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Abstract : The spatial character of innovative activities was initially explained with reference to externalities that prompt activities to group together. Although the spatial character of innovative activities can be observed empirically (Madiès and Prager, 2008), it is no longer analysed uniquely in terms of physical proximity. By examining the modalities governing the externalities diffusion, a growing number of researches have shown that geographical proximity is only profitable when it is associated with other types of proximity: relational, organised, institutional or cognitive (RERU, 1993; Pecqueur and Zimmerman, 2004; Boschma, 2005). Although most researchers accept that there are several types of proximity, questions remain about the relations between them and about the modalities of these relations. The present research used the design process, which is the central process of the innovation process (Kline and Rosenberg, 1986), to study the relations between the different types of proximity involved in all innovative processes. Data on the actors involved in the various stages of the design process were compiled via a quantitative survey of 800 firms in the Rhône-Alpes Region of France. As well as highlighting differences in the types of actors involved in the successive stages of the design process, our study allowed us to examine how the different types of proximity coexist and interrelate within the design process. In addition to confirming the validity of the proposition that "geographical proximity will be mobilised in different ways and to different extents according to the stages in the collaboration process" (Rallet and Torre, 2006), our approach is interesting for two other reasons. First, it shows that Rallet and Torre's proposition is also valid for other types of proximity. Second, it allows the mobilisation modalities of several different types of proximity to be investigated simultaneously, thereby breaking with existing dynamic approaches, which usually only consider the mobilisation of one form of proximity.
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Contributor : Joelle Forest Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:18:53 PM
Last modification on : Friday, September 10, 2021 - 10:08:01 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00618379, version 1


Joelle Forest, B. Serrate. UNDERSTANDING PROXIMITIES: THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE DESIGN-CENTRED APPROACH TO INNOVATION. Canadian Journal of Regional Science, Canadian Regional Science Association, 2011, 33 (3), pp.63-76. ⟨halshs-00618379⟩



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