Interpretations of Innovation in Rural Development. The Cases of Leader Projects in Lecce (Italy) and Granada (Spain) in 2007–2013 Period

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In the Leader approach, innovation plays a key role in European territories, especially in marginal and peripheral ones, being essentially assumed, from a programmatic point of view, as social innovation. This paper aims to understand the interpretation and the declination of innovation in the practice of Leader initiative at local scale and analyze contextual factors related to its implementation in two southern provinces of Spain and Italy (Granada and Lecce). The study aims to analyze the projects reported as innovative by the leaders of the Local Action Groups, starting from the literature and using a key Community document entitled “Extended report on preserving the innovative character of LEADER”. Lastly, the study reveals common significant problems linked to local awareness of the role of social innovation, as well as the absence or limitations of key institutions.

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