The different actors of a regional (innovation)ecosystem - an explorative analysis

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Lehrstuhl für Innovation, Strategie und Organisation
Bachelor; Master


Regional innovation ecosystems try to leverage specific potentials of the respective region by focusing on a regionally anchored value proposition. Previous research on innovation ecosystems is almost exclusively based on studies in core regions with outstanding universities, world-leading technology groups, excellent IT infrastructure and a large talent pool. Peripheral regions, on the other hand, are often characterized by infrastructure deficits, lack of technology leaders, fragile network structures and/or situations of "lock-in" by dominant (but obsolete) industries. Regional innovation ecosystems are increasingly in the focus of scholarly attention due to their importance for structural development. Especially in regions that are economically underdeveloped, more research is warranted to fully understand and emphasize their innovation potential.

The thesis is written within the framework of a structural change initiative (WIR! - Change through Innovation within the Region) financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The initiative focuses on the creation of regional innovation ecosystems as a tool for structural change in peripheral regions.

The value propositions of the WIR! ecosystems are so complex that they cannot be delivered by individual actors but require a joint effort. The object of this thesis is therefore the organizational structure of the ecosystems, with special attention to the outlined roles, their alignment with the mutual value proposition and possible structural weaknesses (bottlenecks). The following questions will be focussed: How are relevant key players within and outside the region identified? What distortions in terms of selection effects can be observed? How are new, possibly innovation-inexperienced actors integrated? To what extent are actors from science, business and society represented? Which links between the actors are stronger, which are weaker?

Keywords: innovation ecosystems, actors, diversity, heterogeneity, structural change, peripheral regions