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The role of Regional Innovation Systems in a Globalising Economy: Comparing Knowledge Bases and Institutional Frameworks

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The role of Regional Innovation Systems in a Globalising Economy: Comparing Knowledge Bases and Institutional Frameworks of Nordic Clusters. Bj ørn T. Asheim & Lars Coenen Based on and financed by project ‘Nordic SMEs and Regional Innovation Systems’ (Nordic Innovation Centre). CIRCLE.

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The role of Regional Innovation Systems in a Globalising Economy: Comparing Knowledge Bases and Institutional Frameworks of Nordic Clusters

Bjørn T. Asheim & Lars Coenen

Based on and financed by project ‘Nordic SMEs and Regional Innovation Systems’

(Nordic Innovation Centre)

  • Centre for Innovation, Research and Competence in the Learning Economy
  • New centre of excellence in innovation system research at Lund University
  • One of four centres in Sweden
  • Uppsala, Chalmers and KTH
Outline of the presentation
  • Project ‘Nordic SMEs and Regional Innovation Systems’
    • aim / case studies / final report
    • findings / policy recommendations
  • Comparing Knowledge Bases and Institutional Frameworks of Nordic Clusters
Project aim:

To investigate the existence of similarities and differences vis-à-vis competitiveness and innovativeness between clusters of Nordic SMEs in different regions and sectors and to compare the extent to which regional factors underlie the success/failure of clusters in comparison to industry/sector specific factors

Structure of final report
  • Introduction
  • Conceptual clarification
  • Summary of case studies
  • Comparative case analysis
  • Policy recommendations
  • Downloaded from my home page at Lund University
Comparative analysis:
  • SMEs, innovations and innovation systems: a broad perspective
  • Across-the-board innovativeness in high, medium and low tech SMEs as a basis for competitiveness
  • Multi-scalar SME-innovation systems linkages in the light of spatially distributed knowledge reservoirs
  • Geographical differentiation based on industrial knowledge base
Comparative analysis:
  • SMEs, clusters and cluster life-cycles
  • Horizontal vs. Vertical collaboration in innovation
  • Relationships between SMEs and large firms
  • Cluster life cycles and the need for different policy approaches
Comparative analysis:
  • Social capital and trust: cornerstones for regional collaboration in innovation
  • Understanding innovation as interactive learning implies that cooperation is necessary for the competitiveness of SMEs
  • Social capital is defined as features of social organisation that facilitate action and cooperation for mutual benefit such as networks, shared norms and values and trust
  • Initiatives in social networking arrangements
  • seem to work well in a Nordic cluster context
Comparative analysis:
  • SMEs and the regional knowledge infrastructure
  • Research collaboration between SMEs and knowledge infrastructure is not a cure-all
  • University spin-offs is a typical high-tech phenomenon. Managerial skills are often lacking
  • Regional supply of skilled labor most important general innovation support that universities can provide SMEs
Knowledge based versus learning economies: What’s the difference?
  • Most strategic resource  knowledge
  • Most fundamental activity  learning
  • But:
  • Learning economy: innovation across-the-board
  • Knowledge based economy: focus on high-tech
science base vs knowledge base
Science base vs knowledge base
  • Important to distinguish between:
    • Science base
    • Knowledge base

And between:

    • R&D intensive industries (OECD view)
    • Knowledge intensive activities
distributed knowledge base
Distributed knowledge base
  • Transition from an internal knowledge base of a firms to a distributed knowledge base of firms where the whole value system of a firm or value chain of a product must be taken into consideration when the knowledge intensity of a product is determined
  • More and more highly complicated combinations of different knowledge types codified (embodied and disembodied), artisan and experience based, tacit knowledge
distributed knowledge base14
Distributed knowledge base
  • The knowledge intensity enters as embodied knowledge incorporated into machinery and equipment or as intermediate inputs (components and materials) into production processes of other firms in the value chain/cluster
  • This demonstrates that the relevant knowledge base for many industries is not internal to the industry, but is distributed across a range of technologies, actors and industries, making the OECD ranking of R&D intensive industries less relevant
theoretical perspectives
Theoretical perspectives:
  • Different types of RIS (=systemic linkages and relations between regionally dominant production structures and knowledge infrastructures)
  • Territorially embedded RIS (’grassroots RIS’)
  • Regional networked innovation systems (’network RIS’)
  • Regionalised national innovation systems (’dirigiste RIS’)
knowledge bases clusters and ris
Knowledge bases, clusters and RIS
  • The relevance of different types of RIS must also be placed in a context of the knowledge base of various industries
  • Innovation processes of firms are strongly shaped by their specific knowledge base
  • Distinguish between two types of knowledge base:

a) analytical (science based)

b) synthetic (engineering based)

clusters ris
Clusters - RIS
  • The different knowledge bases of industries have implications for the relations between clusters and RIS as well as for the definition of a cluster
  • Distinction between:

