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 42: Regional Innovation Policy and Dramaturgy

Philip Cooke


Philip Cooke INTRODUCTION Very few regional innovation agencies have either informal or informal methodologies aimed at getting innovators to cross-pollinate their specific knowledge (for those that do, see Chapter 23 on transversality in this Handbook). There are very few Venn diagrams showing overlapping intercluster horizontal knowledge dynamics. But there are some that practice such transversality and a few others that understand it and aspire to evolve appropriate methods to take advantage of cross-sectoral knowledge dynamics and open up the ‘white spaces’ as they are sometimes referred to, or what Burt (1992) refers to as ‘structural holes’, where innovation opportunities are at their most tempting and potentially abundant. This fits well with Schumpeter’s (1975) concept of innovation as recombinations of knowledge. In Andersen’s Chapter 2 in this Handbook on Schumpeter’s regional innovation theory, it is made clear that Schumpeter radically separated the role of innovator and entrepreneur. The innovator recombines knowledge from ideas and knowledge that already exist, while the entrepreneur separately undertakes the innovation, deploying commercial skills. Under the circumstances to be described, the regional innovation agency takes on more of an ‘innovator’ role and even edges into a more entrepreneurial role, especially where fees are charged for innovation services. Accordingly, catalytic innovation, which is what this model implies on the part of the innovation agency, is far more than mere ‘support’ or such equivalent supply-side roles as to promote, encourage, assist or partner firms in their quest for innovation. Supply-side economics was the neoliberal mantra, adopted by regional, national,...

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