Conceptual Framework

The broad approach of National Systems of Innovation (Freeman, 1987; Lundvall, 1992) is the main analytical perspective to be used in this project. It focuses on the role of innovation and learning as central determinants for dynamic competitiveness.  It emphasizes the interactive character of production and innovation, the importance of incremental and radical, technical and organisational innovations, as well as their different and simultaneous sources. Firms are seen as organization embedded within specific socio-economic–political environments that reflect particular historical and cultural trajectories.

Among the main advantages of this approach, we point that it deals with the complexity of different cases; and that it targets groups of different agents (firms of different sizes and performing various types of activities, informal activities, as well as other organizations dealing with education, training, R&D, promotion, financing, etc.) and connected activities that usually characterize any production and innovation structure. Therefore, it surpasses the restrictions of traditional focus on economic sectors, chains or individual organizations both as analytical and intervention units. By establishing a bridge between the territory and economic activities, it covers economic, social and political contexts, as well as the cognitive environments where the main processes of learning, capacity building and innovation takes place and where tacit knowledge flows. 

This conceptual and theoretical perspective will be used to foster the capacity building and contribute to the knowledge-base on two key aspects that still lack sizeable research efforts and further discussions: 

a) advancing the analytical bridges between innovation system approach and inclusive development perspective.
b) developing new methodological frameworks that allow a better understanding and promotion of social-inclusive innovation systems.