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About this book

This book investigates cluster-life-cycle (CLC) analysis to inform the entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP), in order to support the effectiveness of the smart specialization strategy (S3). It focuses on the evolutionary analysis of clusters’ development stages (emergence, development, maturity, decline/transformation), highlighting how different phases of the CLC have a different role in informing S3-policy-making and identifying regions’ potentials to specialize. In so doing, it offers an original conceptual model that explains what information can be provided by CLC analysis in the effective design and implementation of S3 and EDP, systematizes clusters' stage-specific features, and unveils the role played by each CLC stage. It contributes to the emerging academic debate on the role of the CLC concept in policy-making, by highlighting the importance of CLC analysis in dynamically investigating regional contexts and tailoring development policies such as S3. The book is an invaluable resource for academics and regional policy makers, providing them with guidance and recommendations on how to effectively approach the design and implementation of S3 and EDP, by fully tapping the potential of CLC analysis.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
Cluster and Smart Specialization policies are regarded as core components of successful development strategies within EU regions. These two concepts and the related policy constructs are indeed expected to integrate towards producing smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth to generate innovation and competitive advantages for regions’ economies. This introductory chapter sets the stage for further analysis on how and if the study of the cluster life cycle can support the discovery of local economic potentials towards furthering Smart Specialization policies.
Giuseppe Pronestì

Chapter 2. Cluster and Smart Specialization: Different Approaches to Design Innovation Policy

Abstract
In last decades, the urge to boost economic performances of regions has shed light on the importance of Clusters and Smart Specialization policies as catalyst of innovation and competitiveness. This chapter thoroughly analyzes the evolution in theories and practices related to both Cluster and Smart Specialization policies, and outlines similarities and differences between the two policy constructs. Ultimately, by drawing on the previous analysis, an innovative reflection on the role of Cluster and Smart specialization in shaping the structure of regional economies.
Giuseppe Pronestì

Chapter 3. The Intricate Relationship Between Smart Specialization and Cluster

Abstract
Cluster and Smart Specialization policies are not equivalent, while they could be effectively integrated towards improving economic performances of regions. The idea to couple the two policy constructs is not new, nonetheless the potential of such combination is not fully exploited yet as it requires further academic scrutiny. In light of this reflection the present Chapter analyzes critically the actual synergies between Cluster and Smart Specialization, paving the way for the disclosure of innovative trajectories for the integration between the two policy constructs.
Giuseppe Pronestì

Chapter 4. An Untapped Knowledge Source Towards Implementing Smart Specialization: The Life Cycle of Clusters

Abstract
Much research confirms that the EU experience with cluster and cluster policy can substantively support the arduous implementation of Smart Specialization policies. However, the potential inputs that the study of cluster and cluster policies can provide in the way of Smart Specialization remained somehow under Investigated. This chapter focuses on one promising and innovative approach, to confront the challenges of S3 implementation, which is to investigate regions’ specialization potentials through the cluster-life-cycle (CLC) analysis. The evolutionary analysis of cluster’s development stages sheds light on how different phases of the CLC have a different role to inform S3-policy-making, and support the discovery of regions’ potentials to specialize. In so doing, the chapter offers an unprecedented conceptual model, systematizes clusters’ stage-specific features, and unveils the role played by each CLC stage.
Giuseppe Pronestì

Chapter 5. Conclusions

Abstract
This study presented a theoretical discussion on whether the core toolkit provided by the experience with clusters and cluster policies could potentially guide the discovery of regional economic potentials, and consequently the implementation of S3. Although a significant body of scientific literature confirms that EU experience with clusters and cluster policies is a crucial element towards the implementation of S3, nonetheless many operational gaps keep standing out. One of the most problematic factors pertains to the process of recognition of entrepreneurial and economic knowledge in the way of discovering new specialization domains. The EDP is indeed widely acknowledged for being the most crucial and challenging element of S3. Consistently the author of the present work intended to test whether analysis of the life cycle of clusters could eventually guide the discovery of regional economic potentials, and consequently the effective design and implementation of S3. This problem is approached theoretically and discussed on the base of literature evidence.
Giuseppe Pronestì
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