Supporting regional innovation through Clusters - A multiple-case study of five clusters in Innovation Leading + European Regions
Abstract: Nowadays, emerging megatrends foster a fierce competition around the world. Authors are constantly studying the impacts of clustering on regional innovation and in turn economic growth and competitiveness of regions. The main focus of this thesis is firstly to identify why clusters are important for regional innovation performance and secondly to examine how clusters from top innovative regions in Europe, ranked by European Commission (RIS 2017) as Innovation Leaders +, support regional innovation performance in relation to three specific indicators. The indicators are: 1) SMEs introducing product or process innovations, 2) Innovative SMEs collaborating with others and 3) Sales of new to market and new to firm innovations and they were chosen by using as a reference point the case of Västsverige (SE23). The conducted research includes five strong clusters from five top innovative regions in Europe, ranked as Innovation Leaders + by RIS 2017. The regions are: [Stockholm (SE11), Etelä-Suomi (FI1C), Hovedstaden (Copenhagen) (DK01), Stuttgart (DE11) and Zürich (CH04)]. According to the findings of this study, clusters’ importance is mainly derived by their ability to: i) facilitate the efficient collaboration between Industry, Academia and Government (Triple Helix model), ii) provide access to a well-informed and extended network of partners and iii) organize, coordinate, support and provide information regarding interesting for the network projects or programmes. Finally, the clusters’ contribution to the chosen indicators is described by their focus on activities within the following themes. SMEs introducing product or process innovations Providing access to an extended and well-informed network Facilitating an open dialog between Government and SME’s Embracing testbeds Innovative SMEs collaborating with others Organize and promote supportive programmes and projects Utilize regional strengths Collaborate within testbeds’ context Sales of new to market and new to firm innovations Connect SMEs with international network Coaching and training By strengthening and utilizing their competence in the above-mentioned themes, clusters, represented by cluster organizations, can improve their regional innovation performance in relation to the chosen indicators and create value for their regions.
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