According to the “New Growth Theory,” developed by Paul Romer, “Knowledge has become the third factor of production alongside with labor and capital, and the” ingredient “that underlies the competitiveness of nations, regions and companies.”
In this new model is of special importance the so-called Regions of Knowledge.
The concept of region of knowledge is associated with the process of globalization and innovation capacity, inextricably linked to the creation, dissemination and exploitation of knowledge translated into new products, new technologies, new production processes and marketing.
The regions that have bet on the knowledge have of common features and similar capabilities, differing in forms of organization and the specifics activities that they develop.
Within these common features can be found:

  • Centres for dynamic knowledge, linked to the outside world;
  • Articulated Networks of Centres of education, training and research, with strong links to European centres and through partnerships with independent performance evaluations;
  • formal and informal channels of dissemination of knowledge;
  • Wide range of highly skilled human resources, capabilities and skills geared to innovation, entrepreneurship and production;
  • Networks of modern infrastructure, giving priority to the outside (fiber optic networks, easy access to airports and seaports with international focus and dimension);
  • Wide range of modern and innovator financial instruments (venture capital, business angels);
  • Good environmental quality and excellent living conditions (housing, infrastructure, health, sports, educational, cultural, etc.).
  • Competitiveness at the level of international trade and attracting foreign direct investment flows.

The Centro and Norte regions of Portugal have more or less the aforementioned characteristics although:

  • are not identified as such by other regions of the EU and third countries;
  • insufficiently share among themselves the factors / potential held at the level of innovation and knowledge, registering insufficient proximity between the respective actors / agents, preventing economies of scale and sustainability of partnerships and networks.

These conditions inhibit in one hand, the affirmation of the same regions as areas of knowledge, and, secondly, as a consequence, a worsening of their peripheral position in the margins of European and international networks of innovation and sustained investment in knowledge, unlike to what happens with the English and Irish Atlantic regions.
Similarly, many SMEs in the Norte and Centro, particularly on emerging clusters, more connected to an information society and knowledge, remain outside the main international networks of innovation and technology transfer, presented weaknesses at the level of cooperation and business partnerships and investment attractiveness.

Whereas to meet the challenges of globalization and innovation, regions will focus on:

  • The identification of activities and most suitable and dynamic, as well as understanding how to organize their value chains and networks of international cooperation;
  • In promoting the interaction of networks of knowledge centres and agents in the business, as well as in understanding the role of innovation centres and enterprises in their global value chains and how they are evolving;
  • In the identification of what regions “competitors” offer, what they are and attract, what they want to attract in the future, making proactive benchmarking exercises, which allow, among others, identify a relative position in a competitive extended;
  • The development of a capable and territorial marketing differentiator anchored in a specific position and projecting a concept unifying and inspiring;
  • The need to focus their productive structures in service sectors and industries that generate higher value added, knowledge-based and able to compete internationally.

It is proposed that the initiative “Know Now,” which aims to promote international the Norte and Centro regions as regions of innovation and knowledge through action in three main areas:

  • Studies
    • collection, analysis and systematization of information that is relevant basis for the strategy in three phases to consider:
    • state of the art and construction of a current and prospective vision;
    • the establishment of successful cases in which knowledge is the determining factor, particularly in terms of attracting FDI, and
    • the development of strategic benchmarking actions to better define the relative position of the territories, studying examples of good practice and build international partnerships.

  • Promotion
    • developing strategies and tools in order to “put” international regions, implying:
    • the need for a differentiating concept regarding the territories and establish a competitive positioning;
    • to develop an international marketing plan that is a unifying common strategic, concerted and ambitious promotion and dissemination of the regions;
    • to build an interactive portal that can be a reference either in the promotion of the regions and in attracting investment;
  • Attracting investment
    • based on studies undertaken, and in line with the strategy chosen to promote, develop and consistently attracting investment.

To put in a competitively position Norte and Centro regions as regions of Knowledge and Innovation, reversing an image of more “traditional” business strongly associated with labour-intensive and low skilled work.