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Innovation within the Context of Local Economic Development and Planning: Perspectives of City Practitioners

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2021, 15:07 by Selina Phan, Evan Cleave, Godwin Arku
Although innovation is a major theme in current local economic development and planning, there is considerable uncertainty of what the concept specifically means, how it is measured, and how outcomes are identified. To date, no study has investigated this glaring gap in scholarship. To address this gap, we interviewed economic development practitioners across cities in Ontario to identify and clarify how they define, apply, and measure innovation within their cities’ economic development strategies. Practitioners indicate that innovation plays a key role in their cities’ economic development strategy, demonstrating the importance of the concept within local governments. Additionally, it is clear that local governments are key facilitators of innovation. While many cities claim to have some form of innovation in their economic development strategies, a wide range of framings and approaches to innovation exist. Cities may not be taking the most efficient approach to fostering local innovation, which is critical with the rise of knowledge-based economic development. Keywords cities; economic development; innovation; Ontario; policy; practitioners