INDUSTRIAL DISTRICTS AS LOCAL SYSTEMS OF INNOVATION
This essay examines the situation and the lines of development of industrial districts from the point of view of local systems of innovation. First of all, this article points out to the modernity factors of the district model – which are ascribable to the supply chain economy, to entrepreneurial dynamics and to the importance of geography as a competitive resource – through the analysis of recent contributions of economic literature that examined the emerging organizational models in knowledge economy. Secondly, the outcomes of recent research on leading companies of Italian industrial districts will be presented, looking at three particularly topics of ongoing changes: the process of international opening of the value chain, the technological conditions of competitive advantage, the relationship between strategies and economic performance. Finally, some considerations on the issue of policies will be developed. Such considerations underline the need to re-think the traditional models of local governance of development and suggest to look at the new external district economies, based on service economies, on much more considerable investments in training, technological and cultural activities and, finally, on more aware institutional actions with reference to the association of companies in innovation projects.
Industrial districts, Innovation Systems, Entrepreneurship, Global Value Chain
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