Generation and Diffusion of Innovations in a District Innovation System: The Case of Ink-Jet Printing


  • Yolanda Reig-Otero Instituto de Tecnología Cerámica (ITC). Campus Universitario de Riu Sec. Avd. Sos Baynat S/N. CP 12006-Castellón de la Plana. TE +34 964-342424 Fax +34 964-342425
  • Mónica Edwards-Schachter INGENIO (CSIC-UPV)
  • Carlos Feliú-Mingarro Instituto de Tecnología Cerámica (ITC). Campus Universitario de Riu Sec. Avd. Sos Baynat S/N. CP 12006-Castellón de la Plana. TE +34 964-342424 Fax +34 964-342425
  • Ignacio Fernández-de-Lucio INGENIO (CSIC-UPV), Universitat Politècnica de València. Ciudad Politécnica de la Innovación, Camino de Vera S/N, Ed. 8E Acceso J, 46022-Valencia, TE 963877007 Fax 963877991



innovation process, innovation system, industrial district, learning region, ceramic tile industry, ink-jet printing


This paper provides an in-depth case study of the ink-jet printing (IJP) technology that emerged from the ceramic industry in a Spanish region (Castellon) in the first decade of 2000. We propose an analytical framework that combines the theoretical perspectives of Industrial Districts and Innovation Systems, and exploit a qualitative methodology that includes information from patent and scientific article databases and 21 in-depth interviews. Our results show that IJP is a major innovation that breaks with the tradition of machinery innovations in this industry in Spain. Micro-level evidences show the complex external and internal relationships in the sharing of knowledge and innovation process, being the role of internal ties, trust, secrecy and strong in-house R&D strategies determinants of the IJP innovation.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Mónica Edwards-Schachter, INGENIO (CSIC-UPV)

Research Fellow


ASHEIM, B.T. (1996). Industrial districts as ‘learning regions’: a condition for prosperity, European Planning Studies, 4, 379–400. DOI: 10.1080/09654319608720354

ASHEIM, B. (2007). Differentiated knowledge bases and varieties of regional innovation systems, Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research 20(3), 223-241. DOI:10.1080/13511610701722846

BARBA, A. (2005). From Chemical Engineering to ceramic technology: A review of research at the Instituto de Tecnología Cerámica, Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Cerámica y Vidrio, 44(3), 155-160.

BECATTINI, G. (1990). The Marshallian Industrial District as a Socio-economic Notion. In F. Pyke F., Becattini G. and Sengenberger, W. (Eds.), Industrial Districts and Inter-firm Co-operation in Italy, International Institute for Labour Studies, Geneva.

BECATTINI, G.; Bellandi, M.; De Propis, L. (Eds.), (2009). A Handbook of Industrial Districts. Edward Elgar Pub., UK, USA.

BELUSSI, F.; Asheim, B. T. (2010). Industrial Districts and Globalisation: Learning and Innovation in Local and Global Production and Innovation Systems. In Belussi, F. and A. Sammarra (Eds.), Business Networks in Clusters and Industrial Districts: the Governance of the global value chain. Routledge, London, 246-265.

BELUSSI, F. (1996). Local systems, industrial districts and institutional networks: towards a new evolutionary paradigm of industrial economics? European Planning Studies, 4(1), 5-26. DOI:10.1080/09654319608720326

BERTO A. M. (2007). Ceramic tiles: above and beyond traditional applications, J. European Ceram. Soc., 27,1607-1613. DOI: 10.1016/j.jeurceramsoc.

BOIX, R. (2009). The empìrical relevance of industrial districts in Spain. In Becattini, G.; Bellandi, M. and De Propis, L. (Eds.). A Handbook of Industrial Districts. Edward Elgar Pub., UK, USA. Chap. 26, 343-359.

BOIX, R.; Galletto, V. (2006). Sistemas locales de trabajo y distritos industriales marshallianos en España. Economía Industrial, 359,165-184.

BRAUNERHJELM, P.; Feldman, M. (2006). Cluster genesis. Technology-based industrial development. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

BRESCHI, S.; Lissoni, F. (2004). Knowledge networks from patent data: methodological issues and research targets. WP Nº 150. CESPRI.

BRUSCO, S. (1990). The idea of the industrial ditrict. Its genesis. In Pyke, F.; Becattini, G. and Sengenberger, W. (Eds.), Industrial Districts and Local Economic Regeneration. International Institute for Labor Studies, Geneva, 10-19.

