Existing research suggests that regions can develop their long-term competitive advantage through well-functioning interregional innovation cooperation. In this article, we use the example of innovation in small and medium-sized agri-food enterprises (SMEs) to scrutinise and compare regional innovation approaches on each side of the Dutch-German border and explore how they can converge into a cross-border innovation space. Particular attention is paid to the role of academic institutions and innovation brokers in creating a common innovation space. We explore how differences between two cross-border regions can be harnessed to enhance the impact of innovation, and how this may lead to what we describe as hybridisation effects. In the empirical analysis, we apply the concept of hybridisation to a cross-border innovation space, something that, as far as we are aware, has not been done before. We empirically ground the concepts of a cross-border innovation space and hybridisation and illustrate how relative regional strengths can lead to hybridisation effects. We conclude that differences in economic structures, institutional set-ups, visions and identities inherent in cross-border spaces are not only hindrances, but also opportunities, and we highlight the importance of these complementary strengths and the potential for their strategic use by regional innovation actors. Our findings are highly relevant for the further development of the Interreg Europe programme and the implementation of the EU’s Territorial Agenda 2030.
|Publication status||Published - 27 Apr 2021|
- Academic institutions
- Euregio Rhein-Waal
- Innovation brokers
- Innovation space