A Fourth Movements in Entrepreneurship Book
Edited by Daniel Hjorth and Chris Steyaert
Chapter 3: Fostering a Regional Innovation System – Looking into the Power of Policy-making
Caroline Wigren and Leif Melin INTRODUCTION In this chapter, entrepreneurship is viewed as a societal phenomenon, focusing on the way an entrepreneurial region sought to mobilize and create a regional innovation system as deﬁned by the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA). Regional entrepreneurship studies emphasize several issues. These include the way entrepreneurship is aﬀected by the regional environment in which it occurs (cf. Reynolds, Story and Westhead, 1994), industrial districts as such (cf. Piore and Sable, 1984; Wigren, 2003) and entrepreneurial processes in local communities (cf. Steyaert and Katz, 2004; Johannisson and Wigren, 2006). The process of creating a regional innovation system is deﬁned here as a collective entrepreneurial activity occurring in a regional context. The entrepreneurial activities studied are embedded in a political context, namely a national innovation policy competition. The case is theoretically analysed from Clegg’s (1989) perspective on power, which is further described below. Two alternative models for developing regional innovation systems – the competitive and the collaborative models – are presented at the end of this chapter. The focus in innovation research thus far has mainly been on the competitive model. The political and the academic debates are both concerned with innovation systems (IS), on the national level (national innovation systems, NIS) and on the regional level (regional innovation systems, RIS). In economic policy-making, innovation systems are regarded as a tool for creating and increasing economic growth. Innovation systems have also become established in academic research as a theoretical area and as an empirical...
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