Chapter 8: Institutional context and innovation
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This chapter explores the interrelations between institutions, defined as stabilized interaction patterns, and innovation, since successful innovation rests on the design of institutional contexts and since inconsistent institutional contexts constrain or even impede successful innovation. Such situations require processes of adjusting innovations to the institutional context (robust design), circumventing resistant institutional contexts (peripheral dominance), or creating new institutional contexts that fit the innovation process (institutional entrepreneurship). The chapter criticizes studies that focus on formal legislation and regulation as indicators of national institutional variety, while neglecting institutional practices and how these also differ at the sub-national level. From a relational perspective, supportive innovation policies need to respond to geographically and temporally varying institutional contexts even within a single legal and regulatory regime. It is argued that policy needs to understand the interrelationships between institutional practices and innovation, rather than viewing rules and regulations as determinants of innovation outcomes.

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