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Innovation and collaboration in the geographic information systems (GIS) industry: evidence from Canada and the United States

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This paper examines the role of collaborative technical activity in the innovation performance of Canadian and US companies in the geographic information systems (GIS) industry. This young but rapidly growing sector produces specialised hardware and software for cartographic applications (computer mapping). Evidence from a sample of 384 companies suggests that innovation is strongly dependent upon in-house R&D. The results also suggest that a firm’s propensity to operate within a collaborative network varies directly with its R&-intensity. A description of the main benefits and costs of collaboration is presented. Although there is no statistical association between innovation and the incidence of external collaboration, the evidence suggests that R&D partnerships contribute to the innovation process in a number of important ways. The key contribution lies in the speed of product commercialisation. A related finding is that collaborators tend to generate radical innovations more frequently than less successful and/or non-collaborators.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: US Census Bureau, Washington DC, USA, 2: Canada-United States Trade Centre, University at Buffalo, NY, USA

Publication date: 2000-07-01

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