Multilayer network analysis_at OECD Blue Sky Conference 2016
Multilayer network analysis of innovation intermediaries’ activities: methodological issues and an application to a regional policy programme
Margherita Russo*° | Annalisa Caloffi‡ | Riccardo Righi° | Simone Righi§ | Federica Rossi**
*corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org | °Department of Economics, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy | ‡Department of Economics and Man-agement, University of Padua, Italy | §Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, Italy | **Birkbeck University, London, United Kingdom
To enhance innovation processes in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the last decade innovation policies have increasingly supported the creation and strengthening of intermediaries (Howells, 2006; Lazaric et al, 2008; Kauffeld-Monz and Fritsch, 2013; Russo and Rossi, 2009; Caloffi et al, 2015). So far, however no adequate analytical framework to assess the activity and performance of these intermediaries has been developed. In this paper we address this issue by suggesting a network perspective (a) to analyse the multidimensional activities undertaken by innovation intermediaries and (b) to assess the contribution of the agents involved in different activities promoted by intermediaries. Methodological issues are discussed both in theory and with regard to an empirical application to analyse a regional policy supporting the creation of specialized intermediaries, named “innovation poles”, in the Italian region of Tuscany.
The creation of innovation poles has mobilized a large number of agents that were directly involved with different roles in the creation of the regional system of technology transfer. Through the different activities they perform, the various agents create connections between the poles; the poles, in turn, create links between agents, facilitating the exchange of information and creating opportunities for joint actions to boost innovation. This network of networks perspective of analysis asks for the identification of pivotal agents embedded in multidimensional interactions and helps in detecting emerging communities of innovators in the regional innovation system. By adopting the analysis of multilayer networks approach (recently developed by Rosvall & Bergstrom, 2007 and 2008, and De Domenico et al., 2015), we identify the emerging multilayer communities and the intercohesive agents, framing the intermediaries’ impact. The paper concludes discussing the implications of this methodology on policy assessment.
Keywords: innovation policy, multilayer multiplex networks; regional innovation systems; innovation poles; intermediaries; overlapping communities
JEL codes: O25 Industrial Policy; O38 Technological Change: Government Policy; 30 Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change
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