From smart specialisation to smart experimentation: Towards a new theoretical framework for EU regional policy
The idea of smart specialisation has gained high prominence in the discourse about EU regional policy. In the coming program period from 2014 to 2020 it is expected to be a major pillar of EU structural funds. The notion of smart specialisation incorporates some basic principles of evolutionary economics and centers on the idea of an entrepreneurial discovery process of new trajectories on the regional level. It does not, however, sufficiently take into account the relevance of individual agents, their actions, and their relations with each other in the identification, creation, development, and destruction of technological and economic trajectories. For this, a focus on micro-level dynamics that provide the base for experimentation is needed. This paper suggests developing smart specialisation into smart experimentation, a concept that is anchored not only in evolutionary economics, but also in relational economic geography.
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