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Eye to eye with the innovation paradox: Why smart specialization is no simple solution to policy design

: Kroll, Henning


European planning studies 27 (2019), No.5, pp.932-951
ISSN: 0965-4313
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISI ()
smart specialization; policy; governance; implementation; priority

This paper revisits common, yet often untested assumptions on factors hampering the implementation – or even clear articulation – of regional innovation strategies. Based on a dedicated framework drawing on political science literature, it reflects on whether there are merit and promise in future higher-level attempts to promote a more strategic take on regional innovation policy. It investigates which relevant factors in local politics, policy and administrative facilitate or prevent the definition of clear priorities for action. Drawing on a Europe wide survey of stakeholders managing strategic processes, it finds that while a number of obstacles need to be overcome, these are regionally specific rather than attributable to restrictive national cultures. Furthermore, it demonstrates how stakeholder involvement bears different challenges at different levels.