Networks, Space and Competitiveness

Networks, Space and Competitiveness

Evolving Challenges for Sustainable Growth

Edited by Roberta Capello and Tomaz Ponce Dentinho

The expert contributors illustrate that sources of regional competitiveness are strongly linked with spatially observable yet increasingly flexible realities, and include building advanced and efficient transport, communications and energy networks, changing urban and rural landscapes, and creating strategic and forward-looking competitiveness policies. They investigate long-term interactions between regional competitiveness and urban mobility, as well as the connections that link global sustainability with local technological and institutional innovations, and the intrinsic diversity of spatially rooted innovation processes. A prospective analysis on networks and innovation infrastructure is presented, global environmental issues such as climate change and energy are explored, and new policy perspectives – relevant world-wide – are prescribed.

Chapter 5: Knowledge relations and innovation from a regional perspective

Franz Tödtling, Christoph Höglinger and Markus Grillitsch

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, urban and regional studies, regional economics


There is broad agreement among regional scientists and policy makers nowadays that the performance of regional economies in a globalizing knowledge economy depends to a high degree on innovation and knowledge transforming capabilities (Archibugi and Lundvall, 2001; Malecki 2010). This is particularly the case if companies are following a high road strategy of competition (Asheim et al., 2007). It is also broadly accepted that innovation is to a high extent an open and interactive process, based on the exchange and transformation of tacit and codified knowledge (Chesbrough, 2003; Lorenz and Lundvall, 2006; Brenner et al., 2011). It has been pointed out that firms from both high-and low-technology sectors draw relevant knowledge for innovation from a broad variety of knowledge sources which may be distributed across many locations from local to global levels (Smith, 2002; Tödtling et al., 2006; Cooke et al., 2007). Firms, universities and other actors are said to engage in various forms of knowledge interactions and networks (Graf, 2006; Tödtling et al., 2006; Giuliani 2011). However, the sourcing, integration and application of external knowledge requires good absorptive capacities and internal competencies of firms (Zahra and George, 2002). Key challenges for regional policy actors and companies are therefore to provide good preconditions for knowledge acquisition and transformation, and innovation. These include a highly qualified workforce, excellent universities and research organizations, and well-suited intermediaries and venture capital, among others. A key factor, however, is the access to relevant knowledge both within the region and increasingly beyond. A core argument of this chapter is that the preconditions for and the patterns of knowledge acquisition differ between sectors and regions.

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