Knowledge Creation and Innovation in Medium-technology Clusters
Riccardo Cappellin and Rüdiger Wink
‘Smartness’ has become a trendy attribute of a growing number of policies, agendas and phenomena, implying a particular set of qualities and characteristics, or way of doing things. Despite its ubiquity, the term is not, in itself, very clear, stretching from technology-centred managerial efficiency agendas to a focus on cognitive learning processes in policymaking. Yet this terminological fuzziness is also its attraction, because it suggests innovativeness, creativity, novelty, and all those ‘things’ that policymakers like to be associated with. This chapter explores elements of ‘smartness’ in the framing and implementation of city-regional governance. Does ‘smartness’ relate to particular, novel and imaginative ways of doing or organising things? Is it about conflict resolution between competing policy agendas and ‘cultures’, geographic imaginations and practices? Or, alternatively, is it about ‘learning’ as a way of optimising agendas and practices?
A widely recognised challenge across multiple scales of governance is steering towards more sustainable socio-economic development while allowing appropriate scope for innovation and learning. Yet, political science tends to focus on conceptualising processes through which policy learning occurs, rather than assessing the substantive nature of this learning in the context of such complex challenges. This chapter proposes and applies a conceptual and methodological approach for meeting this need. Drawing from treatments of learning in political economy, the approach analyses in detail how policy actors and stakeholders with contrasting expertise and knowledge understand the complex inter-relationships between policy choices and outcomes.
There is now much emphasis on evidence-based policymaking. However, rather less consideration is given to the origin of that evidence. Common sources can be found in academic research, in consultancy work and through the activities of think tanks and pressure groups. Each has their own objectives, strengths and potential weaknesses. For many the ‘gold-standard’ of evidence is that of academic research. However, with pressure on academics to engage more fully with policymakers to achieve ‘impact’, this raises questions about the impartiality of academic evidence. This chapter will consider the changing landscape for evidence-based policy and its implications.
Alwin Gerritsen and Nicola Francesco Dotti
While innovation has become a major issue in territorial innovation policy, the scientific debate in this field has focused very little on issues such as knowledge for policymaking, learning and adaptation. This chapter explores the emerging notion of ‘knowledge governance’ and the challenges imposed by assuming a territorial perspective, due to the intrinsic limits of local learning communities and the need to anchor trans-territorial knowledge. The derived territorial knowledge governance framework will be explored by discussing the eight case studies presented in the second part of this volume, leading to reflections on the need for identifying realistic and situated knowledge governance arrangements.
Nicola Francesco Dotti and Annalisa Colombino
This chapter discusses a cognitive-evolutionary model, inspired by the work of Schumpeter and Hall, which pivots on the role of knowledge for policymaking. The model highlights the importance of adopting a territorial perspective to achieve ‘policy resilience’ in cities and regions by discussing the model’s main assumptions and dimensions. It presents four different scenarios in which policy learning has different potentials for achieving policy change/innovation. The core argument is that policymakers can develop knowledge to achieve policy resilience in cities and regions only by being aware of the dynamics of policy learning (i.e. they need to learn how to learn).
Nicola Francesco Dotti and Alessandro Colombo
The final chapter summarises the main results discussed in the previous chapters and draws conclusions about the notion of research–policy dialogue. After reviewing each chapter, we argue that, first, research and policymaking should recognise their different rationales. Once they recognise these differences and mutual ‘right’ to speak, the research–policy dialogue is likely to lead to better policy outcomes through policy learning. Finally, we should recognise that this ‘dialogue’ is located ‘somewhere’, and policy learning is context-specific. For the future, we suggest questioning the notion of ‘research–policy dialogue’ for theoretical development and empirical validations as well as alternative models.