A third position maintains that both the Inflection Point and the Entropy scenarios are overstated and lack a proper historical understanding of the process of innovation, of the interactions it introduces in the economy and of the systemic nature of the technological waves from which innovation has emerged since the dawn of the industrial age. What might be called the Interregnum position argues that we are at a mid-point between “installation” and “deployment” of technologies in economic and social processes. Historically, the installation phase is characterized by the turbulence of “creative destruction” and involves social disruption and adaptation. The diffusion of a new paradigm leads to widespread displacement of old skills and to polarization between new and old industries, regions and incomes. During the deployment phase new possibilities are diverse and often unconnected. These represent potentialities because they can be shaped in various ways to create alternative cost and profitability structures, new forms of demand, skills, and synergies along supply chains, distribution networks and consumption modes. 

Which one of these broad scenarios is more likely to materialize? This is the question this study sets out to consider. Its goal is not prognostication. Instead, its objective is to offer a broad kaleidoscopic exploration of where we are and map the “limits of the possible” of these three trajectories as historical possibilities. Each of these interpretations and future scenarios are being put forward by highly knowledgeable analysts, academics and researchers of high caliber. The extremity of difference of the proposed interpretations and prognoses of the future is a testament to the perceived magnitude and impact of the “thing on the horizon”. The overarching argument of the study is that IR4 and the possible futures it holds – even though some dice might be more “loaded” than others – is not a historical inevitability. The clusters of technologies associated with the current transformations in economy and society do not in themselves point to a “direction”. Instead, they represent a “potential” whose realization and actual implementation will be determined by the exercise of social and political options. It is these options – or lack thereof – that will condition the likelihood of the realization of any given of the three trajectories – but also its capsizal.  

Adopting a global political economy perspective the study argues that these options will be shaped by the dynamic interactions of three forces: technological advances and the specific ways they will be deployed across economy and society; the future of globalization, specifically the degree of its compatibility with socially and environmentally sustainable development; and the role of the state, specifically in mediating and taking an active role in the creation of “enabling frameworks” for the diffusion and adoption of the technologies, the management of globalization, and their collective disruptive and destabilizing consequences for economic and social systems. The realization of the potential of IR4, like in previous revolutions, in other words, requires the formation of a “direction”. 

The study examines the manifestations and implications of IR4 on three distinct but interdependent levels: the micro-level (the level of the firm, or more precisely the spatial distribution of functions of the production process through globally organized value chains), the meso-level (regional economic and innovation ecosystems), and the macro-level (the state, civil society, innovation and sustainability). A related objective of the study, in this context, is to map the broader field of the currents of literature and debates surrounding IR4 and function as a roadmap to their key issues. As such, the study is designed to function as a “living document”, a platform for exploring the key transformative tendencies of our time but also engagement in debate, criticism and active participation in retaining what is socially and economically beneficial and constructive while avoiding what is harmful and destructive. Because, as we shall see, there is potential for plenty of both.

Download [Link connects to “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Inflection Point, Entropy, or Interregnum?” document… 

December 2016

At a Glance: The Polish Business Environment

Author: Takis Damaskopoulos

Series: Reports

With a population of about 38.5 million and GNI per capita of US$13,400 (2015), Poland has the largest economy in Central Europe. Since joining the European Union (EU) in 2004, the country’s ambitions have been marked by the desire to rapidly catch up with the core of the EU in terms of economic growth and living standards. Despite a successful performance so far, a coherent set of policies are needed to respond to long-term challenges and opportunities, including managing one of the most rapidly aging societies in Europe and leveraging technological change.

 In order to respond to these challenges, Poland’s Government recently announced the Strategy for Responsible Development. It is aimed at boosting domestic investments, largely through a mobilization of domestic resources, improved business conditions, and the better coordination of investments from EU funds. The Government also targets inclusive economic growth with a focus on the poorer segments of society. Its new policy measures include generous family spending under the Family 500+ program and the introduction of an hourly minimum wage, while the additional social spending is to be funded from improved tax compliance and the introduction of sectoral taxes on financial institutions and large retailers.

