One size fits all? Towards a differentiated policy approach with respect to regional innovation systems.

Franz Tödtling, Michaela Trippl

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper


The knowledge economy, learning and innovation have moved to the foreground both in regional and industrial policies in the past decade. Concrete policies were shaped in the past by the linear innovation model (focus on R&D and technology diffusion), and more recently, by "best practice models" of interactive innovation derived from high tech- and well performing regions. These were often applied in a similar way across many types of regions. In this paper an attempt was made to show that there is no "ideal model" for innovation policy. Empirical investigations demonstrate that preconditions for innovation, innovation activities and processes, as well networks differ strongly between central, peripheral and old industrial regions. The RIS approach allows to take such differences into account by analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the various subsystems, clusters and the interdependencies within the respective region and beyond. In the present paper we are going to analyse different types of regional innovation systems with respect to their preconditions for innovation, networking and innovation barriers. Based on this classification different policy options and strategies are developed and discussed. Besides high performing regional innovation systems with well developed and dynamic clusters we will deal with situations which are characterised by low levels of clustering, a weak endowment with relevant institutions, fragmentation and "lock in". We argue that policy approaches will differ - amongst other dimensions - with respect to the weight given to the stimulation of incremental/radical innovations, the orientation on endogenous/exogenous companies and knowledge sources, and the fostering of internal/external networking. (author's abstract)
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherInstitut für Wirtschaftsgeographie, Abt. Stadt- und Regionalentwicklung, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Publication series

NameSRE - Discussion Papers

WU Working Paper Series

  • SRE - Discussion Papers

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