Regional innovation systems in an era of grand societal challenges: reorientation versus transformation

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This editorial seeks to contribute to a critical rethinking of the regional innovation system (RIS) framework and to examine what kind of ‘reinvention’ of regional innovation policy is needed in the era of grand societal challenges. The concept of challenge-oriented regional innovation systems (CoRISs) is employed to cast light on how RISs can be reconfigured in response to societal challenges. Based on the articles in this issue, the editorial distinguishes between two routes into which CoRISs could be developed: RIS reorientation strategies versus RIS transformation strategies. The first strategy assumes that at least some place-specific problems that are related to grand societal challenges can be tackled by use of existing assets, actors and institutions in historically grown RISs. RIS transformation strategies go a step further. They emphasize disruption and the strategic creation of new RIS elements. These include the inclusion of new innovative actors and actor groups, the implementations of institutional change, and also the disruption of old network linkages and the establishment of new ones. The editorial also reflects on the uptake of the two strategies in different spatial contexts as regional preconditions and challenges vary, which may demand different strategies and solutions on the regional level.




Isaksen, A., Trippl, M., & Mayer, H. (2022). Regional innovation systems in an era of grand societal challenges: reorientation versus transformation. European Planning Studies. Routledge.

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