Download [Link connects to “At a Glance: The Polish Business Environment” document…

October 2013

Smarter Cluster Policies for South-East Europe: Policy Measures

Author: Takis Damaskopoulos (EIIR),  (with Nektaria Berikou (Corallia Cluster Initiative) and Mando Karvelli (Corallia Cluster Initiative).

Series: Reports

 This report lays out the key policy measures suggested by the ClusterPoliSEE project for the improvement of cluster policies in the South-East Europe (SEE) area. The measures are based on detailed analysis of previous streams of work that structure the project and the Working Group Reports for the development of New Policy Learning Mechanisms on the six Thematic Areas of the project, namely innovation, sustainability, internationalization, financial framework improvement, clusters and regional specialization, and new skills and jobs creation. 

 The domains the project addresses are marked by significant variation across SEE regions; variation which reflects their different historical trajectories, different stages of economic development, institutional and industrial structures etc. In light of this and in order to capture context-dependent nuances and specificities, the policy measures presented here focus on the thematic lines of the project, but also their regional contexts. The set of policy measures outlined in this document, as a result, has a horizontal thematic dimension as well as a vertical regional dimension.

Download [Link connects to “Smarter Cluster Policies for South-East Europe: Policy Measures”…

March 2012

White Paper and Roadmap on the Future Internet PPP: Policy, regulatory, and governance recommendations for national, EU and sectoral policies – First Release

Author: Takis Damaskopoulos (with contributions from partner institutions highlighted in the document).

Series: White Papers

 This White Paper outlines the general framework of Deliverable D3.6 White Paper and Roadmap: Policy, regulatory, and governance recommendations for national, EU and sectoral policies of the CONCORD project. It is designed to be developed throughout the duration of the project and present its outcomes in three different phases/releases over the 2011-2016 period of the project. This is the first version covering the first year of the project. 

 The White Paper maps and develops the thematic structure and identifies key emerging areas, constraints, gaps and impediments, as well as enabling conditions that will require policy, regulatory and governance support for the achievement of the CONCORD project objectives, the objectives of the FI PPP projects, and the objectives of the FI PPP Program.

The White Paper outlines a methodological approach to the analysis of FI PPP issues that come under the framework concept of ‘institutional agenda design’, which is bounded by the concepts of policy, regulation and governance. It addresses directly the strategic synergy of the ‘FI’ and the ‘PPP’ pillars of the Program. It addresses issues related to ‘FI technology’, on the one hand, while it seeks to identify conditions for sustainable uptake of such technologies through novel models of public private partnerships ‘PPP’ at national, European, as well as international levels.

 This approach is designed to examine issues of policy, regulation and governance, from two analytically distinct, but in reality, interrelated perspectives:  

  • FI PPP policy, regulation and governance as seen from a technology perspective, and 
  • Technology as seen from a policy, regulation and governance perspective.  

 In terms of its structure the White Paper lays out the emergent thematic domains targets for investigation and evaluation on which issues identification and mapping as well as specific recommendations for FI PPP policy, regulation and governance will be developed.

Download [Link connects to “White Paper and Roadmap on the Future Internet PPP: Policy, regulatory, and governance recommendations for national, EU and sectoral policies – First Release”….

January 2012

Reflections on policy, regulation and governance for Open Innovation: Toward a research and policy ‘enabling framework, in Open Innovation Strategy and Policy Group (OISPG), Service Innovation Yearbook 2011-2012 [Reference: http://files.openinnovation-platform.eu/policydocs/open_innovation_2012.pdf

Authors: Takis Damaskopoulos and Anna Sadowska 

Series: Reports

 This paper outlines an approach to the analysis of policy, regulation and governance conditions that can facilitate and extend practices of Open Innovation (OI). The approach stems from several streams of research currently underway at the European Institute of Interdisciplinary Research (EIIR) that address trajectories related to the development of the Future of the Internet. The approach is designed to identity and evaluate key enablers of, and barriers to, OI specifically framing them in ways that make them subjects for policy and regulatory action, along with the modalities of implementation, specifically the identification of the key actors/decision-makers/stakeholders, as well as the institutional vehicles, whose engagement and involvement is deemed critical for the design and implementation of OI initiatives.

