Knowledge Assets and Value Creation: A Territory-Based Perspective

Knowledge Assets and Value Creation: A Territory-Based Perspective

Antonio Lerro (University of Basilicata, Italy) and Giovanni Schiuma (University of Basilicata, Italy & University of Cambridge,UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-071-6.ch016
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The purpose of this chapter is to investigate the relevance of the knowledge assets as strategic resources and sources of territorial value creation dynamics. Firstly, it begins with the notion of value creation at territorial level. It then present a knowledge-based interpretation of territorial strategic resources, using the Knoware Tree as framework to identify and classify territorial knowledge assets as a framework driving the design of potential indicators and metrics to assess territorial knowledge assets.
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It is widely recognized that political, economic and socio-cultural changes have recently determined a new attention towards the regional and territorial phenomena. Accordingly, scientists and policy-makers are debating on the meanings and the content of the territorial development1.

Within this debate, attempting to get over the frameworks of the economic theory and on the base of the conceptual framework developed by Porter in his ‘The Competitive Advantage of Nations’ (1990), the notion of competitiveness has emerged as key-topic to analyse and understand the regional and more generally territorial development, till to almost axiomatically identify development with competitiveness (Budd & Hirmis, 2004).

On the basis of the first definition and conceptual points provided by Porter, different scholars have animated a wide debate around the topic, most of them sharing the porterian approach (Brooksbank & Pickernell, 1999; Department of Trade and Industry, 1998; Dunning et al., 1998; European Commission, 1999; Gudgin, 1996; Healey & Baker, 1999; OECD, 1996).

Despite the growing interest and the different contributions, it is possible to note that most of the debate interprets competitiveness prevalently in terms of creation of economic value. However, this vision is limiting and should be enriched and integrated according to a wider interpretation of the dimensions of the territorial development. In particular, it is recognized that the creation of economic value represents an important component of the territorial development but, nowadays, it is no more able to explain stand alone the dynamics of the development. Since in a global economy territorial systems are increasingly facing with a set of economic, social, political relationships at multiple scales kept together by complex ‘cause-effect’ dynamics, a new interpretation of territorial development has been called for (Lerro, 2007).

This new interpretation suggests that territorial development is determined not only according to an economic dimension, but considering also a socio-cultural dimension and an environmental dimension. Whether a territorial system effectively manage these three dimensions, it is possible to state that it creates value for its key-stakeholders.

In fact, it is increasingly highlighted - both within academic and policy debate - that a territorial system as a whole creates value if guarantees a better quality of life for all its citizens and stakeholders, in terms of satisfying their wants, needs and expectations. It implies the integration of the economic, social, and environmental dimensions, and requires that economic growth supports cultural and social progress and respects the environment, that social policy underpins economic performance and that environmental policy is cost-effective.

Specifically, the creation of economic value means that a territorial system is competitive and produce wealth to consolidate lasting, sustainable development paths both locally and at national and international level. Moreover, creating economic value means not only the capacity to produce wealth, but also the capacity to distribute the wealth created ensuring a real widespread well-being in the territorial system. The creation of socio-cultural value means that a region not only is able to produce wealth, but it is also able to create a stimulating “atmosphere” in which it is possible to share positive values and behaviors, tolerance and openness, good social relationships, attention to the cognitive growth of the citizens. The creation of environmental value means that the issues about environment are effectively implemented in a shared and coherent strategy aimed to enhance territorial sustainable development paths.

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