What about the regional level? Regional configurations of Technological Innovation Systems

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Regional innovation policy must not only strive for economic competitiveness, but also push novel and more sustainable technological solutions. The complex and multi-scalar process of developing and diffusing new technologies is captured by the Technological Innovation Systems (TIS) framework. However, the approach neglects regional heterogeneity and lacks a nuanced and systematic understanding of how technological change plays out differently across places. We thus complement TIS with insights from the literature on Regional Innovation Systems (RIS), which offers manifold comparisons and typologies of institutional contexts for regional innovation. We argue that three ideal-typical configurations – localist-grassroots, interactive-networked, and globalist-dirigiste – exist at the intersection between a technological and specific regional innovation system. We discuss how these regional configurations contribute differently to knowledge creation and market formation within the overall TIS and point to the innovation-related challenges they are confronted with. We illustrate our conceptual arguments with a brief comparative case study on three regions in the TIS for onshore wind energy. Overall, this paper contributes to the literature on the geographies of innovation and sustainability transitions, introduces a framework for analyzing regional heterogeneity in TIS, and enables more fine-grained technology- and place-specific policy interventions at the regional level.




Rohe, S., & Mattes, J. (2022). What about the regional level? Regional configurations of Technological Innovation Systems. Geoforum, 129, 60–73. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2022.01.007

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