Download [Link connects to “Open Innovation Strategy and Policy Group (OISPG), Service Innovation Yearbook 2011-2012” document…

May 2009

White Paper: Governance, Policies and Legal Conditions for Cross-regional Extended and Dynamic Clusters

Author: Takis Damaskopoulos

Series: White Papers

 This White Paper constitutes the concluding document of the EFFORT project. It presents the key policy and research recommendations that emerge out of the different streams of research and stakeholder engagement of the project. It identifies the domains for intervention in terms of policy, law and regulation, technology, and governance at EU, national and regional levels for the facilitation of extended and dynamic clustering. It offers ‘parametric’ reflections and recommendations on each of these domains at the level of the unit of analysis of the EFFORT project, namely, cluster and cross-regional extended and dynamic clustering.

The White Paper t is organized in the following sections:

  • Section 1 Extended and dynamic clustering: background and key concepts. This section provides a reprise of the conceptual apparatus and methodological approach of EFFORT and highlights the key concepts of extended and dynamic clustering;
  • Section 2 Toward extended and dynamic cluster-based regional economic policy. This section lays out the rationale for cluster-based economic policy with emphasis on policy frameworks and approaches supportive of extended and dynamic clustering;
  • Section 3 Institutions, strategy and policy. This section lays out the key lessons learned with respect to institutional and policy frameworks and their impact on the mobilization, organization and sustainability of extended and dynamic clustering practices;
  • Section 4 Organizational structure and process. In this section the document outlines the key highlights of the organizational features of extended and dynamic clusters;
  • Section 5 Law and regulation. This section lays out the key elements of the ‘legal environment’ that affect the mobilization, organization, and sustainable operation of extended and dynamic clustering practices;
  • Section 6 ICT infrastructure, uses, and policy. This section looks at key issues regarding the impact and uses of ICT in clustered economic environments and ICT policy on extended and dynamic clustering;
  • Section 7 Governance. In this section the document provides key insights on the comparative governance structures and processes that impact extended and dynamic clustering;
  • Section 8 Future policy and research directions and priorities. In this closing section the document spells out the implications of the above findings for future policy and research on extended and dynamic cluster-based regional economic policy. 

Download [Link connects to “EFFORT White Paper: Governance, Policies and Legal Conditions for Cross-regional Extended and Dynamic Clusters” document…

January 2009

Forecasting Patterns of Regional Economic Change: Indications for EU Public Administrations

Author: Takis Damaskopoulos

Series: Studies

 This study develops an analysis and forecasting of patterns of economic change across European Union (EU) regions in order to identify areas and indicators of intervention for public authorities. It pursues this analysis along both spatial and sectoral dimensions of economic activity and related transformations on the geographical and industrial topology of the EU. Its main objective is to draw out implications for regional economic systems, especially with respect to the competitiveness of SME clusters.

 The study is structured around the following chapters: 

  1.  Anatomy of EU economic regions. In this chapter the study explores the economic anatomy of EU regions and identifies emerging economic trends, the spatial dynamics of location of investment activities and their sectoral composition.
  2.  The impact of multinational enterprise (MNE) consolidation on regional economic systems. This chapter examines current and emerging practices of foreign direct investment (FDI), outsourcing and offshoring, and their implications for the regional economic sectors and SMEs.
  3.  The internationalization of R&D and open innovation. This chapter develops an analysis of the logic of internationalization of R&D investments in the EU and practices and the growing migration of innovation to open networks.
  4. Clusters and emerging forms of clustering. In this chapter the study explores the concept of clusters with reference to emerging forms of clustering, especially cross-regional collaborative arrangements involving business networks, scientific and research institutions, and regional government authorities. 
  5. Policy implications. On the basis of the research parameters outlined above the final chapter of the study develops an outline of policy implications for regional economic policy. These are grouped around the following themes:

Toward extended and dynamic clustering-based economic development policy

Institutions, strategy and policy

Organizational structure and process

Law and regulation

ICT infrastructure, uses, and policy


Future research and policy challenges.

