The Dynamics of Innovation and Knowledge-Based Regional Development
Sammanfattning: Geographical regions as diverse as Silicon Valley, California and Linköping, Sweden have been the sources of new technology and endogenously created innovations. Scholars and policymakers recognise that specific regions or clusters of businesses have the capability to engage in more innovative activities and new business formation and to experience higher employment growth than others. This dissertation uses qualitative methods to study various aspects of regional development and innovation. It is based on five papers by the author and colleagues with levels of analysis ranging from regional to firms’ first sales in order to capture the dynamics of both the top and bottom levels of regional development. It then uses these papers’ empirical material to address the research questions of (a) how a new scientific knowledge base becomes established and exploited in a spatial context, and (b) how people create and diffuse innovations in a social and spatial context. This dissertation’s main findings are that (a) regional leadership involving the building of alliances with triple-helix actors is crucial for initiating a knowledge-based regional development process, (b) a consensus space is a catalytic mechanism for ensuring the speed and effectiveness of regional development, (c) lowering the barriers for the actors involved boosts participation and the rate of innovation, and (d) users’ perspectives are essential for social, institutional and commercial innovation. This dissertation’s main implications are that knowledge-based regional development’s initial stages require leadership that (a) builds alliances and establish an arena for the triple-helix actors, (b) analyses the regional barriers to the commercialisation of knowledge, and (c) utilises both endogenous and exogenous resources.
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