Local innovation systems
The competitiveness and economic performance of firms, regions and nations has to be understood in a local context. This is not despite but because of the globalisation of production, trade and labour – the growth of transnational corporations, information and communication advances, and the emergence of the e-business.
Far from obsoleting local business networks or the regions, these forces of globalisation reinforce their importance. Directors of leading companies, for example, look closely at the innovation and investment ecosystems of different cities and regions when they make decisions about where to invest and create jobs. Economically successful cities and regions have developed systems where firms, entrepreneurs, workers, and public and private sector institutions interact to create ideas, share knowledge and learn from each other.
This strand of research draws on our existing work on local innovation ecosystems and anchors the Centre's other research streams in a real-world context. For example, although they contribute to national economic growth, institutions such as universities and research centres are geographically anchored and play a major role in supporting local innovation ecosystems and driving local growth. The role of these institutions needs to be understood and strengthened in this context.
We are undertaking this research building on the strength of the Cities 2020 programme located within The Work Foundation.