Call for papers for a special issue of Growth and Change: A Journal of Urban and Regional Policy – Publication in September 2019
Taking the systems approaches out of their comfort zones: perspectives from under explored contexts
Guest Editors: Jana Schmutzler, Universidad del Norte Rhiannon Pugh, Örebro University Sweden Alexandra Tsvetkova, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Systemic approaches to economic development have increasingly become popular in the spheres of economic geography, regional science, innovation and entrepreneurship studies and strategy. National , Regional and Local Innovation Systems (Cooke, 1998; Lundvall, 2007), Entrepreneurial (Spigel, 2017; Stam, 2015) and Innovation Ecosystems (Adner and Kapoor, 2010) as well as Business (Moore, 1993) and Knowledge Ecosystems are all examples of concepts that have proven popular as both academic and policy frameworks when studying and practicing local and regional economic development. Containing elements of previous concepts such as industrial districts (Marshall, 1920) or clusters (Porter, 1998), learning regions as well as the industrial milieu (Camagni, 1995), the (eco)system perspective is mainly based on the analogy to natural ecosystems (Colombo et al., 2017; Audretsch et al., 2018). As such, it reflects the assumption that economic agents interact among each other and with their environment explaining differential economic output and outcome (Acs et al., 2017).
Whilst efforts have been made to apply and implement systems perspectives in developing and lessfavoured settings (e.g. Tsvetkova et al., 2017; Lundvall et al., 2011; Sheriff and Muffato, 2015; Neymeyer et al., 2018) giving way for less “copy and paste” and more place-based approaches, this work is still in a minority with the focus remaining on exceptionally performing urban economies in the global North, most often with a high-growth or high-tech focus. We therefore posit that these rapidly expanding and popular systemic concepts require more testing and application in a variety of regional and sectoral contexts. In this vein, we call for contributions to a special issue broadening the scope of systemic perspectives, and rigorously testing their applicability and tenability in a wider range of contexts, including but not limited to:
– the Global South,
– rural and peripheral settings,
– non high-tech industrial sectors,
– agrarian and cultural sector,
– under-performing and lagging economies
– informal economies
This special issue will move the discourse on innovation and entrepreneurial (eco)systems past its current limits. We are interested in gaining and sharing more knowledge about local policy and other initiatives aimed at fostering sustainable and balanced growth, promoting local welfare and other desirable outcomes. We, in particular, hope to add context to the existing plentiful quantitative studies within the systems approach to local and regional development. We are interested in contributions that take the (eco)systems approach out of its leading urban region (usually in North America or Europe) heartland, and also provide some industrial or economic contexts outside of the usual suspects of high tech industries such as ICT or biotech. We hope to “democratize” and critique the theory by testing its applicability in a wide range of sectors and geographical locations. We believe there is a strong need within economic geography and entrepreneurship fields to think more about the contextual significance when examining the current trendy concepts and buzzwords, because these are often developed from a narrow range of case studies in the Global North.