Download [Link connects to the “Forecasting Patterns of Regional Economic Change: Indications for EU Public Administrations” document…

July 2008

Lithuania: Action Plan for SME e-Business Support for 2008-2013

Author: Takis Damaskopoulos

Series: Studies

This study is intended to form the basis of a national Action Plan for SME e-business support for 2008-2013 in the Republic of Lithuania. The aim of the Plan is to encourage and assist small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), to use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in a way that will maximize their competitive advantage. Effective use of ICT across all sectors of the economy can act as a driver to increase competitiveness. ICT connectivity is very widespread in businesses of all sizes. As is the case with all technologies, SMEs are slower than large firms to adopt new ICT. Potential SME benefits and firm and sector-specific strategies drive the adoption and use of ICT. Furthermore, sectors are increasingly global and dominated by large firms and the structure of their values chains and operations shape opportunities for SMEs. 

 Principal reasons for non-adoption are lack of applicability and little incentive to change business models when returns are unclear. SMEs also face generic barriers to adoption including trust and transaction security and IPR concerns, and challenges in areas of management skills, technological capabilities, productivity and competitiveness. The issues for governments throughout the European Union (EU) are to foster appropriate business environments for e-business and ICT uptake, and target programs to overcome market failures to the extent that they are needed in particular areas (e.g. skill formation, specialized information). Governments have a range of SME e-business and internet use programs. However commercial considerations and potential returns are the principal drivers of SME adoption and profitable use. 

The following points summarize the main policy directions derived from the analysis in the study and the key areas of the proposed action plan:

  • Business environment: A healthy business environment is fundamental for firms to thrive and benefit from ICT use. This includes a transparent, open and competitive business framework, clear independent rule of law for all firms, easy set up and dissolution of businesses, transparent, simple and accessible corporate regulation, and equal and stable legal treatment for national and cross-border transactions.
  • Skills upgrading: Lack of ICT skills and business skills are widespread impediments to effective uptake once adoption decisions are made. Governments have major roles in providing basic ICT skills in compulsory schooling, and an important role in conjunction with education institutions, business, and individuals in providing the framework to encourage ICT skill formation at higher levels, in vocational training and in ongoing lifelong learning.
  • Network infrastructure: Encourage rollout and use of quality infrastructure at affordable prices. Broadband connectivity is a key component in ICT development, adoption and use. It accelerates the contribution of ICT to economic growth, facilitates innovation, and promotes efficiency, network effects and positive externalities. The development of broadband markets, efficient and innovative supply arrangements, and effective use of broadband services require policies that: promote effective competition and continue to stress liberalization in infrastructure, network services and applications across different technological platforms; encourage investment in new technological infrastructure, content and applications; and technology neutrality among competing and developing technologies to encourage interoperability, innovation and expand choice. Public financial assistance to expand coverage for under-served groups and remote areas could complement private investment where appropriate, provided it does not pre-empt private sector initiative or inhibit competition. 
  • Trust infrastructure: Get the regulatory infrastructure right for trust, security, privacy and consumer protection. Essential are a culture of security to enhance trust in the use of ICT, effective enforcement of privacy and consumer protection, and combating cyber-crime and spam. Strengthened cross-border co-operation between all stakeholders is necessary to reach these goals. Of particular relevance for small firms are low-cost on-line dispute resolution mechanisms among firms and between firms and consumers.
  • Digital products and information services: These are an increasingly significant part of economic activity and they offer important opportunities to small firms. Government and the private sector have key roles in facilitating content availability across all platforms and encouraging local development of new content, including content from public sources.
  • Intangible investments and assets: Firms increasingly rely on intangible investments and assets (skills, organization, software, networks) for competitiveness and growth. However common frameworks to identify, measure and report intangible investments and assets still need to be developed and be widely accepted. There is a significant role for governments in conjunction with business associations and accounting bodies to encourage business to develop and use systems which recognize and report intangibles in ways that can be reliably used by investors, valued by capital markets and guide better management practices.
  • Information: SMEs may lack objective information regarding the benefits and costs of adoption of ICT. The private sector (e.g. business associations) and government have a role, and can provide information about service available and when necessary improve coordination of government information on the benefits of adoption and use of ICT, for example case studies and good-practice demonstrations to tackle market failures in information supply.
  • Government on-line: On-line provision of government information and services can increase the efficiency and coverage of public service delivery to small firms, and act as a model user and standard-setter for ICT adoption by small firms. As model users of broadband, government can demonstrate the potential of broadband-based services and content, provide demonstration and “pull-through” mechanism for small firms. Government demand aggregation to provide services can help spread new services more widely. Education, general government information and services, and provision of government services to businesses and citizens can all potentially benefit from the use of new high-speed infrastructure and services, and should be given priority in government strategies.

