Regional Differences in Innovation in Knowledge-based Industries
Technological innovation, in both developed and developing nations, has been described using the paradigm of national systems of innovation. Our research has demonstrated that, in a geographically and culturally diverse nation such as Canada, innovation in knowledge-based industrial clusters occurs in ways specific to each region or city-region, where cultural and quality of life factors have influence. It does not matter whether the technology is based on digital technologies and contains significant social and cultural content, such as new media, or whether it is simply a user of digital technologies such as biotechnology. Examples will be drawn from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. In each case, historic and culturally specific factors are among the determinents of the development trajectory of the local industrial clusters. Each city-region has specific attributes which are viewed by the highly skilled human capital in the knowledge-based industries of each region as being a local competitive advantage. While there are clear links between culture and history within a nation-state on one hand, and the development of technologies and technological competencies at the national level on the other, there has been little study of these influences on innovation systems at the regional and local levels. Policy makers should understand that regional differences, whether geographic or cultural, or both, have significant impact on innovation, and thus they must adjust their innovation policies accordingly.
Keywords: Systems of innovation, Regional systems of innovation, Human capital, Industrial clusters
Prof. J. Adam Holbrook
Associate Director, Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology, Simon Fraser University