Innovation systems and clusters in policy and research

Malin Lindberg

Lindberg raises the question why policy is interested in networks of entrepreneurs? The basic assumption is that well functioning networks results in;

  • Innovation
  • Increased profits
  • Regional development

Meaning that when SME’s joins some kind of network it will strengthen the business and increase growth.

This chain of related concepts and assumptions explains why the EU and states develop policies to support entrepreneurship and different networks of entrepreneurs and why the Quadruple project got funded.


What is a cluster?

Malin Lindberg discussed the concept of clusters and defined it as;

A geographic accumulation of enterprises selling goods and services within the same area who is spurring each other by cooperation and competition and exchanging information and staff.


What is an Innovation system?

Similar to cluster in some ways, but distinguished by that the system involves actors from different spheres and does not have to be connected to a geographical area.

A platform where actors from different spheres of society commonly promotes innovation by converting knowledge into new goods and services.


What is Triple Helix?

Joint efforts from Policy, Academy, Industry – that is public sector, research and the private sector. If adding the Civil Society to the model you get the Quadruple Helix approach.


Innovation policy

National level

  • Enterprises, clusters, innovation systems


Regional Level

  • Counselling, incubators, clusters and ?Innovation systems, needs-driven research


European level

  • Consortia, clusters, innovation systems


Pattern of prioritization

Lindberg finnished off her lecture with a discussion about results from her research. Her Swedish survey of national and regional policy documents regarding public funding of innovation systems and clusters, exposes how in half of the cases the state promotes the group of Basic and Manufacturing Industries. The group of New Technologies is being furthered in a third of the cases. In a fifth of the cases, the group of Service and Experience Industries is being furthered. This means that the groups of Basic and Manufacturing Industries and New Technologies, both primarily employing men as employees and entrepreneurs, has been given high priority within Sweden’s innovations policy while the group of Service and Experience Industries, employing mostly women or both men and women to the same extent, has been given a low priority.


Bridging the gender gap

Recognising this gender gap in public funding one can discuss different measures to change the situation. Lindberg suggests inclusion and bridging as measures and points out that Quadruple does both:



Include sectors employing many women in the support system.

– Quadruple including tourism!



Women dominated + men dominated sectors. That is highlighting innovation systems and clusters that manage to bridge the gap between men dominated, women dominated and gender balanced branches of industry

– Quadruple bridging tourism & ICT!


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