Purpose - The global knowledge economy has put the focus on the regional aspects of economic growth. It has also shifted development perspectives from output to input factors as production has become more knowledge-based. Researchers have sought a better understanding of how firms, universities and government institutions deploy their core resources and competencies and interact to accrue economic growth. The "Region's intellectual capital benchmarking system" (RICBS) is a strategic assessment methodology designed to tackle these issues. It also aims to avoid potential lock-ins and other institutional inefficacies that have proven pernicious, especially to developing countries' economic growth and development prospects. Design/methodology/approach - Harvests on national/regional innovation systems theoretical framework and Viedma's methodology to evaluate the microclusters' capacity for competitiveness. Findings - Building a region's innovation capacity demands an integrated and comprehensive framework to understand its underpinnings at all three micro, meso and macro levels. It is just as important to fulfill the requirements for its overall effectiveness - i.e. an in-depth diagnosis of the region's economic, technical and institutional foundations and the key stakeholders committed to a long-term vision, as well as a systematic and critical evaluation of the whole. Practical implications- Provides development agencies with a tool for promoting innovation-based policies and thus a more competitive allocation of resources. Originality/value - Assumes that benchmarking can contribute significantly to grounding the analysis of a region's innovation and competencies building capacity and to allocating resources more effectively within the economy. It also focuses on the potential of an evaluation system to overcome undesirable lock-ins and path-dependencies.
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