In the literature, there is much debate on how to make Industrial Symbiosis (IS) successful and on the factors that may potentially affect its implementation, including networking and innovation. They have so far found limited space for investigation in favor of other technical and economic aspects, such as the nature of the processes involved, regulatory issues, economic feasibility, and stakeholders involvement. However, in some cases, they may become relevant, especially when considered together and in their synergistic interaction. An interesting context to be considered in this respect is that of the Innovation Poles (IPs), which are government-sponsored consortia, created within EU programs with the objective of stimulating innovation within network of organizations and that promote the competitiveness in specific industries or value-chains at a local or regional level. In the present article, we firstly discuss how these topics have been so far addressed in IS studies, and then we analyze the main features of the IP model with the aim to understand if, and through which mechanisms, it can contribute to the development and spread of IS. A literature overview through desktop analysis and direct research, which particularly focused on the Italian IPs, provided the knowledge basis of the study. The results highlight the positive role that the IP model could play, both for its institutional activity of production and dissemination of knowledge and innovation, and, mostly, if considered as an applicative context for IS.
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