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REUTERS/Aziz Taher - Lebanese students dance during "The Big Dance" event in downtown Beirut, near the parliament May 9, 2015.
Metropolitan Revolution

Help shape a global network of innovation districts

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How are two innovation districts in Stockholm successfully melding their tech and life science clusters to create new products?

What can the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in North Carolina teach us about creating strong, vibrant, and innovative places?

How are innovation districts in Australia leveraging government policies and programs to accelerate their development?

Over the last year, members of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking team talked with hundreds of local leaders and practitioners advancing innovation districts in almost every global region. These conversations revealed the remarkable level of creativity and innovative, out-of-the-box thinking being employed to grow individual innovation districts.

In the course of our work, we have been intrigued by the question, is there value to be gained from a global network of innovation districts? To this end, we have reached out to successful global networks in Europe, the United States, and Asia to distill what it takes to make a strong and sustainable global network. Among our findings so far:

  • Network members are solving on-the-ground challenges by talking with and learning from their peers. Several said that these horizontal exchanges are essential to leapfrogging ahead. 
  • Online interaction is growing but network members say that face-to-face contact is critical. Comparing notes, asking questions, and engaging in conversations foster collaboration while maintaining a healthy dose of competition. 
  • The right tools and supports can make all the difference. In networks where participants had full schedules, developing new ways to share intelligence, like early morning webinars or virtual conferences, regular e-newsletters, and simple methods to share data helped facilitate their learning. 

To what extent do you feel that a network of innovation districts might supercharge your own efforts and successes?

It would help our work tremendously if you could complete our on-line survey. It will take two minutes or less!

Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in receiving the latest news from the Bass Initiative, please sign up for our newsletter at this link, http://connect.brookings.edu/bass-initiative-newsletter-signup. Feel free to share it widely.

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