Handbook of Regional Innovation and Growth
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Handbook of Regional Innovation and Growth

Edited by Philip Cooke, Bjørn Asheim, Ron Boschma, Ron Martin, Dafna Schwartz and Franz Tödtling

Today, economic growth is widely understood to be conditioned by productivity increases which are, in turn, profoundly affected by innovation. This volume explores these key relationships between innovation and growth, bringing together experts from both fields to compile a unique Handbook.
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Chapter 23: Transversality and Regional Innovation Platforms

Philip Cooke


Philip Cooke INTRODUCTION Two new terms enter this discourse, the first (‘transversality’) being recent as of early 2010, the second (‘platforms’) being extant in the regional innovation context since approximately 2005 (Harmaakorpi and Melkas, 2005; Harmaakorpi, 2006). In that context it was also deployed in the work of an academic commission set up by the European Union (EC, 2006; see also the early conceptualization of ‘constructed advantage’ in Foray and Freeman, 1993) and subsequently in various policy forums. It ties in also to the notion of general-purpose technologies but has a much broader geographical innovation focus than is implied by that (Helpman, 1998). It is important to the project of this Handbook because of three reasons. First, intellectually, transversality and platforms tie together two elements that have been key to regional innovation thinking from the outset, especially that strong variant associated with regional systems of innovation perspectives (Cooke, 1992, 2001). These are the understanding of process and the understanding of policy. They intertwine, but in conventional analysis they are normally separate. Central to their contemporary intertwining is the evolutionary economic geography concept of ‘related variety’ as discussed in the chapters by Iammarino, Boschma and Martin, and others in this Handbook. It will be recalled that the concept takes inspiration from Jane Jacobs rather than authors with a more specialization perspective on the wellsprings of regional innovation and growth. Her argument was the evolutionary one that favoured variety or diversity to be prime in understanding the creation of novelty. In Andersen’s...

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