Papers in Innovation Studies, CIRCLE, Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy, Lund University
The Role of Local Universities in Improving Traditional SMEs Innovative Performances: The Veneto Region Case
Abstract: This paper applies a regional system perspective to
explore how universities can sustain and improve the innovative performance
and competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) belonging to
traditional sectors that still strongly characterizes European countries
such as Italy.
In the Veneto Region, where the empirical analysis has
been conducted, collaboration between local universities and traditional
SMEs does exist, and these relations are mainly built around activities of
process and product innovation of incremental nature aimed at improving
firms’ performance. However, this paper shows that in this specific
Regional Innovation System (RIS) the potential of local universities have
for enhancing the absorptive capacity of SMEs is not fully developed. The
contacts between industry and university are mainly scattered in a series
of individual and isolated initiatives.
Consequently, in a RIS
perspective, the results in terms of benefits for the territory are less
than what they could potentially be, and there is room for pushing the role
of universities further on the path towards becoming territorial developing
factories (Lazzeroni, Piccaluga, 2003).
Structures of intermediation
like Innovation Brokering Agencies, which have widened their activities in
the territory in these last years, can represent the leverage to direct the
potential of the universities towards local firms’ needs and make the
Veneto RIS evolve
Keywords: Regional Innovation Systems; SMEs; local universities; Innovation Brokering Agencies (IBAs); (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: O30; (follow links to similar papers)
22 pages, November 1, 2009
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