Battles for innovations in cradles (or ruins?) of industry: a comparative perspective

12/06/2014 to 13/06/2014
PASCAL workshop on Cities learning together - Public administration as a domain for smart solutions
This study analyzes two different geographical settings in a comparative perspective where (higher) education institutions have had important in modernization of industrial manufactures. Both cases, cities of Tampere and Alcoy, are historically important centers of textile industry that has evidenced a down turn of the brick and pipe industry and aiming to be new kind of innovation hub of their respective areas. A historical analysis, based on secondary data, is presented as means to understand the recent resilience and evolution of both regions, in terms of their capacity for facing societal challenges in different periods such as the growth of inequalities, the creation on new related industries, globalization process and the financial crisis, just to mention a few. An emphasis is placed on the complex relationships among geographical, institutional and individual dynamics that enables commissioning of heterogeneous innovation processes for resilience (Pike, 2010). The variety of cooperation and competition linkages identified through qualitative interviewing (Marshall and Rossman, 1999) among local actors in different periods allows us to show practical guidelines with the objective of not to invent the future of the university without being sure we have learned for the successes and failures already took place in the past.
The tentative research questions are the following three ones:
• What is and has been the motivation of the main HEIs to interact with stakeholders (industry & local government)?
• How have actors’ linkages evolved in favour of resilience?
• Can modern concepts/models (as ‘Triple Helix’, ‘Clusters’ or ‘Third Mission’) help to understand the resilience processes of a given territory?
By answering these questions we will critically asses the roles of industry, HEI’s and local governments in the process of structural change and what is the meaning of industrial history and its institutions for knowledge intensive future. We ask if the new economy growing as a result and continuum of industrial past (cradle) or despite the historical development (ruins).
Francisco Javier Ortega-Colomer, Elias Pekkola