Title: Regional innovation systems: origin of the species

Authors: Philip Cooke

Addresses: Centre for Advanced Studies, Cardiff University, 44-45 Park Place, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3BB, UK

Abstract: This paper concerns the brief history of the Regional Innovation Systems (RIS) concept. It shows that the success of the concept in academic and policy circles is because, unlike most regional economic policy instruments, it is flexible and eschews |one-size-fits-all| type thinking by analysing and advocating different instruments according to the characteristics of the region. There are three sources of influence upon the concept. The first one is general systems theory, especially as it evolved in the late 1960s as the systems planning perspective. Second, the innovation systems approach was influenced by an emergent regional innovation policy and practice literature in the 1980s. Finally, it drew on ideas of |network regions| which themselves have origins in industrial district theory, milieu research, and finally, innovation systems studies. The whole has made for one of the fastest growing research literatures in innovation studies generally. At the policy level, RIS strategies have in recent years been adopted by countries such as South Korea, China, Norway and Sweden.

Keywords: region innovation systems; RIS; networks; clusters; industrial districts; network regions; systems theory; regional innovation policy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTLID.2008.019980

International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 2008 Vol.1 No.3, pp.393 - 409

Published online: 19 Aug 2008 *

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