Magro, E., Wilson, J.R.
The policy mix concept has become popular in innovation policy literature. It is particularly relevant for complex challenges such as sustainable industrial transitions that require joined-up interventions from different policy domains. Yet finding the right policy mix for a given challenge is strongly conditioned by the governance context in which individual policies emerge and evolve over time. In particular, the evaluation of policy mixes in a regional context is often neglected.
This paper aims to deepen understanding of the interaction between governance processes and policy mix evaluation in the specific context of smart specialisation strategies. These newly popular regional innovation strategies are ideal laboratories for analysing policy mixes due to their place-based nature, their directionality, their experimental character and potential orientation towards grand societal challenges, and their complex governance context.
The paper builds on the smart specialisation literature, the innovation policy and policy evaluation literature, and the literature on governance in pluralistic contexts to build a conceptual framework for analysing the governance of policy-mix evaluation. The conceptual arguments are illustrated by the Basque Country case in Spain, providing insights on the establishment of a strategic innovation policy mix evaluation process in a complex setting of institutions and actors.