Exploring the Knowledge Spillovers of a Technology in an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem – The Case of Artificial Intelligence in Sydney

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Journal Article
Thunderbird International Business Review, 2021
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New knowledge presents opportunities for commercial value and can hence be a critical asset for entrepreneurial ecosystems. In particular, general purpose technologies are major drivers of entrepreneurship, thus, a nuanced understanding on technological knowledge and its spillovers among actors within an entrepreneurial ecosystem (EE) is warranted. Using knowledge-spillover-based strategic entrepreneurship theory, we propose to observe knowledge spillovers through the assessment of the knowledge bases of a technology in an EE. To do so, this paper proposes to use three key sources of knowledge: publications reflecting the emerging knowledge base, patents representing the realized knowledge base, and startups showing the experimental knowledge base. This paper uses secondary data sources such as Web of Science and applies the method of bibliometrics to illustrate how an assessment is carried out in practice by evaluating the artificial intelligence (AI) knowledge bases in Sydney from 2000 to 2018. The findings are summarized with an illustration of the evolution of the key actors and their activities over time in order to indicate the key strengths and weaknesses in Sydney’s AI knowledge among the different bases. Contrary to expectations from the high potential of knowledge spillovers from a general purpose digital technology such as AI, the paper shows that apparent knowledge spillovers are yet highly limited in Sydney. Even though Sydney has a strong emerging knowledge base, the realized knowledge base seems weak and the experimental knowledge base is slowly improving. That observation itself verifies the need to take strategic actions to facilitate knowledge spillovers within EEs. After the implications for theory and policy makers are discussed, suggestions for further studies are proposed.
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