Handbook on the Geographies of Innovation
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Handbook on the Geographies of Innovation

Edited by Richard Shearmu, Christophe Carrincazeaux and David Doloreux

The geography of innovation is changing. First, it is increasingly understood that innovative firms and organizations exhibit a wide variety of strategies, each being differently attuned to diverse geographic contexts. Second, and concomitantly, the idea that cities, clusters and physical proximity are essential for innovation is evolving under the weight of new theorizing and empirical evidence. In this Handbook we gather 28 chapters by scholars with widely differing views on what constitutes the geography of innovation. The aim of the Handbook is to break with the many ideas and concepts that emerged during the course of the 1980s and 1990s, and to fully take into account the new reality of the internet, mobile communication technologies, personal mobility and globalization. This does not entail the rejection of well-established and supported ideas, but instead allows for a series of new ideas and authors to enter the arena and provoke debate.
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Chapter 18: Revisiting the role of policy in regional innovation systems

Elvira Uyarra and Kieron Flanagan


An extensive literature exists on regional innovation and knowledge-driven economic development, much of it claiming to be prescriptive. Yet attempts to translate insights from this literature into effective policies have met with mixed success. We identify some shortcomings in how much of this literature conceptualises policy and argue that a richer understanding of how real policy processes play out in the development of real places is a prerequisite for making more realistic and potentially effective prescriptions in the future, with particular emphasis on agency, institutional change, and multi-level, multi-actor dynamics.

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