Learning to Innovate: Building Regional Technology Development Learning Networks in Midsized Cities

Philip Shapira, Jan Youtie
2008 European Planning Studies  
There has been increased attention to the importance of knowledge in economic success. The ability of a region to develop learning capabilities has been linked to knowledge-based success. However, conflicting perspectives exist about whether and how it is possible for policies and institutions in a lagging location to foster a learning region. This article examines this debate in the context of an effort to develop a second region of innovation (outside of Atlanta) in the US state of Georgia
more » ... state of Georgia through a learning network called the Midsize Cities Technology Development Initiative. This initiative partnered four midsized cities in Georgia with four European midsized cities to stimulate benchmarking and learning. While traditional perspectives on economic development persist, some learning and reorientation of strategy was evident in the participating US cities. In stimulating these changes, significant roles were played by outsiders in brokering interaction and imparting fresh ideas, in strengthening ties to research and innovation capabilities in the core Atlanta metropolis, and in building new local institutions. A major new state-sponsored program (the Centers of Innovation) with local presence in each of the four cities resulted from the effort. Still, it remains to be seen how learning will continue and whether a fully-fledged second region of innovation will emerge in the Georgia. iii Acknowledgements This paper has benefited from helpful comments from colleagues in the Georgia Centers of Innovation program including Don Betts,
doi:10.1080/09654310802401631 fatcat:ymyfd2fapbcpxc5scy6odbo33q