Breaking the Waves: Innovating at the Intersections of Economic Development

Tuesday June 26, 2018
  • Article


State and local economic development is often conceptualized as a series of successive waves, with each wave representing distinct policy priorities. In this study, we rework the standard wave metaphor to recognize the gains for regional economies when practitioners reach across established boundaries to work together to create a strategy mix. We present a case from North Carolina biosciences to demonstrate the contribution to regional industrial specialization when specialists combine their respective knowledge of entrepreneurship and industrial recruitment and coordinate development practice. More than an adjustment to tightening budget constraints or intensifying political demand, strategy mixing allows practitioners to extend and capture greater gains from state support for innovation. This case study provides an illustrative example for how other regions can advance innovative industry by bringing seemingly distinct development tools and targets into closer alignment.


Lowe, N., & Feldman, M. P. (2018). Breaking the waves: Innovating at the intersections of economic development. Economic Development Quarterly, 32(3), 183 - 194. Retrieved from