Problematising the "Regional System of Innovation" approach : lessons from a weaker region

Pugh, Rhiannon (2014) Problematising the "Regional System of Innovation" approach : lessons from a weaker region. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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This paper draws together two bodies of literature (regional geography and innovation studies) in order to fundamentally question our conceptualisation of innovation and economic development at the regional level. First, it justifies why the regional level of analysis is useful and appropriate, and then problematises the Regional Innovation System (RIS) both as an analytical framework and a best-practice tool for policymakers. This paper will argue that the RIS approach is no longer suitable for territories such as Wales, which correspond to neither our traditional understandings of a region nor of a nation. It argues that the contested nature of “the region” and the problems in its definition and recognition undermine the validity of the RIS approach. The connotations of the term “region” render it untenable as a tool for policymakers in contested territories. It may seen contradictory to firstly defend and justify a regional approach only to tear it apart and fundamentally question its relevance but the premise of this paper is that the regional approach to understanding innovation and economic development is the best framework we have for improving the fates of the poorest parts of Europe, but in order for policymakers to implement and appreciate the RIS framework some serious strengthening and re-packaging of the concept is required. The academic study of innovation should not be conducted in a vacuum, isolated from the political contexts and sensitivities within which innovation policy is practiced and implemented.

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02 Dec 2014 16:46
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31 Dec 2023 00:03