What is evolutionary about 'regional systems of innovation'? Implications for regional policy


The literature on Regional Systems of Innovation (RSI) has produced an extensive body of research in recent years and has been used widely as a framework for the design and implementation of policies in a variety of regional contexts. However, certain lack of clarity remains in relation to the defining elements and the dynamics of RSI, which make it difficult to operationalize and to articulate properly the concept for policy purposes. This lack of clarity is motivated by the fact that the concept of RSI is influenced by a number of theories and approaches, in particular institutional, systemic and evolutionary approaches to innovation and learning. As a result of this mix of influences, the concept of RSI derives different and even conflicting theoretical assumptions and policy rationales. The paper advocates a more coherent evolutionary articulation of regional systems and a better understanding of the complexity surrounding policy processes.

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