From Concept to Policy: Building Regional Innovation Systems in Follower Regions
In the spirit of “The Lisbon strategy”, public policies are redirecting support from investment-driven policies to knowledge building as the main driver for competitiveness and innovation. This re-orientation poses different challenges to regions and RIS concept may be the central element, simultaneously goal and toolbox, for devising innovation promotion policies. The RIS framework stresses the need to combine a systemic and inclusive view of innovation along with territorially embedded specificities. In this paper we explore how to operationalize the concept of RIS in terms of innovation policy, arguing against a “one size fits all” approach. Concentrating our analysis on follower regions, we bridge the concept of RIS with the structural deficiencies and challenges posing to this kind of regions, for which innovation policy should seek an adequate combination between science push and demand pull perspectives. We also address the importance of taking advantage of the catching-up status, building upon R&D cost-advantages and clustering around external initiatives as well as the correction of important constraints to the construction of a RIS.
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