Chapter 15: Networking in the experience economy: scaffolded networks between designed and emerging regional development
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The experience economy is a new setting for local and regional development and planning that may prove more sensitive to local conditions and hedonistic perspectives than previous approaches (Lorentzen, 2012). Enterprises and other local actors can participate in the experience economy in a diverse and lifestyle-inspired way using niche strategies of innovation (Fuglsang et al., 2011), for example, within the fields of local food, sea kayaking or cultural heritage. Yet, there are barriers preventing local enterprises from participating in innovative activities. In particular, experience-based enterprises are often small and have limited resources. In adopting a practice-based approach we argue that successful networking in experience sectors and tourism is dependent on ‘scaffolding structures’ (Orlikowski, 2006), that is, external resources and guidance that help actors create a focus and move beyond their immediate practice and reach a wider goal. The concept of experience is such a focus that can be created through scaffolding. In this chapter we seek to understand what this means by identifying three scaffolding structures: mobilizing actors, focusing attention and creating infrastructure and activities. The main contribution is to show how scaffolding structures and interactions can be important for successful network formation and innovation.

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