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Anchoring the innovation impacts of public procurement to place: The role of conversations


  • Elvira Uyarra
  • Kieron Flanagan
  • Edurne Magro
  • Jon Mikel Zabala-Iturriagagoitia


Public procurement is frequently touted as a means of promoting innovation at the sub-national level, but the underlying mechanisms through which this is supposed to work are seldom articulated. In particular, while the relevance of social interaction for innovation is offered as a key rationale for the use of public procurement for innovation, there is little discussion of its corresponding spatial dimensions. This paper contributes to this debate by advancing our understanding of the spatial aspects of public procurement for innovation and thus of the scope for using public procurement to achieve regional innovation policy goals. We connect the public procurement for innovation literature with the literatures on innovation-driven regional development around the notion of ‘conversations’ to capture the spatial and social aspects of interactions relevant for public procurement for innovation. Different forms of spatial anchoring of procurement are explored, presenting different challenges and opportunities for regions. We provide illustrative examples for each type, from which suggestions are derived for promoting place-based ‘innovation-friendly’ procurement.

Suggested Citation

  • Elvira Uyarra & Kieron Flanagan & Edurne Magro & Jon Mikel Zabala-Iturriagagoitia, 2017. "Anchoring the innovation impacts of public procurement to place: The role of conversations," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 35(5), pages 828-848, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:envirc:v:35:y:2017:i:5:p:828-848

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