BUESA, M.; Heijs, J.; Martínez-Pelletero, M.; Baumert, T. (2005). Regional systems of innovation and the knowledge production function: the Spanish case. Technovation, 26, 436-472. DOI: 10.1016/j.technovation.2004.11.007

BUESA, M.; Heijs, J. (coords.) (2007). Sistemas regionales de innovación: Nuevas formas de análisis y medición. Ed. Fundación de las Cajas de Ahorro, Madrid, España.

CANIËLS M.C.J.; Romijn H.A. (2003). Firm-level knowledge accumulation and regional dynamics, Industrial and Corporate Change, 12(6), 1253-1278. DOI: 10.1093/icc/12.6.1253

CANTNER, U.; Meder, A.; Ter Wal, A. L. J. (2010). Innovator networks and regional knowledge base, Technovation 30, 496–507. DOI: 10.1016/j.technovation.2010.04.002

COHEN, W. M.; Levinthal, D. A. (1990). Absorptive Capacity: A New Perspective on Learning and Innovation, Admin. Sci. Quart., 35 (1),128-152.

CLYMER, N.; Asaba, S. (2008). A new approach for understanding dominant design: the case of the ink-jet printer, Journal of Engineering Technology Management, 25, 137-156. DOI: 10.1016/j.jengtecman.2008.06.003

COOKE, P. (1996). Reinventing the region: firms, clusters and networks in economic development. In Daniels & Lever (Eds.), The global economy in Transition. Longman, Essex, UK.

COOKE, P. (2001). Regional innovation systems, clusters, and the knowledge economy, Industrial and Corporate Change, 10(4), 945-974. DOI: 10.1093/icc/10.4.945

COOKE, P. (2005). Regionally asymmetric knowledge capabilities and open innovation. Exploring “Globalisation 2”. A new model of industry organisation, Research Policy, 34, 1128–1149. DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2004.12.005

COOKE, P. (2009). Technology clusters, industrial districts and regional innovation systems. In Becattini, G.; Bellandi, M. & De Propis, L. (Eds.). A Handbook of Industrial Districts. Edward Elgar Pub., UK, USA. Chap. 23, pp. 295-342.

COOKE, P.; Morgan, K. (1993). The network paradigm: new departures in corporate and regional development, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 11(5), 543-564.

COOMBS, R., Harvey, M.; Tether, B. (2003). Analysing distributed processes of provision and innovation, Industrial and Corporate Change, 12, 1051-1081. DOI: 10.1093/icc/12.6.1125

DAVENPORT, H. ; Prusak, L. (2000). Working Knowledge. Harvard Business School Press.

DE CARLO, A.; Montani, M. (2003). The digital revolution in tile decoration, Ceramic World Review, 51,78-84.

DOLOREUX, D. (2002). What we should know about regional systems of innovation, Technology in Society, 24(3), 243–263. DOI: 10.1016/S0160-791X(02)00007-6

DOSI, G. (1982). Technological paradigm and technological trajectories, Research Policy, 11(3), 147-162. DOI: 10.1016/0048-7333(82)90016-6

EDQUIST, C. (Ed.). (1997). Systems of innovation: technologies, institutions and organizations. Pinter, London, UK.

EISENHARDT, K. M. (1989), ‘Building Theories from Case Study Research’, Academy of Management Review, (4), 532-550. DOI:10.5465/AMR.1989.4308385

ESCARDINO, A. (2001). La innovación tecnológica en la industria cerámica de Castellón, Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Cerámica y Vidrio, 40(1), 43-51.

EXPÓSITO-LANGA, M.; Molina-Morales, F. X. (2010). How Relational Dimensions Affect Knowledge Redundancy in Industrial Clusters, European Planning Studies, 18(12), 1975-1992. DOI:10.1080/09654313.2010.515817

EVANGELISTA, R., Iammarino, S.; Mastrostefano, V.; Silvani, A. (2002). Looking for regional systems of innovation. Evidence from the Italian innovation survey, Regional Studies, 36,(2), 173-186. DOI:10.1080/00343400220121963

FERRO Italia. (2001). Tile Decoration moves into the 21st century, a Digital Revolution: The story of Kerajet Technology, International Ceramics Journal. Product Technology.

FLORIDA, R. (1995). Toward the learning region, Futures, 27(5), 527-536. DOI: 10.1016/0016-3287(95)00021-N

GARNSEY, E.; Stam, E.; Thomas, B. (2010). The emergence and development of the Cambridge ink jet printing industry. In Fornahl, D.; Henn, S. and Menzel, M. P. (Eds.). Emerging clusters. Theoretical, empirical and political perspectives on the initial stage of cluster evolution. Edward Elgar Pub., UK, USA., 265-291.

