Tschudi årsforelesning: "Expanding and evolving geographies of innovation: existing paradigms, critiques and possible alternatives"
Professor Lars Coenen fra The University of Melbourne holdte årets Tschudi-forelesning ved Institutt for sosiologi og samfunnsgeografi 2018.
Professor Lars Coenen
City of Melbourne Chair in Resilient Cities
Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute,The University of Melbourne
Foto: The University of Melbourne
Tema for forelesningen:
Expanding and evolving geographies of innovation: existing paradigms, critiques and possible alternatives
The importance of knowledge creation and innovation to regional development has made the geography of innovation an area of significant theoretical enquiry and policy advice, not the least in view of the European Union’s Smart Specialisation framework. Over recent decades, this enquiry has made substantial contributions to better understanding the whereabouts of innovation and explaining its spatial dynamics. It has relentlessly criticized ‘one-size-fits-all’ models and instead, developed frameworks that capture the contextual, place-based nature of innovation processes. Where maps of innovation are redrawn due to globalisation, hypermobility and technological advancements in information and communication technology, theory development has readily followed suit.
However, despite its engagement with a varied and ever-changing spatial landscape of innovation, research on the geography of innovation has been less attuned to the rising diversity in forms and manifestations of innovation and its consequences. It becomes increasingly apparent that innovation is bedevilled by ambiguity and contradiction. It is treated as the panacea for many of our grand societal challenges, yet simultaneously conjures up images of undesirable futures and fear—for example in the form of runaway technologies. Indeed, the field of innovation studies is in a state of flux as new and more capacious concepts are beginning to appear, taking the field far beyond its original focus on science, technology and economic development. In recent years, we have witnessed the growth of a vast literature addressing ecological innovation, social innovation, grassroots innovation and responsible research and innovation, all of which are both cause and consequence of a new interest in grand societal challenges and ‘mission-led’ research and innovation.
This lecture will explore what the broadening of what is considered innovation may imply for geography scholars and develop suggestions how we may critically engage with an expanding and evolving notion of innovation. It will do so by reflecting on empirical work on innovation and sustainability transitions in Norway and Sweden, as well as more recent work on innovation projects aimed at building a more resilient Melbourne, as part of the city’s membership in the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities network.