Cognition, Innovations and Knowledge Spillovers

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Arcade Courtyard (Main Building)
Borut RONCEVIC, School of Advanced Social Studies, Slovenia
Frank PECK, University of Cumbria, United Kingdom
Recognition of the importance of social processes has formed the basis of much theorising surrounding the underlying factors that influence regional competitiveness and innovative performance.  Social dynamics, for instance, are central to such concepts as innovative milieu and industrial districts as well as regional clusters and regional innovation systems. Much of this work has focused on the role of social networks and institutions. More recent discussions of the nature of regional innovation, however, have continued the quest to understand the social processes that underpin economic relations in terms of territorial knowledge networks, regional knowledge spillovers and knowledge domains. While research on institutions and social networks is very advanced at this stage, sociological research on cognitive processes in their social context is still in its infancy, with only a handful of attempts at systematic cognitive sociology. In this paper, we reflect on these ideas and explore the relevance and usefulness of recent sociological approaches to the innovative economy based on the concepts of cognitive frames and social fields. In particular, we develop theoretical model of cognition in social innovative processes, which explains, firstly, the role of cognition in social dynamics on micro, meso and macro level, secondly, the actual mechanisms behind the knowledge spillovers, thirdly, the mechanisms behind the bounded rationality that is hindering radical innovation, and finally, the relationship between developmental trajectories that lead to path-dependent lock-in and deliberative action leading to path-changing innovations.