To effectively realize innovation in science-based industries, it is critically important to be able to combine a broad range of highly diverse expertise (knowledge) from both inside and outside the firm. In the case of Japan, although outstanding knowledge is being created in various places, the speed at which the range of combination expands declines relatively. Thus, as is typically observed in the semiconductor industry, in some cases Japanese firms have failed to remain competitive in global markets. Based on this awareness, this project focuses on the rapid rise and fall of the general-purpose DRAMs business which Japanese semiconductor manufacturers experienced during the second half of the 1990s. This project seeks to identify the principal factors in this process by comparing the R&D, mass production and marketing strategies of Japanese, U.S. and Korean manufacturers.
To create an effective innovation process in science-based industries we believe that a prerequisite is to mobilize a broader range of wisdom and knowledge of diverse experts both from within and outside each relevant company. Unfortunately, however, in Japan such mobilization of wisdom and knowledge can hardly be said to be sufficiently broad in scope to be effective. In view of this, even in fields in which there have been large numbers of creative discoveries, inventions, and improvements there is no shortage of cases in which it has been difficult to use these in a way that enhances the competitiveness of the relevant science-based industries. The purpose of our research is to re-examine, based on this awareness of current realities, the characteristics of the innovation process in the semiconductor (devices, equipment, materials) industry, one of Japan's foremost science-based industries, in particular its strengths and its weaknesses, and to seek remedies.
Until March 31, 2008