Regional innovation strategies as processes of knowledge combination: The case of the Creative Science Park in Aveiro

Authors: Lisa Nieth*, University of Twente, Paul Benneworth, University of Twente
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Regional Geography, Economic Geography
Keywords: regional development, path development & path switching, regional coalitions & cooperation, stakeholder, regional transformation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Marriott Ballroom Salon 1, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Despite a constant call for the creation of regional development and innovation strategies, the processes by which these strategies are designed and implemented remains understudied. To date, theorisation has been primarily preoccupied with describing the qualities of good strategies and setting out ideal type processes by which good strategies can be developed. At the same time, these normative approaches downplay the role of agency and ignore how the composition of strategic partnerships may affect the operation of strategy processes. This paper thus considers how groups of heterogeneous stakeholders build and implement strategies that contribute to the innovation capacity of their respective regions. We aim to understand the dynamic processes by which path switching activities are achieved, explaining that complications emerge when stakeholders regress in their dynamics instead of progressing and transforming. We then identify four phases partners go through when improving the scope of their joint coordinated action (from mobilization, articulation, programming to realization) and look at an issue termed by Sotarauta (2016) as the ‘black hole of strategy formulation’, in that regional partners can easily identify long-term goals and take the first short-term steps towards those goals, but face rather significant difficulties in consolidating those short-term steps into a wider locus of regional change. The paper provides a thorough case study on the strategy process of the stakeholder coalition around the Creative Science Park in Aveiro (Portugal), focusing on a regional innovation coalition that experienced a consistent degree of hindrance in the realisation of its goals.

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