Research Approach

The programme is designed to deliver frameworks, tools and techniques which can map, analyse and help to manage all elements of the value chain, from ideas and opportunities through to products and services. The focus is on industries emerging from, or drawing heavily on, new science and technology.


The manufacturing value chain
The manufacturing value chain



The approach is embodied in three interrelated research strands:

  • Mapping the dynamics of a broad cross section of existing industries, building on well-established mapping techniques to reveal patterns and issues of emergence in a variety of contexts
  • Studying the structure, characteristics and dynamics of key 'value network' elements and their interfaces
  • Developing novel tools and techniques for the representation, analysis and measurement of the full range of industrial activities.



The focus of the Emerging Industries Programme is on emerging industrial systems involving some or all of the following characteristics:

  • A dispruptive idea (or convergence of ideas) driving the establishment of an entirely new industrial value chain, or the radical
  • reconfiguration of an existing one
  • Significant uncertainty in market demand, viable business models, societal acceptance, technological trajectories etc
  • Immature value chains and market uncertainty
  • The potential to cause step-changes in key industry structure parameters, including for example: number of firms involved, market leadership, market size, people employed and added-value captured by a national economy



Individual projects within the programme adopt exploratory, process and action research methods as appropriate.



The exploratory elements of the research are designed to provide a comprehensive view of the drivers, structures and interdependencies in global industrial structures. Archival studies, observation and analysis are pursued using graphical data collection methods. These maps form the basis for analyses to provide common frameworks for the representation of industrial systems in different sectors using common formats.



Process research has been used extensively by Cambridge teams. The approach was developed as a means of eliciting the issues and decisions involved in particular managerial domains and to encourage the synthesis of research findings in forms that would be helpful to industry.



Action research offers a structured approach to detailed understanding of industrial system dynamics and interactions at the 'micro' level through live engagements in operations, strategy formulation and policymaking.

Share This