Technological trajectory changes and the integration of new systems. The case study of the auto industry.

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Type de publication:

Conference Paper

Source:

Gerpisa colloquium, Puebla, Pue. Mexico (2016)

URL:

Sustainable development, innovation, clean energy, R&D, Europe 2020, mobility, automobile industry

Résumé:

The first half of the Europe 2020 (EU2020) strategy’s implementation is already indicating new forms of interaction forged by the needs of a Europe unable to compete against low labour costs, while also maintaining protective labour rights, as it seeks to implement a development agenda with the motto of “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.” Under this umbrella, Horizon 2020 (H2020) is resulting not only in new forms of pre-market competition, but also in the creation of new markets. This research aims to explore the key features of the dynamics of a different approach to economic and sectoral development. This approach is the one proposed by the EU2020, in which technological and institutional changes are increasingly reconfiguring existing global value chains.
By taking up the case of clean, safe and integral mobility, this research will reveal key features of a new approach to economic development that is no longer focused on promoting individual industries, as is the case in non-European countries. The new industrial and innovation policy under EU2020 emphasizes the need for intra-regional, intra-sectoral and multi-disciplinary collaboration. Therefore, as an example, the automobile industry, which is also very important due to the levels of employment it generate, is losing its relevance as specific industry under the European 2020 strategy and resurging as part of a larger societal goal – in this case, the green mobility debate. In other words, individual industries stop being protagonists and become part of a larger initiative, such as mobility, together with firms from other industries that also have capabilities and infrastructures related to the societal challenge addressed (Vallejo, 2015).
The research starts with the realization that Europe is moving towards new forms of joint competition in A relevant transition in the interaction between technology regulation and policy on the one hand, and competition among firms on the other hand, has started in Europe through the H2020 framework. In a Europe unable to compete based on labor costs and with highly protective labor rights, the funding under H2020 is resulting not only in new forms of pre-market competition, but also in the creation of new markets.

This research proposes to analyze the dynamics of two different approaches to sectoral development, the one under H2020 versus the traditional sector development predominant in non-EU developing countries. By taking the case of integral mobility, the research shows how the developmental approach is no longer focused on promoting individual industries, as it is the case in Latin America and other non-European countries, but on societal challenges. The competition for H2020 grants has brought to Europe the need for intra-regional, intra-sectoral and multi-disciplinary collaboration. Therefore, under the H2020 framework, firms in the automobile, aeronautics and railway industries, for example, are losing their relevance as specific-industry manufacturers and resurging as part of a larger societal goal; in this case, the green mobility debate. In other words, they stop being protagonist, to become a part of a larger initiative, such as mobility, together with firms from other industries but with capabilities related to the societal challenge addressed.

The research argues that Europe is moving towards new forms of joint competition in which not only are industries rising to meet societal challenges and industrial leadership, but also partnerships are the key element of competition. Under H2020, the competition is shifting towards the pre-competitive stages of commercialization. Under this scheme, the coordination and arrangement of technology platforms across diverse sectors takes high relevance, as competition moves from current competitive markets towards competition (in the pre-competitive stage) for future markets.

When talking about the H2020 targets, we should keep in mind that the direction is from the societal goals towards the technology, and not the other way around, as it was in previous EU framework programs. Under H2020, the societal challenges agenda aims to guide and most importantly, to legitimize, the technological trajectories followed, while facilitating the creation of new markets. It is a framework in which, on the one hand, public policy establishes the goals and pushes the transformation (Geels, 2014; Mazzucato et al., 2015; Montalvo & Leijten, 2015). And, on the other hand, it allows participants to address existing market barriers and to pilot production in what Montalvo and Leijten (2015, p. 25) called “funding for the removal of market barriers.” Most importantly, and a key determinant in the future of this transition, it provides a platform to foster [European] patents regarding the technologies developed.

The introduction of Technological Readiness Levels (RTL) requirements added a new dimension to H2020 calls, not only to measure the level of maturity of the technology (within and at the end of the project), but also to specify the scope of the project’s activities. The dynamics of these new forms of interaction are still unexplored academically. Studies such as that of Schaltegger, Hansen and Ludeke-Freund (2015) highlight the emergence of new types of business models and business strategies derived from these new forms of interaction. It is clear that Europe is starting a whole new way of interaction towards technology-ownership competitiveness, whose implications are still not only unknown but also not understood by external entities.

Based on key-interviews and document analysis aims to explore these interactions and dynamics for the case of integral mobility while also presenting, by taking the case study of Mexico, the development strategies which take parts of the H2020 concepts, but not its integral approach, while continuing with the individual industry (i.e., automobile, aeronautic and railway) development approach.

Copyright© Gerpisa
Concéption Tommaso Pardi
Administration Géry Deffontaines

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