Cohesion, Results-Orientation and Smart Specialisation
Chapter 5: Innovation, regions and the case for regional innovation policies
We have already seen in previous chapters that Europe’s regions are highly heterogeneous in terms of their characteristics and also they are very heterogeneous in terms of the complex and varied development challenges they face. In terms of the policy logic and policy architecture, this also implies that the challenges facing the design and redesign of EU Cohesion Policy needs to be both sufficiently flexible to respond to these different local challenges, while at the same time, maintaining a coherent overall logic and discipline to the design and the delivery of the policy in all of the regions of Europe. One of the central themes in today’s debates regarding development policy, and one which has emerged both from a wide variety of different academic fields as well as the wide-ranging experience of national and international development agencies, is the issue of innovation. It is nowadays widely accepted that economic growth and development depend critically on promoting and enhancing innovation and entrepreneurship at all levels and stages of development and across all areas of the economy and society. The literature on innovation systems (Iammarino and McCann 2013) argues that the processes driving innovation will be different in different contexts (Iammarino and McCann 2006), and that there is no single blueprint or template for promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. Innovation-promoting policies must therefore be adaptable to different contexts, and in particular must dovetail with, and aim to enhance, the capabilities and capacity of the local people, actors and institutions.
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