Working Paper No. 97. Gunnar Eliasson and Åsa Eliasson (2006). The Pharmacia Story of Entrepreneurship and as a Creative Technical University – An Experiment in Innovation, Organizational Break Up and Industrial Renaissance.
Abstract: While innovative technology supply has been the focus of much neo Schumpeterian modeling, few have addressed the critical and more resource demanding commercializing of the same technologies. The result may have been a growth policy focused on the wrong problem. Using competence bloc theory and a firm based macro to macro approach we abandon the assumed linear relation between technology change and economic growth of such models, and demonstrate that lack of local commercialization competences is likely to block growth even though innovative technology supplies are abundant. The break up, reorganization and part withdrawal of Pharmacia from the local Uppsala (in Sweden) economy after a series of international mergers illustrate. Pharmacia has “released” a wealth of technologies in local markets. Local commercialization competence, notably industrially competent financing has, however, not been sufficient to fill in through indigenous entrepreneurship the vacuum left by Pharmacia. Only thanks to foreign investors, attracted by Pharmacia technologies, that have opted to stay for the long term the local Uppsala economy seems to be heading for a successful future. The Pharmacia case also demonstrates the role of advanced firms as “technical universities” and the nature of an experimentally organized economy (EOE) in which business mistakes are a natural learning cost for economic development.