The empirical analysis on factors that impact on level of innovation and the development of a regional innovation system
The aim of this research is to contribute to a greater understanding of the factors that are conducive and inhibitive to the innovation activity and the development of a regional innovation system (RIS) in a peripheral region such as the BMW region in Ireland. Previous studies have largely concentrated on urban areas. A broad definition of an innovation system is the planned and systemic cooperation in a region that is essential to the development of relationships conducive to the generation and diffusion of knowledge and innovation. Regions are seen as important bases of economic coordination at the meso-level: ‘the region is increasingly the level at which innovation is produced through regional networks of innovators, local clusters and the cross-fertilising effects of research institutions’ (Lundvall and Borras 1997:39) Many peripheral areas often have too few firms in the same industrial sector or local production system to constitute a regional cluster, and then an important condition for local networking and interactive learning is missing. Empirically the study is based on a postal survey which was presented to 96 firms with 45 firms responding (response rate of 47%). From the forty five responses received, eleven companies were excluded (two had ceased to operate, two had incomplete information and seven carried out no innovation or R&D), providing a 36% response rate. In order to further enhance the results obtained the most innovative and least innovative firm were chosen to undergo a further in-depth study (mentioned in more detail in section 2) The combination of the two data-sets enables methodical triangulation which further enhances the results obtained and helps to ‘maximise the validity of field efforts
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