GEOINNO2020 reflections by Maria Salomaa, University of Lincoln
The GEOINNO conference provided an impressive cross-section of the contemporary discussion in the field of innovation research. Being a first timer, I was particularly impressed by the diversity of theoretical approaches, and it was fascinating to hear international case studies from different countries. Many papers focused on regional innovation policies and the current challenges faced in their implementation, which brought new insights to my own research. One particularly germane issue here for me in this regard was the complexity of evaluating the impact of European policies on a regional level.
Many papers dealt with the complexities thrown up by the recent policy paradigm of smart specialisation. Anna Dąbrowska, presented a case study from Poland, “Moving Towards innovation – the Europeanization of Regional Policy in Poland,” with an original theoretical approach to assessing the development of regional policies. Elisa Thomas presented a compelling case of large-scale national policy incentives in Finland, which made me reflect upon the power relations of Structural Funds programmes targeted to urban areas instead of lagging regions.
Finally, an interesting paper by Markus Steen et al. entitled “Policy mixes for regional green growth” highlighted through a case of Norwegian salmon fish farming how policies remain incapable of addressing multiple challenges related to green growth simultaneously.