Smokestack chasing and related ad hoc efforts to create techno/commercial clusters are examples of failed economic development activities, because they are generally poorly integrated into the networks of interactions that support a local, state, or national economy. This is a general problem because it is difficult to characterize and understand such complex webs of interactions. Thus, it is the dynamic complexity of combined state innovation systems, related policy systems, and the broader economy that stands between state governors and legislators, their piecemeal enactment of ‘economic development initiatives’, and the economic growth they desire. This brief describes the social, governmental, and commercial network structures involved in the innovation economy, and then examines several simple but powerful approaches states might utilize to manage and strengthen their innovation systems. Further down the road, the hard part involves finding ways to apply complexity theory and tools in a predictive manner to evaluate possible network interventions. At least at the beginning, network interventions are much cheaper than the direct and indirect costs of today’s incentive- and investment-based approaches.
Koehler, Karl A.
"The Easy Expensive Way Doesn't Work. Why Not Try the Difficult Cheap Way?,"
Purdue Policy Research Institute (PPRI) Policy Briefs: Vol. 2
, Article 1.
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/gpripb/vol2/iss1/1