The role of organisational diversity and proximity for innovation in peripheral regions of Spain and Portugal

Pedro Ferreira Marques
Jueves, 9 Marzo 2017 - 12:00

Research on innovation has helped to shed light on how firms and other organisations establish networks that allow them to share knowledge and generate new ideas. However relatively less attention has been paid to the internal dynamics within firms, particularly the interaction between different specialisations and knowledge bases. This is particularly true in the context of post-Fordist theoretical approaches, which tend to assume that specialisation, rather than diversification, is the key to innovation. This research project will use the emerging concept of combinatorial knowledge bases as a way to analyse how diversity contributes to the initiation, development and deployment of innovation in organisations. This concept distinguishes between analytical (science-based), synthetic (engineering-based) and symbolic (aesthetic-based) knowledge bases and argues that in any given context all three make important contributions to the development of new products and processes. This project will also link with research on organisational studies, to add the importance of management strategies and the creation of opportunities for ‘unstructured technical dialogue’ between knowledge bases.
Though the aim is to emphasise the relevance of internal firm dynamics, it is still necessary to understand how these dynamics interact and benefit from external links. These links are of special importance for smaller, more specialised firms, who need external collaborations in order to access new knowledge. Because this research project is concerned with firms in peripheral regions, where they are less likely to benefit from an innovative, dynamic environment, it will question how firms can develop proximity with partners located elsewhere and what the impact is of these connections.


Ciudad Politécnica de la Innovación
Edificio 8E, Acceso J, Planta 4ª (Sala Debate. Cubo Rojo)
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia | Camino de Vera s/n

Breve CV del Ponente: 

Current position
Principal investigator in a research project investigating innovation dynamics in firms located in peripheral regions of Spain and Portugal. This Project is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.

Pedro has a degree in Sociology from ISCTE in Lisbon, Portugal, and an MA and PhD from Newcastle University (UK). He has also atended the Université Paris VII for an academic year, as an Erasmus student, and was a visiting PhD student at Cornell University for one semester.

Academic experience
Pedro has worked as a Research associate at Newcastle University (UK), the University of Kiel (Germany), Cardiff University (UK) and the University of Sussex (UK). He has done fieldwork in the UK, Portugal, Germany and Slovenia, as part of different research projects, where he has interviewed a variety of stakeholders from the private, public and third sectors.
As a result of his research Pedro has published in several high-ranking journals and wrote policy reports for policy and third sector organisations in the UK, Portugal and at the EU level.

Research areas
Pedro´s research interests are in the following areas: innovation in less developed regions, innovation in low and medium tech sectors, the political economy of development, governance and politics, social innovation.