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CIRCLE, Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy, Lund University Papers in Innovation Studies, CIRCLE, Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy, Lund University

No 2015/47:
External “energy” for regional industrial change: attraction and absorption of non-local knowledge for new path development

Michaela Trippl (), Markus Grillitsch () and Arne Isaksen ()

Abstract: The role of exogenous sources of new path development has been underplayed in the literature on regional industrial change so far. The aim of this paper is to explore in a conceptual way under which conditions and in what ways non-local knowledge can lead to new path development in different regional innovation systems (RIS). We distinguish between organizationally thick and diversified, thick and specialized and thin RIS and argue that these types vary markedly in their needs for exogenous sources as well as in their capacities to attract and absorb knowledge generated elsewhere. Organisationally thick and diversified RIS have a lower need for exogenous sources but they exhibit strong capacities to attract and absorb non-local knowledge. In contrast, organisationally thick and specialised RIS and organisationally thin RIS have a higher need for exogenous sources but show a lower capacity to attract and absorb knowledge from elsewhere. However, a closer look reveals that these RIS types can increase their attractiveness for non-local knowledge and may benefit from its inflow if they strengthen their absorption capacity. We conclude that new regional industrial path development is less endogenous in nature than commonly thought, and that the attraction and absorption of non-local knowledge should be more included in conceptualisations of new path development.

Keywords: new path development; regional industrial change; non-local knowledge; regional innovation systems; degree of organizational thickness; specialization; diversity; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: O10; O19; O30; R10; (follow links to similar papers)

18 pages, December 21, 2015

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