Drivers of Regional Innovation Systems

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Cheng, Shaoming
Ganapati, Sukumar
Wang, Jue
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This paper will examine the policy actors and imperatives for regional innovation systems. The emphasis is on regional, rather than national systems, since regions have the competitive advantage in the global economic context of the borderless world (Acs 2002; Cooke et al, 2004; Ohmae, 1999; Sassen, 2006). While regional and local governments need to support innovative firms to be competitive in the global economy, they are not the only drivers of the regional innovation process. We make a comparative analysis of three world regions in order to identify the key policy drivers: Silicon Valley in the U.S.; Shanghai in China; and Bangalore in India. The three regions have emerged as significant technology hubs in the world. Whereas Silicon Valley has been on the forefront of entrepreneurial research and development, Shanghai is becoming a center for technology manufacturing, and Bangalore is a software development center. We make a comparative institutional analysis of the contextual drivers in each context lead to different patterns of regional innovation in these three areas. We argue that there are four key drivers that have led to distinctive patterns: (i) sectoral learning, (ii) infrastructure availability, (iii) social capital, and (iv) the human capital. References: Acs, Z. (2002). Innovation and the growth of cities. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA: E. Elgar. Cooke, P., Heidenreich, M., & Braczyk, H. (2004). Regional innovation systems: The role of governance in a globalized world. New York: Routledge. Ohmae, K. (1999). The borderless world: Power and strategy in the interlinked economy. NewYork: Harper Business. Sassen, S. (2006). Cities in a world economy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.
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