Leon Oerlemans, Marius Meeus and Patrick Kenis INTRODUCTION Over the last 20 years, several new theoretical approaches have been developed to understand the determinants of successful regional development and policy in an economic environment that has become increasingly competitive and global. As argued by Mouleart and Sekia (2003), this search for a ‘new’ model of regional development was partially a result of the ambiguous results of regional policies implemented in the period after the Second World War. The larger part of regional policies in this period encompassed relative price incentive structures aimed at attracting employment to traditional manufacturing regions, building new infrastructures and the encouragement of production investments in lagging regions. Although these measures stimulated job creation in local ﬁrms and attracted external direct investments to these regions, these policies often suﬀered from a lack of structural embeddedness within regions. From the early 1980s onwards, several scholars (Lundvall and Borras, 1999; Asheim, 1999) observed a qualitative and structural change in the development of capitalist economies, that is, a transition from Fordism to post-Fordism leading to a so-called learning economy. Combined with an ongoing globalization, innovation and learning are regarded as core processes for maintaining and improving organizational competitiveness. Moreover, in this diﬀerent context the nature of the innovation process has changed considerably. The linear model of innovation, in which innovation activities are sequentially conducted in the absence of feedback loops, is succeeded by the view that innovation is an interactive, cumulative and path-dependent process, following speciﬁc technological...
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