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Edited by Philip Cooke, Bjørn Asheim, Ron Boschma, Ron Martin, Dafna Schwartz and Franz Tödtling
Franz Tödtling and Michaela Trippl INTRODUCTION There is widespread agreement in the academic literature that knowledge, learning and innovation are key factors for the competitiveness of firms and the development of regional and national economies. Until the 1990s the linear model of innovation was dominant both in science and policy circles, emphasizing public and private research and development (R&D), often located in large agglomerations, leading to new products and processes and subsequent technology diffusion to peripheral regions and lower levels of the city hierarchy (see Chapter 5 by Tichy in this Handbook). The regional innovation system (RIS) approach (Cooke et al., 2000, 2004) has provided an alternative view of the innovation process and related policies. It draws attention to the firms, clusters, knowledge organizations and institutions of a region, as well as to the innovation interdependencies within the region and beyond. The RIS concept builds on the interactive innovation model (Kline and Rosenberg, 1986), as well as on other schools of interactive innovation such as the milieu concept (Camagni, 1991) and the studies on knowledge interdependencies in high-tech regions (Saxenian, 1994; Keeble and Wilkinson, 2000). The RIS concept relies on the broader systems of innovation approach (see Edquist, 2005) which conceptualizes innovation as an evolutionary, non-linear and interactive process. Intensive communication and collaboration between different actors is said to be required, both among companies as well as between firms and other organizations such as universities, innovation centres, educational institutions, financing institutions, standard-setting bodies, industry associations and government agencies....
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