(1) The greening of regional innovation policy
(2) Innovation and innovation systems in services - public and private
(3) Action research, work organization and regional innovation policy
(4) Nordic regional innovation policy in a comparative perspective
(5) The role of universities in regional innovation policy
(6) Natural resource based regional innovation policy
(7) Path development and change in non-core regions
(8) The role of networks and governance in regional innovation policy
(9) Heterogeneity of regions, modes of innovation and differentiated knowledge bases: How to approach a broad based regional innovation policy?
(10) General Track
Participants who wanted to present their work at the conference had to submit a 250-word abstract and up to 5 keywords before July 21st, 2014.
Decision for abstract acceptance is August 18th, 2014. Authors of accepted abstracts should register before September 2nd, 2014 to be included in the program, and submit full papers by September 23nd, 2014.
Participants at the seminar may be asked to act as discussants. We aim to invite a selection of papers given at the seminar for publication in a special issue of an international peer-reviewed journal.
TRACK 1: The greening of regional innovation policy
Convenors: Lars Coenen (email@example.com) & Bernhard Truffer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Governments on all levels across the globe are developing plans, such as a New Green Deal, to curb a combined eco-nomic and environmental crisis. The Rio+20 Earth Summit in 2012 also emphasized the need to green the economy in light of sustainable development, especially due to climate change concerns and resource depletion. The development and diffusion of eco-innovation is seen as indispensable to solve or at least abate an environmental/energy crisis. Achieving sustainability is however not just a matter of creating technical fixes. A common challenge for many eco-innovations is the lack of internalization of environmental benefits in existing markets and regulatory frameworks. Moreover, many eco-innovations are still immature and characterized by high levels of technological, market and insti-tutional uncertainty. Therefore innovation processes need not only to be examined in a systemic context, they are often part of wider co-evolutionary processes of transformative change in institutions, industrial structures and mar-kets, often referred to as sustainability transitions (Markard, Raven and Truffer, 2012).
Until now, most regional innovation policy has been primarily geared to socio-economic objectives for regional devel-opment (economic growth, employment creation) while considerably less attention has been given to environmental dimensions (Truffer and Coenen, 2012). At the same time, observes note an increasing number of initiatives of cities and regions positioning themselves as sustainability pioneers, often running ahead of national ambitions to mitigate environmental challenges (e.g. the C40 coalition of global majors). Among others, these initiatives aim at imple-menting integrated programs for low-carbon infrastructures, encompassing a broad range of new technologies such as energy-efficient housing, renewable energies, the efficient use of water, and green public transport policies as well as various kinds of ‘social innovations’. In response to aforementioned uncertainties, governance of such initiatives stress notions of experimentation and living laboratories (Bulkeley and Castan Broto, 2013). To move beyond ‘little victories’ (Haughton and Morgan, 2008) an important challenge to these urban and regional experiments is to create an impact beyond their immediate domain and to ‘scale-up’ to wider transitions in systems of production and consumption.
This session aims to explore the opportunities, challenges and practices whether and how to ‘green’ regional innova-tion policies. It invites for theoretical and empirical contributions that engage with the question how to re-think re-gional innovation policies in light of environmental sustainability concerns and the systemic transitions these concerns imply. In particular, analyses of past and on-going policy and governance initiatives are welcomed. Specific themes and topics to be addressed are, among others:
- Climate/energy policy and innovation policy: friend or foe?
- The effectiveness and performance of green regional innovation systems and policy
- The role of existing and new theoretical rationales for greening regional innovation policy
- Greening regional innovation policy, legitimacy and institutional contexts
- Policy-mix and the coordination of regional innovation policy with related policy domains (environmental, ener-gy, social)
- The role of institutional entrepreneurship in greening regional innovation policy
TRACK 2: Innovation and innovation systems in services - public and private
Convenors: Lars Fuglsang (email@example.com) & Katja Hydle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The service sector is a large societal sector, which is crucial for economic development as well as for development of social welfare and wellbeing. There has been a growing interest in studying how innovation can take place in services and how the processes that support service innovation can be organized. New research approaches have been developed that take account of the special characteristics of service innovations as being, in many cases, intangible, ad hoc, concealed in the relation with the client, practice-based and retrospectively recognized (Gallouj and Weinstein 1997; Toivonen and Tuominen 2009; Fuglsang 2010; Fuglsang and Sørensen 2011; Skålén et al 2014). Research shows that service innovations may tend to happen ‘under the radar’, in incremental ways, intertwined with experience and practice, through client-orientation, and, in part, in unobserved or hidden ways. Also, service innovation is seldom organized around R&D activities. Following this, we need more knowledge about the varied processes that help pay attention to, support and systematize innovation in services. In the research literature on innovation systems that explores how support structures for innovation may be organized, it has been argued that historical, industrial specific and contextual understandings of innovation systems are needed (Asheim and Coenen, 2005; Cooke and Morgan, 1998; Miettinen, 2002; Sørensen, 2007). It has also been suggested that varied regions and sectors need different types of support structures (Asheim et al., 2007) depending on their var-ied needs for different types of knowledge.
