascades and the Emergence of the Bio-economy
Paper in proceedings, 2015
This paper argues that innovation has evolved, from the slow, path dependent, and foreseeable world of technological trajectories, to the less predictable world of innovation cascades, after incorporating the analysis of radical innovation in the last three decades. Innovation cascades are long series of radical innovations in one particular technological domain. Two types of innovation cascades are distinguished in the paper: those emerging before the Industrial Revolution and the modern high-tech ones. The previous innovation cascades usually petered out fairly soon by lack of institutional support, as the inventor and innovator was an individual or a company trying out its luck through serendipity in a less than friendly environment. Present day innovation cascades benefit from innovating firms, research universities and government laboratories, science, technology and innovation policies, an increasing number of countries investing in R&D and innovation, as well as reduced costs of access to information, communication and transportation. Thus present day innovation cascades tend to be more extended through time and space. Their systemic effects are probably more widely diffused in global terms. The research paper will include data and a theoretical discussion on the emergence of a bio-economy in OECD countries.