The Elgar Companion to Innovation and Knowledge Creation
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The Elgar Companion to Innovation and Knowledge Creation

Edited by Harald Bathelt, Patrick Cohendet, Sebastian Henn and Laurent Simon

This unique Companion provides a comprehensive overview and critical evaluation of existing conceptualizations and new developments in innovation research. It draws on multiple perspectives of innovation, knowledge and creativity from economics, geography, history, management, political science and sociology. The Companion brings together leading scholars to reflect upon innovation as a concept (Part I), innovation and institutions (Part II), innovation and creativity (Part III), innovation, networking and communities (Part IV), innovation in permanent spatial settings (Part V), innovation in temporary, virtual and open settings (Part VI), innovation, entrepreneurship and market making (Part VII), and the governance and management of innovation (Part VIII).
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Chapter 26: Geography of innovation, proximity and beyond

Alain Rallet and André Torre

Abstract

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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