Monday, September 15, 2014

No Innovation Without Migration: Do Places Make People?

People make places innovative, not places make people innovative at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Innovation geography

Subject Article: "Scientific ties that bind?"

Other Links: 1. "Growth, innovation, scaling, and the pace of life in cities."
2. "Turning Buffalo from a Rust Belt City into a Start-up City."

Postscript: I'm spending a lot of time exploring theories about innovation geography because I'm trying to understand how universities can spur regional economic redevelopment. I hypothesize that migration is missing from the policy analysis and discussion. Could migration be driving Rust Belt urban redevelopment?


Dave said...

The "increased collisions" that are mentioned in one of the articles you cite, are misunderstood by many people, it seems. They seem to think these collisions are accidental, serendipitous meetings that just happen to take place at the laundromat or bar. This is not how it happens. It's not "density" so much as "industry clusters" being dense. You've made the same point in the past with your posts on workplace density as opposed to residential density. What happens, naturally, is people in the same "field" from different enterprises going to the same user group meetings, vendor presentations, classes, and, yes, parties (co-worker invites me over to her house for a party, she used to work for XX Inc, she invited some of her old friends from XX too, I met and spoke with them: they're doing this interesting thing over there, etc). There is nothing accidental about this, it isn't luck, it's the way things happen naturally. Also, as you've mentioned in the past, people changing jobs plays into this.

As far as universities, they often host seminars, meetings, obviously classes. The big unis also have money. If they're a uni that's created spin-off businesses from their research then the people working for the spin-off undoubtedly still have connections back to the uni, keeping them up on the latest going on over there, and vice-versa. I'd imagine if the uni is big enough, it can enable quite a lot of 'collisions' by itself.

Jim Russell said...


If you are referring to the Buffalo piece, I agree that the writer misinterpreted the academic piece he cited. This "lost in translation" bit is quite common. But that's not the crux of the debate. I'm focusing on the academic understanding of innovation geography.