The literature on innovation systems in services is sparse, but innovation systems in services appear in some ways to be different from those more formalized structures identified in other sectors. Alternative approaches to innovation systems in services have suggested that they consist of loosely coupled activities (Sundbo and Gallouj, 2000), or that they are problem-based, systems (Tether and Metcalfe, 2004) emerging from practical problem solving around a particular challenge acting as a focal devise. Innovation systems in services may tend to be more client sensitive, cross-sectorial, problem-based and less coupled with R&D institutions. An alternative framework for analysing service systems has been developed in the service-dominant (S-D) logic, stressing the interaction and value co-creation with customers, yet this literature is only vaguely related to the innovation literature. Research also shows that innovation and innovation systems in public services pose special problems of government, governance and public value. However, while we begin to understand various modes of innovation in services, we have only little knowledge of innovation systems in services.
The aim of the track is to investigate characteristics of service innovation and innovation systems in services – in the public and the private sector. Practice- and process-based views on service innovation and innovation systems in ser-vices are welcomed that can throw light on the processes and intertwined support structures that lead to the for-mation of service innovation. Case studies in such sectors as tourism, welfare services and public sector services are welcome but other types of empirical focus as well as conceptual papers are also encouraged.
TRACK 3: Action research, work organization and regional innovation policy
Convenors: James Karlsen (email@example.com), Miren Larrea (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Øyvind Pålshaugen (email@example.com)
There is a widespread acknowledgement that regional innovation policy is a complex issue. Consequently there is a wide range of literature by a large group of researchers studying it from perspectives as varied as work place develop-ment, innovation, competitiveness, governance, leadership, social capital, clusters, networks, policy learning, the third role of the university or territorial development.
One of the strongest conclusions that emerged in the 2013 RIP Conference was that it is important to approach all these not only from the perspective of policies, which often means focusing on the technicalities of and the output from policy institutions. It is important to approach all these issues from the perspective of politics, considering how social structures influence institutions and why institutions behave as they do under different conditions of legitimacy and of resource availability. This challenges social researchers working in the regional innovation policy field to revisit their methodological approaches in order to see the feasibility of integrating these dimensions in regional innovation policy research.
In this track we propose discussing action research and other research methods that connect practice and research (action and reflection) as one possible path to face this and other challenges of regional innovation policy. Despite arguments within the literature that innovation is an interactive social process and critiques of the linear model of in-novation and Mode 1 knowledge creation processes, many researchers continue to see themselves as outsiders to such processes. They analyse the field from the outside, agreeing that there is a theoretical understanding on what should be done, but a lack of knowledge about how to do it. As a consequence, the literature obscures the complexity and dilemmas that actors face in such processes. There is a lack of studies that show how and why actors become pur-posive, motivated and enabled to promote change in the processes they participate in.
We are looking for researchers that have experience from work place development and territorial development pro-cesses and are reflecting and writing about it. We want to invite them to share these experiences in the conference. Both papers addressing one or several of the issues mentioned above or papers addressing methodological issues are much welcome.
TRACK 4: Nordic Regional Innovation Policy in a Comparative Perspective
Convenor: Jerker Moodysson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Nordic countries have received much attention from social scientists interested in innovation systems and policy during the last couple of decades. The Nordic welfare state model(s) and equity-based societal institutions combined with these countries’ relatively strong performance with regard to innovation and economic growth is widely recog-nized.
