The seduction of the event – how the innovation system comes into being through inter-organizational meetings

This paper belongs to Thematic Session 2 of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

Patrik Hall, Malmö University (Dept of Global political studies)
Erika Anderson Cederholm

In this paper we focus on the specific meeting form of inter-organizational events as a mode of organizing and performing a policy. The organizational context of our study is the collaboration between academia, industry and the public sector which is often referred to as the triple helix model or an innovation system. More specifically, our case is the establishment of a regional innovation system in Skåne, Sweden. One of its key activities is an annual meeting on the topic of innovation – Skåne Innovation Week. Innovation week is a form of event which seems to occur in regions and cities all over the globe.
The specific characteristics of this inter-organizational collaboration evoke questions on the characteristics of the meeting itself; what is actually the role of the event in the innovation policy? The innovation system has loose structures and unclear hierarchies, with a vague, all-embracing overall aim – to encourage, support and implement new innovations in Skåne. The system stresses collaboration and inclusion, rather than competition and exclusion. Since the event is a key activity of the collaboration, this is also an activity where visions are performed.
In this paper, we argue that the regional innovation system comes into being through relatively large scale meetings of an event-like character where the innovation system performs itself and becomes visible to the participants. In our analysis, we focus on the specific characteristics of the meeting, how it is staged and enacted, by identifying specific practices that seem to embody and sustain ambiguities and vagueness in this inter-organizational collaboration.

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