David A. Wolfe and Jen Nelles
Neil Bradford and David A. Wolfe
Innovation in the knowledge-based economy is a complex, multifaceted process, one that challenges actors from government, business, education and communities to adapt through collaboration and learning. This chapter argues that it is the social characteristics that underlie the innovation process itself and the broader political arrangements and policy mechanisms that condition change and enable success. Rather than looking narrowly at economic institutions or state regulations, this perspective emphasizes the governance relations among firms, across sectors and between economic actors and governments. The concept of the “innovation system” captures the crucial role that knowledge plays in the economy and the importance of collaboration through institutional processes of social and policy learning operating at multiple geographic scales from the local to the supranational. Better understanding of the role that knowledge plays in the economy, coupled with new insights into governance and learning models, provides a framework to assess the alignment of public, private and community resources supporting innovation. Surveying processes of economic transformation underway in many local and regional innovation systems across OECD countries, the chapter offers ideas for strengthening knowledge platforms in the economy, community and government.