Effectiveness of Regional Innovation Actions: Cases from Small, Low-Innovative Regions

  • Elpida Samara
  • Kostas Galanakis
  • Ioannis Bakouros
  • Dimitrios Skalkos


This paper attempts to identify the suitability of centrally and remotely designed innovation-related regional actions, examining the case of regions that started innovative activities from a low development level. Using the case of two Greek regions, the present paper analyses the legacy left to the regional systems by a series of regional innovation programs, whose main priorities were designed centrally without any regional consultation. After a brief presentation of the analysis framework, it discusses the actions of four programs that were implemented in the two cases from 1997 until 2008, namely, the Regional Innovation System (RIS), Regional Innovation Strategy + (RIS+), Innovative Actions, and Innovation Poles. The findings suggest that these programs often provide the means for generating the first steps towards the creation of an Innovation System at regional level; however, because of an economic and knowledge environment that is not matured to support innovation, they create a dependency on publicly funded programs. As a consequence, a vicious circle is created, leading the regional actors to direct most often their applications and actions to the centrally designed priorities, instead of identifying regional needs and priorities and without a systemic view of the industrial and developmental needs of the region. Evidently, this leads to fragmented actions and the inability to sustain those actions after the completion of the programs.


Regional innovation systems Regional innovation strategies Innovation policy 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elpida Samara
    • 1
  • Kostas Galanakis
    • 2
  • Ioannis Bakouros
    • 1
  • Dimitrios Skalkos
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of Western MacedoniaKozaniGreece
  2. 2.Nottingham Busienss SchoolNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK
  3. 3.Management of Innovation in Food Enterprises, Department of Food Science & NutritionUniversity of the AegeanLemnosGreece

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