Based on these considerations, the key elements of the Action Plan are  mapped and addressed around key dimensions of e-business (functional, sectoral, and regional/spatial) on three distinct levels (micro: the level of the firm, meso: the level of the region, and macro: national/international). The Action Plan is developed through four phases which structure the study. These are as follows:

Phase 1: Leading trends in e-Business practices across the EU identifies and explores the key characteristics, the ‘trend’, in the EU (what the EC says about e-business and the leading practices: how different countries deal with e-business). It will include analysis of EU trends and omparative countries/regions leading practices.

Phase II: Key topics for policy support targeting in e-Business  identifies the key issues confronting e-business at micro-level: the level of SMEs, meso-level: the level of networks and regions, and macro-level: national level

Phase III: Gap analysis focuses on the current state of development of e-business in Lithuania and the challenges confronted by key stakeholders. It involve analysis of key issues such as the state of the e-business art in Lithuania, previous e-business support activities, possible e-business financing sources, and stakeholders’ views (Associations of SMEs, managers etc) that have been interviewed for the purposed of this study.

Phase IV: Modalities of implementation identifies modalities of implementation. Specifically, it identifies the key stakeholders to be involved, the structures of incentives for participation in the implementation of the e-busines support for SMEs, and the gents of implementation. The study concludes with the Action Plan matrix which identifies the objectives of SME e-business support, the suggested actions, and the stakeholders that are relevant for successful implementation.

Download [Link connects to the “Lithuania: Action Plan for SME e-Business Support for 2008-2013 document…

December 2007

Lithuania Skills and Labor Market Evaluation: Biotechnology, Mechatronics, Laser and Information Technologies across the OECD

Author: Takis Damaskopoulos

Series: Studies

 This study provides an OECD-wide background and perspective to the Lithuania Skills and Labour Market Evaluation project. The objective of the project is to analyze and assess the current state of the labour market conditions, the skills demand and supply dynamics, and the drivers of future specialist demand in four areas of high technology research and development: biotechnology, mechatronics, laser technologies, and information technologies (HT4). 

 The project is structured around two stages of development. Stage I develops a methodology in the field of specialist demand analysis in the HT4. The methodology is designed to include the most appropriate methods of research, which could be applied to research in various fields of scientific study, including the specificities involved in the HT4. It draws on methodologies and research approaches that have been developed and applied in OECD member countries as well as research and analysis developed by national government and international bodies. Two key characteristics of the methodology are expected to be its originality, i.e., while drawing on the experience of OECD member countries it is adaptable to the conditions prevailing in Lithuania, and its universality, i.e., where and when possible, it can be applied to research on specialist demand in fields other than the HT4.

Stage II involves the implementation of a pilot project on specialist demand in the HT4 in Lithuania. During this stage the project will select specialists responsible for science and technology development programs representing various disciplines and scientific institutions as well as institutions coordinating programs from the Ministry of Education and Science. These specialists will participate in the pilot in order to improve their ability to conduct advanced research in the field of specialist demand. During this phase of the project it is expected that training by, and interaction with, international experts will improve the abilities of Lithuanian experts to conduct such research independently and present recommendations on how to use the results of the research to improve the programs of specialist preparation.

