Social capital as critical success factor for innovation development processes in industrialised regions, case study RIS-Silesia in the Silesia Voivodship (Poland)
Pace and success of transformation of traditional national economies into competitive network-based economies in a global environment in such countries like Poland - countries currently facing intensive economic reconversion - is mainly depending on the role and capacities of regional economic centres in initiating and developing pro-innovative processes. These economic centres, among which the Slaskie Voivodeship, are often characterised by long tradition in heavy, labour- and raw materials intensive industries such as the mining, metallurgic and chemical sector. The Slaskie Voivodeship is placed among the leading regions of Poland as for its social and economic potential. It is characterised by a high number of inhabitants (4.8m. people) living on a relatively small area (3.9% of Poland), resulting in a high population density (3.2 times more than the country’s average). In 2000, the Slaskie Voivodeship was placed second in Poland (behind the Mazowieckie Voivodeship) as concerns its economic potential measured in Gross Domestic Product . The Slaskie Voivodeship is currently playing a pilot role in Poland in developing networks and systems around a regional innovation strategy. More than 150 organisations (R&D institutes, institutes of higher education, SMEs, large companies, local governments, NGO’s) are involved in this process. The paper will – based on the case study of the Slaskie Voivodeship - include problem areas and solutions concerning development of pro-innovative co-operation networks and will discuss the issue of trust between organisations as critical factor in innovation strategy building and implementation processes. The document will also present a methodology related to intellectual capital, among which social capital, as key-condition in the above-mentioned process.
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