Regional Development

The spatial industrial organisation of innovation


Presentation by Pieter de Bruijn
Department for Spatial and Regional Economic Policy
Ministry of Economic Affairs, Netherlands

This paper contributes to the understanding of spatial determinants of innovation, notably on the intersection between collective learning processes and network linkages within and across regional innovation systems. Spatial dimensions of innovations are assessed from the individual firm’s perspective, drawing on spatial interpretations of theoretical contributions within industrial organization, notably dynamic transaction cots theory and the competence- (or resource-) based view of the firm. On the basis of micro-level data, drawn from the second Community Innovation Survey, a number of hypotheses is tested on Dutch firms engaged in collaborative innovation processes. Conclusions concern, firstly, a positive connection between the distance between collaborating firms and transaction costs. Secondly, in explorative learning strategies, firms attach high importance to extra-regional and international linkages. In explorative learning stages, firms have to tap from a variety of sources which are often not readily available within the regional environment. However, when firms, active in explorative search strategies, are situated in a regional environment that offers access to the set of complementary competences needed to successfully accomplish the innovation process, these firms derive competitive advantage from the regional network environment. The outcomes presented underline the rationale behind spatial innovation policies in the context of the regional innovation system framework, in the sense that spatial dimensions matter in collaborative partnerships in innovation trajectories.


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