 This study constitutes part of Stage I of the project. Its objective is to systematically and transparently gather, and analyze empirical research conducted by government and international bodies, peer-reviewed analytical articles, and practical experiences in the analysis and prediction of specialist skills demand and supply in the HT4. It presents its findings on the current situation in specialist demand and supply in the HT4 across member countries of the OECD, and on the basis of available data develops perspectives on future demand.

Download [Link connects to the “Lithuania Skills and Labor Market Evaluation: Biotechnology, Mechatronics, Laser and Information Technologies across the OECD document…

June 2007

Specialisation, Regional Clusters and Competitiveness: Regional Strategies Study on the Automotive Sector

Contributing Author: Takis Damaskopoulos

Series: Studies

 This study, conducted under the auspices of the OECD, develops a comparative analysis of how leading regions specializing in automotive production, namely Turin, Gothenburg, Shanghai and Detroit, sharing similar technologies, infrastructures and market orientations are reacting to the challenges of globalization and changes in production systems, and what steps they are taking to transform their current regional economic ‘portfolios’. It addresses issues such as the shift from production-oriented regional economies that focus on upstream activities, the implications of dependence on multinationals within a regional economy, and the local impact of investment in R&D in a global economy.


This study stems from the Specialisation, Regional Clusters and Competitiveness: Global Challenges Regional Strategies project undertaken in collaboration with the OECD and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (NUTEK), and EIIR. The project addresses the issue of how the competitive advantages of regions in different sectors and industries contribute to the overall regional economic performance, whether public policy should be trying to support or develop such specializations and, if so, how. This involves addressing how regions react to the changes in their economic structures brought about by globalization, notably the shift from production-oriented regional economies to economies that focus on non-production activities. These issues are addressed through the lens of the ongoing transformation of key industries, both mature and high-growth sectors, in advanced and less advanced regions.

The study develops a comparative analysis of how regions specializing in automotive production and sharing similar technologies, infrastructures and market orientations are reacting to the challenges of globalization and changes in production systems, and what steps they are taking to transform their current regional economic ‘portfolios’. It addresses issues such as the shift from production-oriented regional economies that focus on upstream activities, the implications of dependence on multinationals within a regional economy, and the local impact of investment in R&D in a global economy.

he study examines four leading global automotive clusters, namely, Turin, Gothenburg, Shanghai and Detroit. Each of them is approached from four key perspectives:

  • Productivity of Research – the challenge of making public investment in research productive for the regional economy by emphasizing commercialization of innovation by locally-based industries.
  • Transition from production to non-production activities – the consequences of the transition to research-intensive activities, product design, network management, etc. for regional development and employment creation.
  • Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) vs. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) – the implications of the changing relationships between MNCs and SMEs in production systems (issues include the increasing dominance of MNCs in global production systems and the ‘niche’ for SMES in innovation and design, and emerging models for cooperation).
  • Governance – the impact of regional governance on outcomes. Issues include the role of regional and national governance, and the appropriate policy inputs of regional and national governments for the support of specific sectors in their regional and international strategy of development.

The study is part of the work by the OECD’s Territorial Development Policy Committee on competitive and innovative regions, and has been conducted in close co-operation with the OECD International Futures Programme (IFP) in the Secretary-General’s Advisory Unit. The study is co-sponsored by Nutek, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, which manages a number of initiatives aimed at regional competitiveness and, more specifically, cluster development 

Download [Link connects to the “Specialisation, Regional Clusters and Competitiveness: Regional Strategies Study on the Automotive Sector document…

February 2006

Outsourcing and Offshoring in Regional Context

Author: Takis Damaskopoulos

Series: Study

This study lays out the findings of an international study on leading practices in outsourcing and offshoring in the European Union (EU) in order to assist Umbria Innovazione better target its intervention in the restructuring of the clustered small- and medium size enterprises (SMEs) that structure the regional economy of the region of Umbria. 

