Global Innovation Systems—A conceptual framework for innovation dynamics in transnational contexts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper proposes a framework for the analysis of technological innovation processes in transnational contexts. By drawing on existing innovation system concepts and recent elaborations on the globalization of innovation, we develop a multi-scalar conceptualization of innovation systems. Two key mechanisms are introduced and elaborated: the generation of resources in multi-locational subsystems and the establishment of structural couplings among them in a global innovation system (GIS). Based on this conceptualization, we introduce a typology of four generic GIS configurations, building on the innovation mode and valuation system in different industry types. The analytical framework is illustrated with insights from four emerging clean-tech industries. We state that a comprehensive GIS perspective is instrumental for developing a more explanatory stance in the innovation system literature and developing policy interventions that reflect the increasing spatial complexity in the innovation process.


External organisations
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
  • Utrecht University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic Geography


  • Clean-tech industry, Globalization, Industry typology, Innovation policy, Innovation system
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1284-1298
Number of pages15
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017 Sep 1