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Literature on industrial districts described the district model as an integrated local system of SMEs where learning-by-doing characterizes innovation, rooted in local contexts and face-to-face/informal communication is relevant within the value chain. Recently however, internationalization and network technologies transform the scenario, reducing the gap between district SMEs and outside firm model. Not all firms are the same in terms of innovation management and use of ICT, according to different strategies and internationalization dynamics. The paper discusses similarities and differences in innovation approach and ICT adoption of SMEs inside and outside districts, based on a survey of about 800 Italian firms.
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