The Transformation of the German
System of Innovation
The Case of Biotechnology
TECHNOLOGICAL PARADIGM SHIFTS AND
Systems of innovation differ considerably in their institutional, infrastructural or cultural conditions for innovation, which exist across countries, regions or sectors. Those variations can be considered extraordinary stable. Systemic innovation studies have convincingly shown that nations-states develop long-lasting patterns of technological and sectoral specialization. They generate specific modes of knowledge production, use, and diffusion as they implement varying institutional arrangements for financing and regulating innovations as well as for the establishment of research and education systems (cf. Edquist, 1997; Freeman, 1987, 1995; Lundvall, 1992; Nelson, 1987, 1993; OECD, 1999a, 1999b, 2001; Porter, 1991). Systems of innovation are, however, also subject to change. In recent years, the main driving forces for change have either been the occurrence of technological paradigm shifts or institutional reconfigurations which led to a growing importance of institutions beneath and above the nation-state level (Cooke, 2001; Cooke et al, 2000; Grande, 1996, 1999, 2001a, 2001b; Kaiser, 2003a, 2003b; Kuhlmann, 1999, 2001).
Technological paradigms can be understood as strong prescriptions on the directions of technical change pursued or neglected by innovative organizations (cf. Dosi, 1982, p. 152). Those paradigms comprehensively influence innovation processes as they concern not only theoretical approaches, but also methods and