Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography

July 15, 2015

# 15.23 Institutions and the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process for Smart Specialization

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Callum Wilkie


Smart specialization approaches to regional innovation policies have attracted, and in all likelihood will continue to attract, considerable attention. With this attention has come significant interest in one of the approach’s defining features: the ‘entrepreneurial discovery process’ (EDP). While this interest has yielded substantial progress in the development of a comprehensive collective understanding of the EDP, several important, even vital, aspects of the EDP remain ‘under-‘ or even ‘unaddressed’. This essay aims to fill what we consider to be two prominent gaps in the aforementioned collective understanding by, first, identifying the actors who are responsible for the EDP, investigating their respective roles, and exploring how they should be engaged, and, second, by dissecting the relationship between the EDP and the institutional context within which it occurs recognizing that institutions can exercise tremendous influence on the effectiveness and outcomes of the EDP. Four prominent conclusions emerge from this exercise – each of which is made explicit in the final section of the paper – that will hopefully contribute to the more effective implementation and execution of the EDP across diverse socioeconomic and institutional contexts.


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