R&D networks in high technology applied to cultural goods in Tuscany. A social network analysis

Purpose of the paper: The aim of this research is to investigate the relationship dynamics of innovation networks in the business of High Technology applied to Cultural Goods (HTCG) in Tuscany, in order to analyze the relevance of the actors’ position and their centrality in the networks. The study contributes to the wide research strand on the importance of network competences and relational capabilities for innovation.

Methodology: Social Network Analysis is applied to 42 R&D projects developed by local actors in Tuscany along fifteen years, funded at regional, national and international levels.

Findings: The results show that the business of HTCG is a complex business, where inter-organizational relationships are developed among Triple Helix actors in public-private partnerships and industry-university relationships.

Research limits: The research adopts a quantitative approach to the study of relationship dynamics in innovation networks and uses the Social Network Analysis. In this context, the analysis of temporary R&D projects is restricted to the results concerning the dynamics of temporary networks and exclusively for formal collaborations. In addition, the research would benefit from some in-depth interviews in order to investigate how and why actors develop relationships and with whom.

Practical implications: It is therefore necessary to underline the importance for managers of relational competences for innovation and the relevance of resources and competences also outside the firm’s boundaries, in particular in a complex business like HTCG.

Originality of the paper: The work is a preliminary, but original study on HTCG and it depicts several figures on network dynamics in this newly emerging business.

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