Browse by title
Edited by Diane Nijs
Designing Innovation as Collective Creation
Edited by Diane Nijs
Franz Huber and Rune Dahl Fitjar
The chapter reflects on the limitations of the discourse on networks in innovative clusters in light of the author’s own empirical findings and associated research. The conceptual part of the chapter stresses the importance of distinguishing between personal and formal networks, and between stages of network mechanisms. It also stresses the need for conceptual sensitivity towards individualized networks that may go beyond coherent communities. The authors reflect on weaknesses in previous research, and then elaborate on reasons why networks in clusters can be limited due to lack of perceived need or lack of opportunity to benefit from local networks. Subsequently, they show that spatial proximity tends to be important for the formation of networks, while it tends to be less important for actual knowledge exchanges. In fact, within the context of Norway, the authors illustrate that it is international networks that are related to innovativeness. Finally, they clarify the role of various types of proximities for innovation by finding empirical evidence for the so-called Goldilocks principle: a medium level of proximity delivers the best innovative returns to collaboration, while collaboration with partners that are either too close or too far may not be beneficial for innovation.
Heidi Wiig Aslesen and Arne Isaksen
The chapter studies the relationship between companies’ knowledge bases and their sources, channels and geography of innovation-relevant knowledge. It questions whether some types of cluster initiative are too oriented towards establishing regional cooperation. Indeed, regional clusters and innovation systems assume that geographical agglomerations and regional cooperation stimulate firms’ innovation activity and value creation. However, companies are becoming increasingly integrated into global value chains and knowledge networks, suggesting that extra-regional resources are also important for innovation. Further, the geography of knowledge sources also varies between the types of knowledge that are central to firms’ innovation activity. The analysis shows that firms have innovation collaboration with many different types of partners, and that firms with different knowledge bases use partners differently. Analytical knowledge firms have more cooperation with universities, technology centres and suppliers than firms with a symbolic knowledge base. The geography of knowledge sources also varies as firms with an analytical knowledge base collaborate internationally, while companies in symbolic industries collaborate more with proximate actors. Informal channels for obtaining innovation-relevant knowledge are frequently used by firms, and the source of informal knowledge also varies between firms with different knowledge bases. Based on this, cluster initiatives should have a national and international perspective, and the design of cluster policy should enter a new ‘radical phase’ that takes more into account the geography of innovation sources and types of innovation channels of relevance to different cluster types.
Juan-Luis Klein and Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay
The chapter presents a survey of the main theoretical elements, debates and strategic perspectives on the link between cultural creation and the building of social cohesion in the city. The question addressed is: How can a cultural creation-oriented approach contribute to making the city more cohesive while contributing to its overall economic and social development? The chapter is divided into three sections. The first defines the main concepts and presents the main challenges. The second section provides a summary of the main debates on creation and creativity in the city and offers some innovative proposals. The third section sets the groundwork for a city development approach that would allow building a more cohesive city on the basis of cultural creation. The chapter shows that creation can be a collective way of enhancing the quality of life for all citizens and this calls for innovative forms of governance.
Researchers have long acknowledged the importance of culture in the innovation process. However, while culture is well integrated into frameworks such as Regional Innovation Systems (RIS), the actual processes through which cultural outlooks influence innovative activities is still poorly understood. Beyond this, culture is frequently viewed in an overly simplified way in which only one cultural attribute (such as ethnicity or geography) is seen as a deterministic force in the innovation process. The chapter provides a sympathetic critique of the ways in which culture is employed in RIS research and suggests that the work of Pierre Bourdieu is useful as an alternative to understand the role of overlapping and often confluent cultural outlooks within regions. This framework views innovation as a bundle of practices that actors employ based on their position within multiple, overlapping ‘fields’ of power relations and norms. The framework allows for a more nuanced appreciation for the role of culture that acknowledges the role of multiple sources of cultural influence.
Helen Lawton Smith
The entrepreneurship and economic development agenda is one that is both academic and political. Places grow because they generate new firms. Underpinning the idea of entrepreneurship-led growth is the supposition that entrepreneurship can be stimulated at the regional level by policy intervention. A dilemma for policy makers, however, is the persistence of entrepreneurial regions independently of politics. To address this problem, the European Union has introduced the European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) project. The EER ‘is a project that identifies and rewards EU regions which show an outstanding and innovative entrepreneurial policy strategy, irrespective of their size, wealth and competences. The regions with the most credible, forward-thinking and promising vision plan are granted the label “European Entrepreneurial Region” (EER) for a specific year.’ However, in the face of more firms, more jobs, wealth creation and lowering unemployment, there is still a lack of clear evidence of the impact of enterprise policies. The chapter considers how regions become entrepreneurial and which organizations are dominant in shaping visions and coordinating entrepreneurial activity. The high-tech entrepreneurial regions of Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire in the UK are used to illustrate, even in apparently similar regions, the distinctive differences in how the entrepreneurial region concept is developed and enacted at the local level.