Innovation and networks in rural areas. An analysis from European innovative projects
Innovation is a central factor for the development of rural areas, both in terms of diversification and increased competitiveness, also related to new structures of governance. The creation, adoption or adaptation of innovations is particularly complex, requiring the right combination of local knowledge (often tacit and implicit) with expert knowledge (often more explicit and formalised), as well as the support of extensive networks. This paper analyses a number of innovation projects in several European rural areas, through the data collected via in-depth interviews. It examines the projects’ contributions and the role played by stake- holders in each stage of the projects. On the one hand, some findings suggest that innovation is particularly common in food production, as well as in the environmental and energy sectors. On the other hand, these projects tend to rely more heavily on large networks, in which the presence of public actors is often critical.
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