Abstract: Knowledge-Business Networks in the Netherlands: The Case of Philips

Mila Davids

Abstract

The current debate on the decline of the innovativeness of business and the knowledge infrastructure in the Netherlands asks for a closer look at this relationship. This is the central focus of new research project. To grasp the mutual interaction between developments in the knowledge infrastructure and innovative developments within Dutch companies, analysis of the development of knowledge-business networks is a crucial element in our research program. Therefore this paper will raise a methodological question: "How useful is the approach of knowledge-business networks for studying the relationship between the dynamics of firm-level innovation processes and the knowledge infrastructure?" Our proposition, further, is that it is impossible to understand the development and relevance of external knowledge-business networks without a thorough understanding of the internal networks. We illustrate this with the development of knowledge-business networks within Philips. We focus on networks related to process innovations on consumer electronics: printed wiring in the 1950s and the development of the Modular Chips Mounting system in the 1980s. We did this with two questions in mind: What kind of knowledge-business networks came into being around these process innovations? Were the relationships more internal or external in character and how were they related to each other?