GABALDÓN-ESTEVAN, D.; Molina-Morales, F. X.; Fernández-De-Lucio, I. (2009). Research contracts and patents in the Spanish ceramic tile district innovation system. INGENIO (CSIC-UPV). Working Papers Series 2009-1.

GEORGE, A. L.; Bennett, A. (2005). Case studies and theory development in the social sciences. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

GIACOMINI, P. (2010). A digital future? Ceramic World Review, 86, 56-75.

GIACOMINI, P. (2011). The unstoppable growth of digital technology, Ceramic World Review, 98, 48.

GORDON, I.; Mccann, P. (2000). Industrial clusters: complexes, agglomeration and/or social networks?, Urban studies, 37, 513-532. DOI: 10.1080/0042098002096

HARRISON, B. (1992). Industrial districts: old wine in new bottles?, Regional Studies, 26, 269-483. DOI: 10.1080/00343400701232264

HEIDENREICH, M. (2005). The renewal of regional capabilities. Experimental regionalism in Germany, Research Policy, 34, 739–757. DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2005.04.004

HERRSCHEL, T. (2010). Growth and Innovation of Competitive Regions: The Role of Internal and External Connections, European Planning Studies, 18(7), 1169-1172. DOI:10.1080/09654311003744217

HUTCHINGS, I.M. (2009). Ink-jet printing in micro-manufacturing: opportunities and limitations. In Proc. 4M/ICOMM Int. Conf. on Multi-material Micro Manufacture, Cardiff University: Karlsruhe, Germany.

IAMMARINO, S. (2005). An evolutionary integrated view of regional systems of innovation. Concepts, measures and historical perspectives, European Planning Studies, 13(4), 497-519. DOI:10.1080/09654310500107084

IAMMARINO, S.; Mccann, P. (2006). The structure and evolution of industrial clusters:Transactions, technology and knowledge spillovers, Research Policy, 35, 1018–1036. DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2006.05.004

JØRGENSEN, M.; Phillips, L. (2002). Discourse Analysis as Theory and Method. SAGE London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi.

KEEBLE, D.; Wilkinson, F. (1999). Colective Learning and Knowledge development in the evolution of regional clusters of high technology SMEs in Europe, Regional Studies, 33(4): 295-303. DOI:10.1080/00343409950081167

LORENZEN, M. (2005). Why do clusters change?, European Urban and Regional Studies, 12(3), 203-208.

LUNDVALL, B. A. (1992). National Systems of Innovation: towards a theory of innovation and interactive learning. Pinter, London, UK.

LUNDVALL, B. A. (2007). National Innovation Systems. Analytical concept and development tool, Industry and Innovation, 14(1), 95-119. DOI:10.1080/13662710601130863

LUNDVALL, B‐Å.; Borras, S. (1997). The Globalising Learning Economy: Implications for Innovation Policy. European Communities, Luxembourg.

MALERBA, F. (2002). Sectoral systems of innovation and production, Research Policy, 31, 247-264. DOI: 10.1016/S0048-7333(01)00139-1

MALERBA, F. ; Vonortas, N. S. (Eds.). (2009), Innovation networks in industries. Edward Elgar Pub. UK, USA.

MEYER-STAMER, J. et al. (2004). Upgrading in the Tile Industry of Italy, Spain and Brazil: insights from cluster and value chain analysis. In: Schmitz, H. (Ed.). Local Enterprises in the Global Economy: Issues of Governance and Upgrading. Edward Elgar Pub., Cheltenham, UK.

MOLINA-MORALES, F. X. (2002), ‘Industrial districts and innovation: the case of the Spanish ceramic tiles industry’, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 14(4), 317-335.

MOLINA-MORALES, F. X.; Martínez-Fernández, M. T. (2009a). Does homogeneity exist within industrial districts? A social capital-based approach, Papers in Regional Science, 88(1), 209-229.

MOLINA-MORALES, F. X.; Martínez-Fernández, M. T. (2009b). Too much love in the neighborhood can hurt: how an excess of intensity and trust in relationships may produce negative effects on firms. Strategic Management Journal, 30, 1013-1023.

