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Cristina Chaminade, Claudia De Fuentes, Gouya Harirchi and Monica Plechero

The chapter discusses the spatial aspects of the increased globalization of innovation, analysing both the region’s role in influencing the propensity of actors to engage and to play different roles in global innovation networks (GINs). Until now, different concepts such as global value chain (GVC), global production network (GPN) and GIN have been used to explain the increase globalization of innovation activities. The authors provide a critical overview of these concepts. The involvement of new actors (not just multinationals) from different locations (not just from developed economies) reveal the limitations of frameworks such as GVC and GPN in explaining the structure and dynamics of global networks. The chapter highlights how the concept of GIN, when properly addressed, can lead to a better understanding of the micro and meso dynamics of the new phenomena that arise from the globalization of innovation activities.

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Jannika Mattes

This chapter is concerned with the way multinational companies (MNCs) organize the internal and external geographical setup of their innovation projects. The core thesis of this chapter is that innovation is socially embedded, which is why the activities involved cannot take place anywhere. An empirical example shows that neither internal nor external geographical constellations are stable and uniform within the whole MNC. Instead, by differentiating between projects and functional arenas, the selective and dynamic aspects of the geographical setup of corporate innovation are being displayed. Indeed, MNCs have to deal with an inherent spatial tension: on the one hand, they are active in multiple countries and consequently disperse their activities; on the other hand, the need to control and coordinate makes concentrated settings attractive. This refers particularly to strategically important and complex tasks such as innovation projects. At the same time, corporate innovation does not occur independently of the external environment. For this external embeddedness spatial characteristics again play an important role. It is therefore worthwhile to look at innovation projects of MNCs combining their internal and external dimensions.

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Roberta Comunian, Alessandra Faggian and Sarah Jewell

Over the last few decades there has been considerable research on knowledge economies. Within this broad field, research on the value of digital technologies and creative industries have attracted academics and policy makers because of the complexity of their development, supply chains and models of production. In particular, many have recognized the difficulty in capturing the role that digital technologies and innovation play within the creative industries. Digital technologies are embedded in the production and market structures of creative industries and are also partially distinct and discernible from them. They also seem to play a key role in innovation relating to access and delivery of creative content. The chapter explores the role played by digital technologies, focusing on a key aspect of their development and implementation: human capital. Using student micro data collected by the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA) in the United Kingdom, the authors investigate the location determinants and other characteristics of graduates who enter the creative industries, specifically comparing graduates in the creative arts and graduates from digital technology subjects. They highlight patterns of geographical specialization, but also how some contexts seem better able to integrate creativity and innovation into the workforce. The chapter deals specifically with understanding whether these skills are equally embedded across the creative industries or are concentrated in specific sub-sectors. Furthermore, it explores the role that creative graduates play in each sub-sector, their financial rewards and the geographical determinants of employment outcomes.

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Neil Lee

Innovation and creativity are seen as important drivers of urban or regional economic growth. Yet, there is now increasing concern about the consequences of innovation in a city or region. The chapter considers these issues and the potential impact of innovation on inequality. It first considers the link between innovation, creativity and inequality within cities and regions and the evidence on the extent to which the benefits of innovation-led growth are evenly shared. Next, it considers the current academic and policy agendas around creativity and the challenges faced in cities pursuing strategies based on creativity. It argues that while the consequences of innovation may be difficult, the consequences of too little innovation may be worse: this is a classic case of the dilemma between equity versus efficiency.

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Edited by Richard Shearmu, Christophe Carrincazeaux and David Doloreux

The geography of innovation is changing. First, it is increasingly understood that innovative firms and organizations exhibit a wide variety of strategies, each being differently attuned to diverse geographic contexts. Second, and concomitantly, the idea that cities, clusters and physical proximity are essential for innovation is evolving under the weight of new theorizing and empirical evidence. In this Handbook we gather 28 chapters by scholars with widely differing views on what constitutes the geography of innovation. The aim of the Handbook is to break with the many ideas and concepts that emerged during the course of the 1980s and 1990s, and to fully take into account the new reality of the internet, mobile communication technologies, personal mobility and globalization. This does not entail the rejection of well-established and supported ideas, but instead allows for a series of new ideas and authors to enter the arena and provoke debate.
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Franz Tödtling and Michaela Trippl

The chapter provides a review and discussion of recent conceptual and empirical contributions on the nature and geography of firms’ knowledge acquisition activities. The authors offer a systematic conceptual view of the pattern of knowledge sourcing, bringing into focus and combining the notions of industrial knowledge bases (sectoral contexts), which are supposed to vary considerably with respect to the transferability of their key knowledge types, and regional innovation systems (regional contexts), which are supposed to differ substantially in terms of the availability of knowledge sources. The empirical part of the chapter draws on cases from Austria, Finland, Germany and Sweden and provides an analysis and comparison of knowledge-sourcing activities in analytical, synthetic and symbolic industrial sectors in metropolitan, specialized industrial and peripheral regional contexts.

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David A. Wolfe

The processes of globalization that have unfolded at an accelerating pace in recent decades have raised important questions about the value of proximity in a digital economy. Yet, innovation and creativity overwhelmingly occur in the geographic context of city-regions, which are consequently critical sites for determining economic performance. Thus, many aspects of the trend towards globalization make cities more, not less, important as principal sites for innovation, creativity and the production of knowledge intensive goods and services.This chapter surveys some of the evidence on the virtues of economic specialization versus diversity for urban economic growth; the emergence of a global hierarchy of cities around the world with ever more differentiated economic roles; the relative importance of greater concentrations of highly skilled and creative workers as attractors for firms and industries; and the relationship between creative occupations and creative industries as drivers of urban economic growth.

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Arne Isaksen and James Karlsen

The chapter discusses typical features of innovation activity in peripheral regions; regions located outside daily commuting distance from large cities.  Such regions exhibit different place-specific conditions to those found in dynamic core regions, which cause peripherally located firms to innovate in certain ways. Many peripheral regions are characterized by organizationally thin regional innovation systems and bonding social capital. These are features that stimulate incremental innovations based on experience-based knowledge, which is typical of the Doing-Using-Interacting (DUI) innovation mode. Characteristics such as many DUI innovations, little local knowledge flow, low related variety of knowledge and technology and high levels of bonding social capital may result in peripheral regions becoming trapped in path extension: firms and industries strengthen their existing activity through incremental innovation, while the development of new activities through radical innovations is difficult to achieve. Firms in peripheral regions, in particular, need to source extra-regional knowledge in order to achieve more radical innovation activity. Reliance on extra-regional knowledge sources also points to the fact that external investments and policy initiatives are especially important for industrial development in peripheral regions. Firms in peripheral regions, however, need to develop organizational learning strategies in order to be able to exploit external knowledge from distant sources in their internal innovation processes.

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Emmanouil Tranos

This chapter proposes a new framework on how the Internet can affect economic growth. Most of current and past research explaining the above relationship from a geographical standpoint focused on the hardware of the Internet. The latter was used as a proxy of the level of digitisation which could result to productivity effects. This chapter proposes the idea that if productivity related effects was the pathway through which the Internet generated economic effects in its early stages, online social networking performs such a role nowadays. The extensive popularity of Online Social Networks has positively affected social capital and most specifically bridging ties between dislocated actors. Traditionally, the ability of bridging ties to carry diverse knowledge has been praised by the innovation literature. This chapter proposes that Online Social Networks, which represent one of the latest rounds of ICT developments, have the capacity to positively affect innovation by enhancing the digital facet of social capital.