Chapter 26: Geography of innovation, proximity and beyond
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This chapter argues that new approaches to the geographical dimension of innovation and its role in localized systems are necessary today, because existing ones either suffer from analytical shortcomings or have failed to take into account changes in the conception of innovation and in the organization of contemporary societies. The first section is devoted to the cluster-oriented approach, which highlights the systemic nature of innovation processes – seen as less and less technology-based – thereby moving closer towards a definition of industrial ecosystems. Then, we discuss the coordination-based approach, highlighting shortcomings in the analysis of the concepts of proximity and their coordination-related dimension. Finally, we discuss the need for a broader conception of innovation, and the necessity to look beyond its technological dimension by considering new forms and new sources of innovation, linked to social and organizational issues as well as environmental questions and the relation with local populations’ desire to express themselves.

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