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Regional Economies as Knowledge Laboratories

Edited by Philip Cooke and Andrea Piccaluga

Today, the study of regions is central to academic analysis and policy deliberation on how to respond to the rise of the knowledge economy. Regional Economies as Knowledge Laboratories illustrates how newer types of regional analysis – utilising scientometrics, knowledge services measures and university networks, and concepts such as knowledge life cycles, experimental knowledge creation, and knowledge ethics – are leading to a perception that regional economies increasingly resemble knowledge laboratories.
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Chapter 4: Knowledge Intensive Business Services and regional development: consultancy in city regions in Norway

Heidi Wiig Aslesen


Heidi Wiig Aslesen I. INTRODUCTION The knowledge economy reflects the tendency for economic competitiveness to be more linked up to new ways of producing, using and combining diverse knowledge, than to certain industries or technologies per se. The term is also related to the acceleration and complexity of technological change, and to the growth of demand for advanced knowledge and skills by firms. Firms’ ability to make use of information, to create and to manage knowledge, is a critical factor in the knowledge economy and makes innovation an important driving force. Innovation processes are now regarded as complex and dynamic and a result of cumulative dynamic interaction and learning processes involving many actors; they are also characterized by innovation in non-technological areas, especially in services and new forms of organizations. This widening of the innovation concept puts emphasis on more diverse knowledge requirements by firms, putting firms’ learning capacity at the centre. The knowledge economy therefore puts a quantitative and qualitative shift in the demand and need for knowledge and learning. Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS) are services concerned with the supply and management of knowledge and intangible assets (socalled ‘knowledge-about-knowledge’). This group of firms has experienced enormous growth in the last decade1 (see Miles, 2003 and Wood, 2002), especially among the computer industry and management consultancy. The growth has been confined especially to city areas, suggesting that this is where the demand–supply interaction is best developed (Daniels, 1991; Howells, 1988; Marshall, 1988), contributing to making geographic...

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