Decoding the Geography of Innovation

More often than not, innovation springs from social interaction, rather than the romantic notion of the genius in isolation. With this in mind, Jessica Stoller-Conrad and Nancy Shute discuss three important ways in which geography fuels innovation.

"Innovation is a social process, not just an individual process," says says AnnaLee Saxenian, dean of the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley.

In contrast to the enduring notion of the lone genius toiling in isolation to produce breakthroughs in technology and science, Stoller-Conrad and Shute point out that social interaction is a necessary ingredient in speeding incremental improvements in an idea. "People both compete and collaborate to come up with something better," say the authors. "And old-fashioned physical proximity still seems to help the most, even in the age of the Internet."

Stoller-Conrad and Shute go on to explain the role that urbanity, innovation infrastructure, and social connections play in determining which locations provide the right ecosystem to support innovation.

Full Story: 3 Clues To How Geography Fuels Innovation

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