Despite some similarities in the general construction of society and culture, this performance has historically been achieved through quite different innovation policies and strategies. In simplified terms, Finland and Sweden have mainly pursued science-driven and technology-oriented strategies focusing on radical product innovations, process innovations and complex product improvements. Denmark and Norway, by contrast, have implemented user-driven and resource-based strategies characterized by mostly non-R&D innovations. These different strategies largely reflect the composition of industrial strongholds in respective country.
In recent years, however, the Nordic countries seem to converge on a number of innovation policy dimensions. Nor-way has increasingly highlighted the need for combining science-based and user-driven innovation strategies, while Sweden and Finland have called for more broad-based innovation policy in which the science-push rationale is com-bined with a user-driven approach. Also in terms of governance of innovation policy the Nordic countries display similarities; a top-down/centralized construction combined with explicitly encouraging bottom-up initiatives. The underlying rationale behind this multi-level governance approach is to address system-failures and context-specific challenges and opportunities in a more sensitive and precise way than traditional innovation policy has been able to. Concrete examples are various policy programs supporting centres of excellence and strong regional research and innovation milieus which have been on the agenda of both TEKES, VINNOVA and the Norwegian Research Council the past ten-fifteen years.
This track aims at exploring the main characteristics of regional innovation policy strategies in the Nordic countries. Emphasis will be on new regional policy measures, their coordination, capabilities and evaluation. While main focus is on the Nordic countries, studies from other parts of the world which can contribute comparative perspectives are also welcomed. The intention is that the track should include active participation from researchers as well as policy practitioners.
TRACK 5: The role of universities in regional innovation policy
Universities contribute to local innovation processes in a variety of ways. In recent years a major focus of research has been on technology commercialisation and spin off firms as many universities have made efforts to exploit their intellectual property through patenting and licensing. However, often this is not the most important contribution, and there has been some critique of the emphasis placed on this in policy. In addition to their own discoveries, universities can help to attract new human and financial resources to the region, and can act as conduits of knowledge from outside the region, translating it to local conditions. Businesses often argue that the university’s most important contribution is their first mission: education and training. Yet another and often underestimated role of universities is to serve as a public space for ongoing conversations about the future direction of markets and technologies. Based on these observations we would like to see papers discussing:
- What are the region's expectations to their university, and do the universities have the resources and capacity to meet them?
- Are the strategies of the university aligned with the needs of the region, and does alignment assist in greater regional impact of their engagement?
- What kind of new institutions are developed to support the university's regional role?
- Is the universities' approach to local regional development compatible with the pursuit of excellence in their primary missions of education and research?
- What kind of resources do firms need in order to interact with universities and exploit public research?
- How are universities engaging with a new generation of regional innovation policies such as smart specialisation, and is this changing the forms of engagement used?
TRACK 6: Natural resource based regional innovation policy
Convenors: Frank Asche (email@example.com), Petter Osmundsen (firstname.lastname@example.org) & and Ragnar Tveterås (email@example.com)
Natural resource based sectors - agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, petroleum extraction, etc. – and their value chains are experiencing innovations in many areas. Application of e.g. biotechnology and information & computer technology (ICT) innovations is transforming scale of production activities, capital intensity, labour skills requirements and financing. In food producing sectors we observe a transition from traditional modes of farming towards biological manufacturing. It has also implications for national and regional management of natural resource based sectors, and opportunities for creating employment and value added based on regional competitive advantages. It can be argued that natural resource sector innovation processes have in many cases fundamentally changed the geography of employment and production activities. Furthermore, that proximity to the scarce natural resource is of less importance for localization of a range of production activities.
Still, natural resource based sectors are certainly heterogeneous in terms of the nature of innovation processes and systems, and organization of value chains. Consequently, the challenges facing regional innovation policies – their design as well as their implantation making use of, for example, regional and sectorial innovation systems and/or regional clusters - are very diverse. We invite contributions which address issues in natural resource sector inno-vation processes, with the aim of increasing our understanding of these processes and the implications for regions and regional policies, e.g. in the context of a smart specialization strategy for regional development.
