Innovation in the Health System: Evidences from Brazilian Local Production and Innovation Systems

Innovation in the Health System: Evidences from Brazilian Local Production and Innovation Systems

Marcelo Pessoa de Matos (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Maria Clara Couto Soares (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), José Eduardo Cassiolato (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Julia Queiroz (Fundo Brasileiro para a Biodiversidade, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0135-0.ch020


This chapter discusses the main findings of five empirical studies focusing on local health innovation systems in Brazil. It focuses on the articulation of service and manufacturing segments within the Health complex and the other organizations that constitute a Local Innovation and Production System (LIPS) and discusses the learning, capacity building and innovation processes and their effective and potential impact on the local territory. The findings suggest that the types and intensity of interactions are closely related to the characteristics of what can be called a local cognitive territory. The directions of capacity building and scientific and technological evolution are directly influenced by conflicts among individuals and groups. The influence of these power relations, which are often associated with diverging private and public (collective) interests, highlights the importance of the institutional and policy dimensions for mediation and for promoting an evolution of the system that favors social inclusion and efficiency.
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Health Innovation Systems

The Brazilian industrial policy directed to the health industry has been carried out in the last decade under the header of the Health Economic-Industrial Complex – HEIC. It encompasses both manufacturing industries (the chemical and biotechnology industry and the mechanics, electronics and materials industry) as well as service providers (hospitals, clinics, diagnostic and treatment) that are consumers of the products manufactured in the first group and at the same time articulate the consumption of these industrial products by the population. Figure 1 shows the structure of the HEIC and the three production subsystems that compose it.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Local Innovative and Productive Systems – LIPSs: Groups of economic, political and social actors, situated in the same territory, developing correlated economic activities and that present expressive productive, interactive, cooperative and learning connections. LIPSs generally include companies (producers of final goods and services, suppliers of equipment and other inputs, industrial services, commerce, clients, etc.), cooperatives, associations, and representations and other organizations dedicated to the training of human resources, information, research, development and engineering, promotion and financing.

Innovation: The process by which organizations incorporate knowledge in the production of goods and services that are new for them, not mattering if they are or not new for domestic of foreign competitors. In the innovation economy, the main focus of analysis falls upon technical changes and other associated changes, which are considered to be fundamental for the understanding of the factors that make organizations, sectors, regions and countries develop faster than others.

Capacity Building: Refers to the accumulation of knowledge and abilities by individuals and organizations, based on formal and informal learning processes. The capability of firms enables them to develop and reproduce more advanced productive and innovative practices, leading to an increase of their endowment of tangible (equipment, infra-structure) and intangible resources (knowledge, abilities, competences) and, therefore, fostering their competitiveness.

Learning: Cumulative process, by which the organizations (through their human resources) acquire and amplify their knowledge, refine their searching procedures and their abilities in developing, producing and commercializing goods and services.

Cooperation: The general meaning of cooperation is ‘working together’, involving relations of mutual confidence and coordination at different levels among the actors. In local productive systems, different types of cooperation can be identified, including productive cooperation for the attainment of economies of scale and scope; improvement of quality and productivity; and innovative cooperation, which leads to the reduction of risks, costs, time and, especially, to interactive learning, increasing the potential for the creation of productive and innovative capabilities.

Governance: The different patterns of coordination, intervention and participation in the processes of decision making of different actors (the State, in its various levels, companies, citizens, workers, non-governmental organizations, etc.); and to the diverse activities associated to the organization of production and commercialization, as well as to the process of generation, dissemination and use of knowledge.

Territory and Territoriality: Generically, the idea of territory refers to the geographical portion appropriated by a group of humans or animals, or by an individual, seeking to secure their reproduction and the satisfaction of their vital necessities. There are several meanings for the word territory. All conserve the idea of a personal or collective dominium in different contexts and levels: the house, the office, the neighborhood, city, region, nation, and planet. Each territory is, therefore, shaped through the combination of internal and external conditions and forces and should be understood as part of a spatial totality. The territory cannot be reduced to its material or concrete dimension, presenting various dimensions such as (a) Physical – concerning its natural characteristics and resources (such as climate, soil, relief, vegetation and subsoil), as well as those resulting from the use and from the territorial practices of social groups; (b) Economic – through the physical organization of the economic production processes – what is produced, how it is produced and who produces; (c) Social and political – representing a mean through which social integration occurs and domination and power relations are established – how and who dominates or influences it; (d) Symbolic – including the affective and cultural bonds of identity of the individual or of a social group with its geographic space; (e) Cognitive – referring to the conditions for the generation, use and diffusion of knowledge.

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