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Regional Innovation Policy for Small-Medium Enterprises

Edited by Bjørn T. Asheim, Arne Isaksen, Claire Nauwelaers and Franz Tödtling

This book provides an extensive evaluation of the numerous policy instruments used by regional governments in Europe to promote innovation activity in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The instruments are compared and benchmarked in order to identify ‘good practice’, in an effort to bridge the gap between the theory of regional innovation and real-world policy implementation.
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Chapter 7: Coherence of Innovation Policy Instruments

Poul Rind Christensen, Andreas Peter Cornett and Kristian Philipsen


Poul Rind Christensen, Andreas Peter Cornett and Kristian Philipsen 7.1 INTRODUCTION In the previous chapters as well as in the national studies, it has been stressed that the formation of an integrated or coherent innovation policy system is a necessary condition in support of a successful regional innovation system. In Chapter 3 the regional barriers to innovation were emphasized. It was stressed that organizational thinness as well as a fragmented regional innovation support system and – at the other extreme – a tight local support structure institutionalized in a regional area all may lead to ‘excessive’ barriers for innovation among SMEs. In Chapter 4, it has been stressed that the population of SMEs is heterogeneous regarding their innovative activity in several respects of the word. Their needs as well as their contextual situation differ strongly. Therefore, it is concluded, lateral communication is needed in order to foster dynamic and adjustable support instruments. The conclusions of Chapter 5 stress the need for interactive policies that will ensure ‘client-focused services’ and help to implement interface structures between industry and research institutions. These points call attention to a critical puzzle, namely the extent to which bureaucratic rationality in the organization of innovation support programmes is a barrier by itself to the creation of policies responsive to the dynamic situation and changing needs of SMEs which they intend to sustain. Based on the propositions and conclusions drawn from previous chapters, this chapter takes on the task of reflecting on the ambiguous notion of coherence....

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