 The small companies that both compete and cooperate with each other in regional clusters across the EU have for some time been held as an example to the rest of the world. Their flexibility has usually been contrasted with slow-moving manufacturers that depend on mass production who suffered in the recession of the early 1990s. In mainstream political formations and among some prominent academics these clusters have been presented as examples to imitate and transplant across the EU. Reformers on the left have presented them as an example of how SMEs employing highly-skilled craft workers can compete effectively with old-fashioned big business.

 Yet the strengths of yesterday might be becoming the liabilities of tomorrow. Several EU regional clusters, especially those associated with process of innovation in product, service and production processes, are facing a crisis related to the high euro and competition from low-wage countries. SMEs and the regional clusters in which they operate across the EU struggle to compete against regional production centers in Eastern Europe, countries of the former Soviet Union, China and India.

One of the major problems that regional clusters in the EU face is that of being rooted in craft industries rather than value-added services such as design and marketing. In the days of lower competition it sufficed to outsource such services from established specialized agencies. But now they must compete with rivals that focus their efforts on services instead of manufacturing.

Global outsourcing and offshoring, in this process, have emerged as key vectors in the restructuring of SMEs and the clusters in which they operate. These practices have an essential role to play in how regional businesses are restructured and how they develop both as individual business entities and as parts of wider regional economic strategies of economic development. Umbria Innovazione has recognized the strategic significance of these practices. As a result it has commissioned the European Institute of Interdisciplinary Research (EIIR) to conduct the present study on leading international models and practices in the field of outsourcing and offshoring.

The study presents the findings of international research in leading practices of outsourcing and offshoring in the EU. It identifies examples of best practice and successful approaches to the development and evolution of sub-supply chains. It covers the following topics: 

  • Understanding the benefits of outsourcing and offshoring;
  • Organizational forms of efficient networking of enterprises;
  • Management models of successful outsourcing and offshoring;
  • Assessing national and international network offshoring connections;
  • Designing and delivering outsourcing and offshoring services.

Download [Link connects to the “Outsourcing and Offshoring in Regional Context document…

May 2005

Uzbekistan: Passages toward the Knowledge-Based Economy Master Plan for the Transition

Author: Takis Damaskopoulos

Series: Study

 The objective of this study is to explore and analyze the current organizational, institutional, and regulatory conditions that structure the economy of the Republic of Uzbekistan and develop a set of policy recommendations along with an implementation strategy, a Master Plan, to allow the Government of Uzbekistan better target its policies for the transition. The study is designed to assist the Government to identify policy patterns, targets, approaches, and instruments for the support of the transition to the knowledge-based economy and the knowledge society more generally.

Executive Summary

Knowledge and the development of organizational and institutional conditions that enable its conversion into better economic performance are increasingly becoming the intangible qualities that have a decisive impact on the capacity of economic and social systems to generate growth and fuel employment creation. As such, the development of these conditions is rapidly becoming the center of attention of governing bodies of private and public, national and international organizations. Indeed, today countries regardless of their stage of economic development are developing knowledge-based economy strategies in order to enable them to utilize new information and communication technologies (ICT) and develop organizational forms and institutional arrangements geared toward innovation and improved economic performance.

However, different countries due to their specific historical trajectories of development and location in the world economy have differential abilities to develop the necessary institutional conditions and capacity to make the transition to the knowledge-based economy. Since its independence Uzbekistan has made remarkable progress in aspects of macroeconomic stabilization and educational reform. However, such progress lacks a strategic policy-making framework on a national level that would enable the country to construct a sustainable knowledge-based economy that could help address the historic economic challenges that the country confronts.

Against this background the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in collaboration with the Center for Economic Research (CER) of the Government of Uzbekistan, launched in August 2003 a research component on knowledge-based economy development. In this context, the UNDP and CER contracted the European Institute of Interdisciplinary Research (EIIR) to act as their international scientific advisor in the development of a study on the critical elements of the knowledge-based economy in transition economies. 

