Innovation policy in city-regions: internationalization strategies as policy instruments
Innovation policy in city-regions: internationalization strategies as policy instruments Keywords: city-region, policy instruments, regional public support system, regional innovation JEL-code: R58 The globalization of the economy has led to increased competition between regions when it comes to innovation and business development. Recent research in southwest Norway shows that companies that have a wide range of international partners are significantly more likely to develop new products and generate radical innovation than companies without these kinds of networks (Fitjar and Rodriguez-Pose 2011: 556). In Norway regional authorities have taken an active role trying to make the conditions favorable for companies competing internationally. A portfolio of policy instruments has been introduced and offered regional companies, still there are both empirically and theoretically gaps in our knowledge regarding how these policy instruments are developed and made use of. Ruud, Smits and Kuhlmann (2004) argue that portfolios are heavily dominated by financial instruments and that there is a need to develop new types of instruments in order to tune them to the needs of actors involved in innovation processes. In line with this argument the main question posed in this paper is: To what degree is policy tools developed and adapted to companies needs in the regional innovation system? This study investigates how regional authorities in Southwest Norway develop policy tools in order to offer regional companies support in the processes of internationalisation. More specific, the study focus at city-regional public support systems and how they combine and coordinate policy instruments according to assumed needs in the regional innovation systems. Recent findings from surveys, interviews and in depth studies of two specific policy instruments will be presented in the paper. The findings contribute to the discussion of regional development policy in several ways. First, the principal discussion on the public role and the strategic development of public support system containing new institutions and instruments. Second, the rational behind developing the policy instruments. Are they based on companiesâ€™ actual needs, or is it based on public strategic priorities? Third, the study contributes with in the discussion on what kind of instruments companies use and how the policy instruments are combined both by the companies themselves but also the public support system.
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