TRACK 7: Path development and change in non-core regions
Convenors: Arne Isaksen (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Michaela Trippl (email@example.com)
The notion of path dependent regional industrial development has attracted considerable attention in economic geography, innovation studies and related fields. It highlights that pre-exisiting industrial and institutional structures constitute the regional environment in which current activities occur and new activities emerge. Current conceptualiza-tions of regional path development and change, however, are largely based on experiences from core regions and fail to provide satisfactory explanations of such processes in non-core areas. Path renewal (branching of existing industries into different but related ones) and new path creation (emergence of entirely new industries) are seen as outcome of dense regional structures and endogenous development processes such as a large number of innovative firms in related industries, the combination of different knowledge bases, a strong endowment with supporting organizations, as well as continuous diversification activities, a vibrant entrepreneurial culture and regional knowledge circulation. Such conditions are clearly lacking in non-core areas like peripheral and old industrial regions. These regions are largely outside major theoretical debates and empirical generalizations of path renewal and new path creation.
We welcome papers that advance our understanding of path development and change in non-core areas by addressing questions such as: Under which conditions can path renewal and new path creation take place in non-core areas? Who are the key agents of change and what are the critical factors that contribute to the sustainment of new paths? What is the relative importance of endogenous versus exogenous sources of path development and change? What are sound policy approaches to stimulate path renewal and new path creation in non-core regions? The track organizers intend to edit a book on industrial development and policy in non-core regions that may include selected papers from this session.
TRACK 8: The role of networks and governance in regional innovation policy
Convenors: Markku Sotarauta (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Ann Karin Tennås Holmen (email@example.com)
Regional innovation policy has grown in prominence and scope during recent years, with demands of action (or the doing, using, interaction (DUI) mode of innovation) and innovation policy based on science and technology. The high expectations to regional innovation policy to handle new and complex problems, coincides with changes in govern-ance structures. The emerging use of vertical or horizontal governance networks together with expansion of regional innovation policy creates a complex picture. Implications of this emerging policy complexity affect actors, institutions (public and private) and the relation between institutions working towards regional innovation.
We welcome papers discussing the role and challenges of networks and governance networks in regional innovation policy. Papers may address issues related to a micro level of actors, institutional level and studies discussing coopera-tion between institutions and the instruments in use towards regional innovation. We are interested in empirical comparative studies or case studies, as well as papers addressing theoretical discussions relating this theme.
TRACK 9: Heterogeneity of regions, modes of innovation and differentiated knowledge bases: How to approach a broad based regional innovation policy?
In this track, the business perspective on knowledge and innovation is taken. This is related to a set of works that com-bine the innovation system literature with the innovation management literature in a scientific knowledge pool that studies the way in which the different business capabilities and innovation modes are formed, selected and applied in market relations as well as in specific regional contexts.
The importance of sourcing from global knowledge pipelines, both scientific and supply-chain based, can be assessed and compared to the relevance of the local scientific and supply chain-based buzz. These different capabilities are considered for innovation promotion in local and/or regional production systems (see for example the work of Fitjar and Rodríguez-Pose, 2013). Additionally, the importance of combining scientific, technological, practice and interac-tion-based drivers for effective innovation can be discussed here as a means to respond to queries left open in former meaningful research projects (Jensen et al., 2007; Aslesen et al., 2011; Chen et al., 2011; Isaksen and Karlsen, 2012; Elola and Parrilli, 2012). For instance, it might query about whether radical and incremental innovations depend on industry or size peculiarities, human capital or cultural specificities, among other factors?
The whole discussion opens a set of crucial research questions that combine the topic of business innovation with the relevance and impact of the territory in which it is embedded. This might lead to query about: i) which is the influence of the territory on firms’ innovation?; ii) how much agglomerations matter for firm innovation, incl. radical and incre-mental innovation?; iii) should business innovation be analysed from a territorial perspective: pros, cons and context; iv) who is winning within a territory: innovation and appropriability; v) how the region/cluster moderate firms’ inter-relationships.
This debate leads to identify regional patterns and/or cultural specificities that need to be taken into account for an effective innovation policy, i.e. an innovation policy that goes beyond the ‘one-size-fits-all’ traditional approach (Tödtling and Trippl, 2005). Attention to issues of policy additionality as well as graduality may also be considered and discussed in this track (Georghiou, 2002; Nauwelaers and Wintjes, 2003; Marzucchi, 2013; Alberdi et al., 2014).