Innovation dynamics in the medical device sector network of collaborations, knowledge spillovers and regulation

This thesis aims to provide new insights into the evolution of the medical device sector (MedTech). After the analysis of the history of the sector, I examine the key points that in the past 60 years, have led the industry to grow so impressively, and I proceed to an analysis of the actual situation. The scope of the thesis is to understand if what has stimulated the success of the sector at the beginning is still important, and if the introduction of new elements has positively changed the evolution of the sector. The thesis is composed of three works. The first work (chapter 2) is developed in collaboration with Dominique Foray and Michele Pezzoni. I analyze how the network structure of inventors in the Swiss regions can influence regional innovation performance. I aim to contribute to the existing literature related to the debate on the importance of inventors' collocation for the creation of innovation. I claim that an increased degree centrality of MedTech inventors in the regional technological community is positively associated with the number of MedTech patent applications in the focal region. Moreover, the presence of MedTech inventors in the principal component of the regional technological community is positively associated with the number of MedTech patent applications in the region. However, local connections are not enough to promote innovation. In fact, the results show that intense cross-regional linkages of MedTech inventors increase the number of MedTech patent applications in the region. Thus, it is not only important that an inventor be well connected within her region, but also that she be exposed to external knowledge in order to increase her possibility of achieving high performance in MedTech within that region. Finally, I want also to understand how MedTech is open to other technological domains. I find that the average degree centrality and cross-regional linkages of academic inventors and inventors specialized in technologies complementary to MedTech affect regional innovation outcomes. The second work (chapter 3) is developed in collaboration with Dominique Foray. I aim to study the impact of external technologies on the MedTech sector. I start analyzing the literature of knowledge spillovers, and I do a comprehensive review of the extant measures of knowledge spillovers. I argue that the classical measures based on patent backward citations should be carefully interpreted. The reason as to why this type of index needs a prudent interpretation is linked to the characteristics of different technologies in terms of the speed at which other sectors are capable of understanding, absorbing and using them. Therefore, I propose a new formulation of the classical measure of backward citations. The third work (chapter 4) is developed in collaboration with Fabiana Visentin. I aim to understand the effects of the MedTech regulation that entered into force in Europe in 1993. I argue that the regulation has two effects. The first effect is related to the level of radicalness in the innovation. I claim that after the introduction of the regulation, and consequently with the tightening of the requirements to fulfill, firms became more careful and less motivated to propose radical innovations. At the same time, standardization of the requirements over the European countries gives to firms the possibility of widening their market.

Foray, Dominique
Lausanne, EPFL
Other identifiers:
urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-epfl-thesis7257-8

 Record created 2016-12-12, last modified 2019-10-04

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