Industry and Innovation, 14(3): 277-303

The paper is in collaboration with Tommaso Ciarli.

The aim of this study is to analyse the main determinants of the adoption and use of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) and the relationship between ICT and the patterns of innovation in an Italian industrial district. The analysis is carried out on a database of 118 textile enterprises located in Biella, a well known industrial district specialised in medium to high quality woollen yarns and textiles, which have been interviewed following a structured questionnaire.
On the whole, the rate of adoption and use of ICT in Biella is rather low, confirming the results of other studies on industrial districts specialised in traditional sectors. Nevertheless, our analysis also shows that considering ICT as a general technology may be misleading. It is instead useful to disentangle among different ICT; in particular, there are significant differences between IT involving production, administration and logistic processes and communication technologies (CT). Moreover, we have tested on a smaller sample of 50 firms the hypothesis that adoption and use of ICT may positively influence innovation. Here, the most interesting finding is that different types of innovations, i.e. product, process and organisational innovations, are influenced by very different variables.