“Soft innovation? Towards new narratives on regional capabilities and policies”
The overall aim of the project is to investigate how the inclusion of soft innovation in theoretical, empirical and policy work at the regional level can help creating new narratives on regional capabilities. By ‘soft innovation’ one understands all forms of innovation that are not purely technological or functional. The starting point of the project is the acknowledgement that when it comes to regional capabilities and regional resilience the dominant narrative tends to center around technological capabilities and assume an underlying R&D-driven model of economic growth. Yet, there is increasing awareness that other forms of capabilities and that sectors where formal R&D is not the main source of innovation might also act as drivers of regional resilience.
Theoretically, the project aims at making space for soft innovation capabilities in models of regional resilience by investigating how existing frameworks can be adapted and/or overturned. Empirically, the project aims at developing original metrics of regional capabilities using trademarks and design rights, and linking them to indicators of regional resilience. Finally, the project aims at translating the results from theory and empirics into insights for policymakers to embrace new narratives on regional capabilities.
I am very honored to be awarded one of the MeRSA grants. The award will allow me to showcase my research to the lively RSA community, with a tremendous potential to have both academic and policy impact. I am excited by the opportunity to engage in research that can contribute to widen our perspective on which regional capabilities and innovation types matter for places to thrive.