- The existence of ’pure’ regional clusters where relations to RIS are established at a later stage of a cluster’s life cycle in order to support localised learning and innovation in the cluster (auxiliary), and

- The existence of relations between clusters and RIS from the emergence of the cluster as a necessary input in the development of the cluster (integrated)

clusters ris19
Clusters - RIS
  • The traditional constellation of industrial clusters surrounded by innovation supporting organisations in a RIS is normally found in contexts of industries with a synthetic knowledge base
  • The existence of RIS as a necessary part of the development of an emerging cluster will normally be the case of industries based on an analytical knowledge base
Relationship RIS-cluster
  • synthetic knowledge base: tendency for loose coupling, auxiliary configuration
  • analytic knowledge base: tendency for necessary coupling, integral configuration
clusters and localisation economies specialisation
Clusters and localisation economies (specialisation)
  • Sectoral specialised clusters exploit localisation economies
  • Sectoral specialisation can be the result of different industrial development paths
  • In traditional cluster-RIS relations, based on industries with a synthetic knowledge base, the logic behind building RIS is to support and strengthen localised learning of existing industrial specialisations in a region, i.e. to promote historical technological trajectories based on ’sticky’ knowledge in the region
clusters and localisation economies
Clusters and localisation economies
  • In contexts of relations between clusters and RIS as a necessary condition for the emergence and growth of the clusters it is a question of promoting new and emerging economic activity based on industries with an analytical knowlegde base, requiring close and systemic industry-university cooperation and interaction in e.g. science parks, located in proximity of knowledge creating organisations (e.g. (technical) universities
clusters and urbanization economies diversity
Clusters and urbanization economies (diversity)
  • Clusters can also be found in regions exploiting urbanization economies
  • Such regions, constituted by an urban agglomeration, are characterised by a diversified industrial base in contrast to the specialised base of e.g. industrial districts’ type of clusters
  • I.e. Different historical and emerging technological trajectories co-exist
clusters and urbanization economies
Clusters and urbanization economies
  • Within urban agglomerations one can identify the existence of relations between clusters and RIS as a necessary condition for cluster development as well as traditional clusters which established links with the RIS at a later stage in their life cycle. However, one can argue that the diversity of urbanization economies is especially important in the promotion of radical innovations (cities as creative nodes/geography of talent), and, thus, of great significance for industries based on an analytical knowledge base
Varieties of capitalism/varieties of regional innovation systems
  • Useful in comparative analysis of countries, no focus on regions
  • Strong dichotomization
  • Inert and inherited institutional landscape (policy learning)
  • Application in regional context thus far:
  • Entrepreneurial Regional Innovation Systems (ERIS) versus Institutional Regional Innovation Systems (IRIS) (Asheim & Gertler, 2004; Cooke, 2004)
iris cooke 2001 2004 associated with coordinated market economies
IRIS (Cooke 2001/2004)(associated with coordinated market economies)
  • R&D driven
  • User-producer relations
  • Technology focused
  • Incremental innovation
  • Bank borrowing
  • External supply-chain networks
  • Science park
eris new economy innovation system associated with liberal market economies
ERIS/New economy innovation system(associated with liberal market economies)
  • Venture capital driven
  • Serial start-ups
  • Market-focused
  • Incremental and disruptive
  • Initial public offerings
  • Incubators (university – industry relations)
knowledge bases institutional frameworks
Knowledge bases – institutional frameworks
  • Synthetic knowledge base - IRIS
  • Analytical knowledge base - ERIS

): Regional differentiation of innovation policies (US/European blend) at intra- and interregional levels within countries, representing different degrees of efficiency with respect to knowledge exploration, examination and exploitation

): Regionalisation of regional policies (innovation, entrepreneurship and talent are increasingly important) in many countries