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P103


Mobilizing regions for innovation 
Convenors:
Cindy Rentrop (Technical University of Munich)
Stefan John (Human Technology Center, RWTH Aachen University)
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Format:
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel aims to explore the co-production of regions vis-à-vis innovation. Both are mobilized and instrumentalized for legitimizing and shaping a particular innovation culture. We are interested in practical and theoretical insights into making and doing a region and its transformation.

Long Abstract:

Innovation has become the go-to answer for power-holding actors in order to build and legitimize institutions, companies, urban spaces, and even regions. We are looking at processes of regionalization in order to initiate, establish, maintain, and shape innovation. These processes are to be seen critically as regions are instrumentalized to stay competitive in a global context.

We want to examine how regions vis-a-vis innovations are co-produced and, thereby, want to reflect on the respective modes of innovation and formations of regional and content-specific eco-systems within the particular regions or urban spaces with respect to the socio-political, cultural, historical, and material contexts. With two given examples of Heilbronn and the Rheinisch Region, we give insights into transformational processes that are closely interwoven with specific technologies and, thus, visions and imaginaries of innovation. While both regions aim at more attention on different levels, innovation in the form of AI and establishing a hydrogen region are seen as a means to an end, resulting in a structural change in the socioeconomic fabric. In both cases, different actors are mobilized, and networks are formed to innovate and form the solution to the problem or diagnosed deficit.

Within our panel, we want to highlight and assess the significance of the mobilization and instrumentalization of regions and regionality for innovation and vice versa. Our guiding questions are: How are regions constructed and mobilized to advance a particular way of innovation? Respectively, how is innovation constructed and mobilized to initiate structural transformations in regions? Which actor coalitions are formed, and how do they imagine, initiate, and realize transformations? We are looking for abstracts that give empirical and theoretical examples of different regions, innovation formats (e.g., Living Labs and other forms of inclusion), and technologies.

Accepted papers: