Social innovation and Smart Specialisation: Challenges and Opportunities for Atlantic Regions

Carla Nogueira, Hugo Pinto, Fábio Sampaio

Abstract


Social innovation is a concept that has been widely used, both in academic and political discourse, and implies the development and implementation of new ideas to meet explicit or latent social needs using shared and co-produced knowledge. It is a phenomenon whose analysis has increased considerably in the last decade but, nevertheless, some conceptual overlaps and fragmentations still persist. This is a cross-cutting trend in innovation studies. This highlight the need to develop a more multilevel approach to innovation. Smart specialisation strategies are an example of this type of multilevel approach and require the identification of strategic domains that anchor the economic and social development of the regions. This development must also meet the specific needs of each territory. This article starts from the analysis of five Atlantic regions to understand how the social innovation dimension is present in the strategies of smart specialization. The results suggest that while there is an effort to integrate social innovation as a strategic priority, innovation trends are still largely based on the development of high technology.

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