Smart Specialisation and the Entrepreneurial Discovery: A New Approach to Design Structural Change

  • Hugo PintoEmail author
  • Carla Nogueira
  • Chiara Carrozza
  • Raphael D’Emery
Part of the Studies on Entrepreneurship, Structural Change and Industrial Dynamics book series (ESID)


The implementation of a research and innovation strategy anchored in the principles of ‘smart specialisation’ can be an important catalyst for regional development. Even in regions that are less technology intensive and with a gap in terms of socio-economic development, the potential of selectivity with the introduction of ‘entrepreneurial discovery’ mechanisms is essential for designing successful policies and actions. The ‘entrepreneurial discovery’—the finding of a new sector or activity emerging from existing localized capacities and market demands—is not an original idea, in practice it has always happened in any structural change process and most of the time in a spontaneous way. The novelty of ‘smart specialisation’ strategies is the formal and explicit character that the ‘entrepreneurial discovery process’ assumes. This chapter discusses different approaches to the process of ‘entrepreneurial discovery’, paying special attention to participatory models.


Smart specialisation Entrepreneurial discovery Evidence-based strategy 



This chapter benefits from the work developed by the authors in the project Regional Innovation Systems in the State of Pernambuco—Brazil (N°2016CE160AT045 EU-CELAC) financed by the European Commission DG Regio. Hugo Pinto acknowledges the financial support of FCT—Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology to his post-doctoral research (SFRH/BPD/84038/2012 funded by POCH co-financed by the European Social Fund and national funds from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education). Carla Nogueira also acknowledges the financial support from FCT to her doctoral research (SFRH/BD/117398/2016).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hugo Pinto
    • 1
  • Carla Nogueira
    • 2
  • Chiara Carrozza
    • 3
  • Raphael D’Emery
    • 4
  1. 1.Centre for Social StudiesUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.Centre for Spatial and Organizational DynamicsUniversity of AlgarveFaroPortugal
  3. 3.Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced StudiesEuropean University InstituteFlorenceItaly
  4. 4.Secretary for Economic Development and Creative EconomyCity Hall of CaruaruCaruaruBrazil

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