Against this background the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in collaboration with the Center for Economic Research (CER) of the Government of Uzbekistan, launched in August 2003 a research component on knowledge-based economy development. In this context, the UNDP and CER contracted the European Institute of Interdisciplinary Research (EIIR) to act as their international scientific advisor in the development of a study on the critical elements of the knowledge-based economy in transition economies. 

 The study explores strategic issues that need to be tackled through consistent and coherent policies in order to allow the economy of Uzbekistan make the transition to a more knowledge-intensive mode of development in alignment with the leading trends in the emerging global economic system. Its final outcome is a Master Plan presented as a ‘policy matrix’ which lays out strategic policy areas that are subject to policy intervention.

 It is usually the case that when reference is made to the knowledge-based economy the primary emphasis is on ICT or the forms and kinds of knowledge that underpin competitive economic activities. This is not the case in this study. Though both ICT and knowledge are critical to the emergence of a knowledge-based economy, the study takes the view that it is the conversion of technological capabilities and knowledge into improved economic performance that is the ultimate condition that decides the competitiveness of national and regional economic systems. As such the study is primarily concerned with the environmental ‘enabling frameworks’ that facilitate the emergence of sustainable knowledge-intensive and competitive economic systems in transition economies.

The study locates the challenges confronting the economy of Uzbekistan in a historical perspective in order to elucidate the available policy options. It does this by addressing three sets of issues that have been at the centre of the current debates over the appropriateness of the concept of knowledge-based economy for developing and transition economies:

  • The first set is located at the conceptual level. It concerns questions of definition and answers to questions such as what is the knowledge-based economy and how different is it from the new economy or the network economy?
  • The second set relates to the relevance of the knowledge-based economy to developing countries. It involves questions of whether the concept of the knowledge-based economy has any relevance to the needs of developing and transition economies;
  • The third set has to do with implementation. It has to do questions of how to convert the key concepts of the knowledge-based economy into ‘enabling frameworks’ of action.

Download [Link connects to the “Uzbekistan: Passages toward the Knowledge-Based Economy Master Plan for the Transition document…

September 2004

Guiding Economic Innovation Through Business Incubators: Critical Elements of Successful Business Incubation

Author: Takis Damaskopoulos (EIIR)

Series: Study

 The objective of this study is to analyze leading international practices in the field of incubation and acceleration to identify international best practices, the key actors, organizational and management models, financial and marketing models and strategic positioning that underpin successful incubation and acceleration systems in order to identify the conditions for setting up an incubator in alignment with the developmental requirements of the region of Umbria, Italy.


Regional incubators confront significant challenges. In particular, they face an emerging economic and business environment that is characterized by tactical and strategic uncertainty regarding the composition of organizational elements, the roles and competencies of key actors in the process of incubation and acceleration, the appropriate utilization of technologies, the appropriate management and business models and financial models for sustainable incubation. 

 The study explores the above issues in international context in order to extract operational and managerial principles that can be applied to the regional specificities of Umbria. The study aims to help Umbria Innovazione to make informed decisions on the following points:

  • How to identify the best methodology for a regional business incubator
  • How to develop an optimum organizational model for a regional business incubator
  • How to identify the most efficient methodology for the implementation of an ‘enabling framework’ that will effect the best utilization of technologies
  • How to identify the key features of the governance, management, financial and marketing strategy for successful incubation
  • How to design and deliver the services and ‘clustering’ activities that enable sustainable incubation of high-tech start-up firms.

 The study develops a framework to ensure that effort and resources are applied in the most productive and effective ways possible and sets out a preliminary roadmap for the development of sustainable outcomes for business incubation tailored to the needs of the region of Umbria. It identifies the performance domains common to all forms of business incubation, where these principles are to be translated into action. These are the following:

  • Governance and management of incubation and acceleration
  • The enterprise development program of incubation and acceleration
  • The marketing strategy of incubation and acceleration
  • The physical facility and general business service
  • The financial model of business incubation and acceleration
  • Technology transfer.

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