Towards a hybrid conceptualization of innovation geographies: knowledge sourcing of hidden champions in Germany

Traditionally, the debate about the relation between innovation and space in economic geography has put a strong emphasis on geographical proximity and territorial models of innovation. Thereby, geographical proximity is not only considered a facilitating element but often regarded as a pre-condition for successful innovation. Only in the past years, this position has been criticized for over-emphasizing the relevance of agglomeration and structural preconditions for knowledge sourcing.

The contribution calls for a more balanced view on five major dichotomies relevant for the conceptualization of innovation geographies: core/periphery; interactive/non-interactive; structure/agency; open/ secluded; proximity/distance. In current conceptualizations there is usually a bias towards the first element of these dichotomies. Informed by a literature review on ‘peripheral innovation’ the contribution draws on recent results of the research project “Peripheral but Global: World Market Leaders outside of Agglomerations”. Within this project, we study spatial aspects of knowledge sourcing in innovation processes of Hidden Champions in ‘central’ and ‘peripheral’ locations in Germany in a comparative approach.

Discussant: Markus Perkmann

PLACES: Session 1