MOLINA-MORALES, F. X., López-Navarro, M. A.; Guia-Julve, J. (2002). The Role of Local Institutions as Intermediary Agents in the Industrial District, European Urban and Regional Studies, 9, 315-329. DOI: 10.1177/096977640200900403

MOODYSSON, J., Coenen, J.; Asheim, B. (2008). Explaining spatial patterns of innovation: analytical and synthetic modes of knowledge creation in the Medicon Valley lifescience cluster, Environment and Planning 40, 1040-1056. DOI:10.1068/a39110

MORENO, A.; Lázaro, V.; Mateu, A.; Reig, Y. (2010). Innovations and new trends in ceramic tile decoration, Advances in Science and Technology, 68, 165-175. DOI: 10.4028/

MOTOYAMA, Y. (2008). What Was New About the Cluster Theory?: What Could It Answer and What Could It Not Answer?, Economic Development Quarterly, 22,353-363. DOI: 10.1177/0891242408324373

MOULAERT, F.; Sekia, F. (2003). Territorial innovation models: a critical survey, Regional Studies, 37, 289-302. DOI:10.1080/0034340032000065442

NELSON, R. R. (1995). Recent theorizing about economic change, Journal of Economic Literature 33(1), 48-90.

PORTER, M. and Ketels, C. (2009). Clusters and industrial districts: common roots, different perspectives. In Becattini, G.; Bellandi, M.; De Propis, L. (Eds.). A Handbook of Industrial Districts. Edward Elgar Pub., UK, USA, 172-183.

QUEROL VILLALBA, A.M.; Guaita Delgado, F. J., Ferro Spain S.A. (2002). Nueva tinta amarilla para la decoración de artículos de cerámica y vidrio mediante tecnología inkjet. Patent Nº ES2209634 .

SANZ, V.; Reig, Y.; Feliu, C.; Bautista, Y.; Ribes, C.; Edwards, M. (2012). Technical Evolution of Ceramic Tile Printing. Journal of Imaging Science and Technology, 56, 401-407

SEONG-JIM K.; Mckean, D.E. (1998). Aqueous TiO2 suspension preparation and novel application of ink-jet printing technique for ceramics patterning, Journal of materials science letters, 17, 141-144.

SFORZI, F. (2006). El distrito industrial y el ‘viraje territorial’ en el análisis del cambio económico, Economía Industrial. El distrito industrial marshalliano: un balance crítico de 25 años. Ministerio de Industria y Comercio de España. 359, 37-42.

SOCIEDAD ESPAÑOLA DE CERÁMICA Y VIDRIO (2010). Innovación y desarrollo del azulejo en las tres últimas décadas: colección de los premios Alfa de Oro 1977-2009. Madrid.

STORPER, M. (1993). Regional ‘Worlds’ of Production: Learning and Innovation in the Technology Districts of France, Italy and the USA, Regional Studies, 27(5), 433-455. DOI:10.1080/00343409312331347675

STORPER, M. (1997). The regional world: territorial development in a global economy. Guilford Press, London, UK.

TOMÁS CLARAMONTE, J. V. (1999). Dispositivo para decorar baldosas cerámicas. Patent Nº EP99949020.4.

TORTAJADA ESPARZA, E.; Fernández de Lucio, I.; Gabaldón Estevan, D. (2008). Competitiveness and Profitability? New Challenges in the Ceramic Frit, Glaze and Colour Industry, Tile & Brick International. Manual 2008:59-65.

VONORTAS, N. S. (2009). Innovation networks in industry. In Malerba, F. & Vonortas, N. S. (Eds.). Innovation networks in industries. Edward Elgar Pub. UK, USA, 27-44.

WIJSHOFF, H. (2008). Sructure and fluid-dynamics in piezo inkjet printheads. Herman Wijshoff. Venlo, The Netherlands.

YBARRA, J. A. (1991). Industrial districts and the Valencian Community. New industrial organisation programme. Discussion Papers DP/44 (Geneva: International Institute for Labour Studies).

ZIRULIA, L. (2009). The dynamics of networks and the evolution of industries: a survey of empirical literature. In Malerba, F. & Vonortas, N. S. (Eds.). (2009). Innovation networks in industries. Edward Elgar Pub. UK, USA, 45-77.




How to Cite

Reig-Otero, Y., Edwards-Schachter, M., Feliú-Mingarro, C., & Fernández-de-Lucio, I. (2014). Generation and Diffusion of Innovations in a District Innovation System: The Case of Ink-Jet Printing. Journal of Technology Management & Innovation, 9(2), 56–76.



Research Articles

Similar Articles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.