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Robert Page

This chapter discusses the history and current development challenges of ISO 14000, one of the largest and currently most high-profile international standards frameworks. Climate change is certainly among the most pressing international social and political issues. One of the major problems in obtaining consensus on how to control or reduce it centers on how industry can manage, measure and monitor progress in meeting national and international environmental targets. The ISO 14000 framework of environmental management standards is an ongoing global effort to facilitate this objective. The chapter shows that although the ISO 14000 framework is an innovation in itself in terms of environmental management, the constant challenge is to ensure that the goals of environmental mitigation though standards also support efforts to innovate more broadly in environmental technologies and practices throughout the industrial spectrum.

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Christian Frankel and Jean-Pierre Galland

In the perspective of political governance, technical standardization is often seen as offering a practical compromise between political regulation and innovation in the market. On one hand, legal regulation is a precondition for markets as regulation provides market actors with relatively stable and calculable conditions. On the other hand, regulation may become a barrier to innovation in the market. A closer look at the history of technical standardization in the European Union (EU) Single Market framework shows that European governance in recent decades has invented modes of regulation that are intended specifically to use technical standardization to spur innovation. This chapter traces this development in policy documents from the EU and from the European technical standardization organizations. The authors conclude that the contradiction of between regulation and innovation has not been removed. Instead, they find a future-orientation of governance that to some degree contradicts the normative function of legal regulation, and they find indications that sometimes the general legal requirements become abstract to a degree that it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to tell whether they have been fulfilled or not.

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Michael King, Ray Lambert and Paul Temple

This chapter examines productivity spillovers, defined mostly in terms of learning effects. The authors note that voluntary consensus standards constitute a venue for such spillovers in that they produce a body of codified knowledge which empirical studies have indicated has a close relationship to productivity growth at the level of national economies. However, the mechanisms of this relationship remain less well understood. In addressing this problem, the authors focus on metrology, the most basic and ubiquitous of all standards frameworks. The authors show how the integration of measurement infrastructures into standards can generate productivity growth. Thus, they suggest that the measurement infrastructure is an important subsystem that could indicate empirically many of the relationships between knowledge spillovers and innovation.

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W. Edward Steinmueller

This chapter explores the historical origins and contemporary relevance of ‘platforms’, a term which has evolved from the study of large technical systems and networking. The coordination problems inherent in such systems were central in elevating the study of standards from examination of specific cases in specific manufacturing industries, to more general concerns about compatibility and interoperability of components in highly sophisticated and decentralization technological constructs. This leads to a discussion of the problem of history; specifically, the question of why some standards persist and evolve over long periods of time, whereas others do not. Here it is noted that the political dimensions of standardization assume a central role in defining and controlling the division of labour and in meeting the needs of dominant proprietors to gain control over the development of complex technological systems.

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Claire Stolwijk, Matthijs Punter and Carlos Montalvo

This chapter presents a specific case of industrial development around the concept of “Smart Industry” being championed by several national and regional authorities in Europe. Smart Industry is basically a strategy to link automation and new manufacturing technologies to the exchange of data. It presents an interesting context for consideration of the effects of standards on industrial growth and development. Owing to the fluid nature of the initiative, the authors speculate that both formal and informal standardization will likely play an important role in the success of these initiatives. The case illustrates many of the key issues that pertain to the need to ensure the interoperability of many components through standards, while at the same time allowing for product differentiation within this complex of technologies.

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Aurélie Delemarle

This chapter investigates the relationship between standardization and the sociologically derived concept of ‘market framing’. Much standardization research focuses on the coordination of actors. The role of standards in the development of new innovations raises questions about how to coordinate without hindering creativity and variety, and at the same time helping to increase selection efficiency in technology implementation. This chapter argues that the coordination role of standards is also very important in the framing of new markets. It demonstrates this with the findings of an ethnographic study of standardization initiatives for nanotechnology which illustrates many of the problems and issues for using standards to establish markets for radical new technologies.

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Carl F. Cargill

Standardization and innovation are often thought of in a strict technical confine. However, because standards and standardization processes are also policy, legal and marketing tools, it is necessary to look at the idea of innovation through a much larger lens. The utility of standardization derives from its application in the market, not from an accumulation of specifications. This chapter examines standardization and standards as they are used and managed by businesses, countries, lawyers, policy makers and even technologists, both as a force to stabilize and to cause innovation. It is this use of standardization _ in a vital and chaotic environment _ that makes the study of standardization both frustrating and intriguing, and justifies it as a true cross-disciplinary subject.

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Gregory Tassey

Standards are a ubiquitous technical infrastructure in high-tech industries. They affect the efficiency of all three stages of technology-based economic activity: research and development, production, and market development. Such activity produces complex knowledge-intensive products and services, which require: (1) accurate characterization of advanced materials that make up today’s state-of-the-art technologies in order to enable efficient product technology development; (2) process control to assure high quality and yield during the production stage; and (3) sophisticated measurement and testing standards to assure buyers of both component and system performance. To achieve these ends, standards must be a critical part of the technology infrastructure supporting high-tech industries. This chapter describes the economic roles of the different types of standards and their collective effect on a technology’s expansion path.

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G.M.P. Swann and Ray Lambert

This chapter offers a brief survey of the literature as to the effects of standards on innovation, specifically how markets move from standards to innovation. The main observations are that the direct effects of standards on innovation are mixed: sometimes supportive but sometimes constraining, even at the same time. These direct effects are perhaps why businesses are often skeptical about the role of standards in innovation. However, the indirect effects of standards are generally supportive, and it is here perhaps that the biggest pay-off from standardization is to be found. Standards lead to benign changes in the economic environment, and these changes can foster innovation. These effects are, perhaps, less obvious to the business observer, but greater in overall importance.

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Eric J. Iversen

This chapter focuses on the role of standards to promote the (re)entry of technological systems in markets already dominated by a well-established incumbent technological systems. It starts from the recognition that the innovation process does not necessarily proceed neatly along a single (S-shaped) path of technological substitution. It is usually assumed that new technologies may emerge, grow and subsequently establish dominance after a period of rivalry. If they do not, the implication is that the emergence of a standard (or a dominant design) in a market does not necessarily lead to the complete substitution of an original rival but instead contributes to the dynamics of a longer-term process. The premise of this chapter is that by examining these ‘substitution dynamics’, important aspects may be revealed about the role and function of standards in the innovation process during successive generations of technology. Green technologies, specifically battery electric vehicles, are examined to explore the role of standards in technological substitution. The chapter also considers the dynamics of lock-in, the role of public policy, as well as the position of intellectual property rights disputes in such a context.