Evolving Challenges for Sustainable Growth
Edited by Roberta Capello and Tomaz Ponce Dentinho
Chapter 5: Knowledge relations and innovation from a regional perspective
There is broad agreement among regional scientists and policy makers nowadays that the performance of regional economies in a globalizing knowledge economy depends to a high degree on innovation and knowledge transforming capabilities (Archibugi and Lundvall, 2001; Malecki 2010). This is particularly the case if companies are following a high road strategy of competition (Asheim et al., 2007). It is also broadly accepted that innovation is to a high extent an open and interactive process, based on the exchange and transformation of tacit and codified knowledge (Chesbrough, 2003; Lorenz and Lundvall, 2006; Brenner et al., 2011). It has been pointed out that firms from both high-and low-technology sectors draw relevant knowledge for innovation from a broad variety of knowledge sources which may be distributed across many locations from local to global levels (Smith, 2002; Tödtling et al., 2006; Cooke et al., 2007). Firms, universities and other actors are said to engage in various forms of knowledge interactions and networks (Graf, 2006; Tödtling et al., 2006; Giuliani 2011). However, the sourcing, integration and application of external knowledge requires good absorptive capacities and internal competencies of firms (Zahra and George, 2002). Key challenges for regional policy actors and companies are therefore to provide good preconditions for knowledge acquisition and transformation, and innovation. These include a highly qualified workforce, excellent universities and research organizations, and well-suited intermediaries and venture capital, among others. A key factor, however, is the access to relevant knowledge both within the region and increasingly beyond. A core argument of this chapter is that the preconditions for and the patterns of knowledge acquisition differ between sectors and regions.
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