English // ISSN: 2254-3767// Keywords: social innovation, governance, territorial development, action research, local development agencies.
This thesis endeavours to contribute to the understanding of the role of new governance modes in local economic development processes. The social innovation approach allows us to understand that role. This approach adds the social and spatial content to innovation processes for territorial development. Furthermore, it highlights the importance of innovations in governance as the core of territorial development. The local networking processes developing through Local Development Agencies (LDA) in the Basque region reflect new public intervention modes based on the integration of public and private local actors to support local economic development processes. New governance modes are generated through these networks. These networks are analyzed in this dissertation starting from a systematic analysis of all the local networks developing through LDAs in the Basque region. However, not all the local networks are equally socially innovative. Once that stage is reached, the action research approach enables knowing how local networks can evolve as socially innovative territories. Specifically, the analysis of Lankidetza Sarea in Goierri County demonstrates how the evolution of local networking processes depend on the learning process developed by participant actors and to identify a critical factor influencing that evolution: the type of knowing of network managers.