Building and Operating a System to Promote Regional Competitive Industries Through Cross-Sectoral Collaborations: Findings From the Experience in Germany

Building and Operating a System to Promote Regional Competitive Industries Through Cross-Sectoral Collaborations: Findings From the Experience in Germany

Yuki Kawabata (Chukyo University, Nagoya, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/IJSSOE.2019010103

Abstract

Initiated by regional governments, economic associations, etc., many regions are trying to promote competitive industries through cross-sectoral collaboration. The purpose of this study is to consider management approaches to build and operate a regional system for facilitating a self-organizing process of cross-sectoral collaborations. First, related literatures are reviewed. Then, the concept of constructing regional advantage is introduced. Then, a platform policy through building a Regional Innovation System based on the Triple-Helix model is examined. In the case study, the experiences of three states in Germany are examined by focusing on the medical technology industry. In these states, to promote regional industries, regional systems to facilitate cross-sectoral collaborations are structured. The main focus is how the systems were built and operated through the involvement of regional stakeholders. Last, the results of the case study are comparatively analyzed and the implications for the management are discussed.
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Why Regions?

Region is conceptually regarded under the level of country but above the local or municipal level (Cooke and Leydesdorff, 2006, p.6). Today, region is increasingly recognized as a key component for economic development (Pessoa, 2013, p.101; Kitson et al., 2004, p.991), a locus for process and patterns of innovation, and competitiveness in the globalization (Fiore, et al., 2011, p.1400). This is because regions, as is stated by European Commission (1995), “the best level for contacting enterprises and providing them with the necessary support for the external skills they need (resources in terms of manpower, technology, management, and finance). It is also the basic level at which there is natural solidarity and where relations are easily forged (p.45)”. In this trend, Cooke et al. (2006, p.29) also indicates region is strategically important for constructing its advantage, however at the same time, since regional innovation systems are open, socially constructed and linked to global, national and other regional systems of innovation, it is necessary to employ multi-level approach to innovation and governance.

Concerning competitive advantage of regions, Cellini and Soci (2002) show regional competitiveness is more than the potential ability to export or trade surplus and “include different economic elements, demographic and social aspects (p.90)” and says the concept is complex and elusive. It is also indicated that there is no unanimous agreement concerning the definition and the framework to consider regional competitiveness (Borsekova et al., 2012). On the other hand, Pessoa (2013) proposes to recognize regional competitive advantage in the dynamics in “i) sales of local products in contested external markets, ii) use of local assets (people and other endogenous resources) in an efficient way, iii) adding value to its firms and workers which means to maintain or increase employment (p.107)”. Moreover, with reference to Porter (1998)’s argument about clusters, Pessoa (2013) concludes the improvement of continual innovation capability through productive use of inputs is essential for regional competitive advantage. Therefore, here the fundamental question is “how can the innovation capability be improved in a regional context (p.108)”.

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