From a Nascent to a Mature Regional Innovation System: What Drives the Transition?

  • Marina Ranga
  • Serdal Temel
Part of the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies book series (STAIS)


While regional innovation systems (RIS) saw a relative development in many European countries in recent years due to decentralisation policies, they are at an early stage in Turkey, a unitary state with a strong centralised system rooted in the administrative structures of the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish region of Izmir was the first in the country to elaborate its own Regional Innovation Strategy in 2012 and achieved considerable improvements in its R&D and innovation capacity, based on the strategy’s recommendations. What are the key factors driving the transition from a nascent to a mature RIS, and how can the transition be further enhanced? This paper aims to answer these questions by examining the Izmir RIS from the fine-grained perspective of the Triple Helix Systems concept, which sees regional innovation as the result of the interplay between a Knowledge Space, an Innovation Space and a Consensus Space. The spaces co-evolve in a multitude of ways and directions as a non-linear process and provide a detailed view of regional actors, knowledge flows and interactions between them, and the resources available, in view of identifying existing blockages or gaps and formulating policy recommendations. The picture provided by the Triple Helix Spaces is complemented, for a more comprehensive approach, with insights drawn from three other RIS typologies based on integration into internal and external environments, regional barriers to innovation, and regional development stage. We conclude that the key factor driving these improvements was the presence of high-impact national and regional R&D, innovation and entrepreneurship policies that have been implemented in a relatively well-defined Triple Helix System. Izmir’s Triple Helix System features a more advanced Knowledge Space with a comprehensive, high-density institutional structure and a solid knowledge base, a younger but fast developing Innovation Space, with an increasing number of technology transfer offices, technoparks and innovation-support institutions, and a thinner, yet active Consensus Space promoting regional networking and collaborative leadership. For a successful transition to a mature RIS, policy and practice in the next stages need to focus on reducing fragmentation and strengthening the systemic linkages between the three Spaces.


Regional entrepreneurial system Triple helix Regional innovation strategy Emerging economy Turkey 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Commission, Joint Research CentreSevilleSpain
  2. 2.Ege University Science and Technology Centre and Department of Innovation and EntrepreneurshipIzmirTurkey

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