There is growing interest in how regions diversify into new growth paths and why those differ in their capacity to do so. The European Union has recently implemented a framework program, the smart specialization strategy, meant to forge the capacity of regions to lever on their already existing specializations to diversify into new technological pathways. This framework program has been strongly influenced by the dominant perspective in the literature of evolutionary economic geography that mainly emphasizes the role of technological relatedness and knowledge complexity. However, some scholars express their concern about the capacity of smart specialization strategy to promote radical and breakthrough innovation. Not to mention that very few regional studies discuss exaptation as a form of boundary breakthrough innovation unfolding the technological silent link between two separated technological evolutionary pathways. From this perspective, since exaptation might play a role as a complementary source of smart specialization, our contribution is to explore the impact of technological relatedness and knowledge complexity on the capacity of regions to spawn exaptive opportunities. In so doing, we reveal that, on the one hand, this capacity can be slowed down by a strategically predefined development process focusing on existing technologically related linkages; and on the other hand, extending the knowledge complexity of regional portfolio can positively balance the negative effect of technological relatedness in the long-run.

Spawning exaptive opportunities in European regions : The missing link in the smart specialization framework / I. De Noni, A. Ganzaroli, L. Pilotti. - In: RESEARCH POLICY. - ISSN 0048-7333. - 50:6(2021 Jul), pp. 104265.1-104265.12. [10.1016/j.respol.2021.104265]

Spawning exaptive opportunities in European regions : The missing link in the smart specialization framework

A. Ganzaroli;L. Pilotti
2021

Abstract

There is growing interest in how regions diversify into new growth paths and why those differ in their capacity to do so. The European Union has recently implemented a framework program, the smart specialization strategy, meant to forge the capacity of regions to lever on their already existing specializations to diversify into new technological pathways. This framework program has been strongly influenced by the dominant perspective in the literature of evolutionary economic geography that mainly emphasizes the role of technological relatedness and knowledge complexity. However, some scholars express their concern about the capacity of smart specialization strategy to promote radical and breakthrough innovation. Not to mention that very few regional studies discuss exaptation as a form of boundary breakthrough innovation unfolding the technological silent link between two separated technological evolutionary pathways. From this perspective, since exaptation might play a role as a complementary source of smart specialization, our contribution is to explore the impact of technological relatedness and knowledge complexity on the capacity of regions to spawn exaptive opportunities. In so doing, we reveal that, on the one hand, this capacity can be slowed down by a strategically predefined development process focusing on existing technologically related linkages; and on the other hand, extending the knowledge complexity of regional portfolio can positively balance the negative effect of technological relatedness in the long-run.
exaptation; knowledge complexity; regional innovation; smart specialization; technological relatedness
Settore SECS-P/08 - Economia e Gestione delle Imprese
14-apr-2021
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/842918
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