The IPL newsletter: Volume 14, Issue 283

News from the IPL


This newsletter is published by The Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, and sponsored by the Ministry of Research and Innovation. The views and ideas expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Ontario Government.


Canadian Government Launches Key Aerospace and Defense Projects

Industry Canada
The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Industry, recently announced the launch of the new Technology Demonstration Program, a key Economic Action Plan 2013 commitment. This program will fund large-scaletechnology demonstration projects that typically require the integration of several different technologies and the coordination of activities of many partners. This announcement kicks off the initial call for project proposals, with statements of interest for the first intake into this new program due by December 6, 2013. Approved projects will be announced by fall 2014.

Obama Administration Announce USD7 Million in Grants and Investments to Revitalize American Manufacturing

U.S. Economic Development Administration
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, along with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, and Acting Small Business Administrator Jeanne A. Hulit, recently announced the winners of the first funding phase of the “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” (IMCP), an Obama Administration initiative that will help accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in the United States and create jobs in cities across the country. The $7 million in grants and other investments being announced today are the first round of funding in a major reform effort to reward communities for creating globally competitive environments that attract, retain, and expand investment in manufacturing and spur international trade and exports.

Editor's Pick

MIT Commission Findings: Production in an Innovation Economy and Making in America: From Innovation to Market

SSTI Weekly Digest
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Production in an Innovation Economy (PIE) Commission released its findings from two years of research on how to remove the barriers that prevent the U.S. from turning its strengths in science and research into jobs, businesses and products. In order to ensure that American innovations reach the marketplace, the U.S. must rebuild its manufacturing sector, with particular focus on improving the support ecosystem for smaller advanced manufacturing firms, according to the commission. The commission’s recommendations include a variety of public-private partnerships and industry-university collaborations to drive innovation and commercialization across the country. The PIE study centers on two key questions: what are the production capabilities in the U.S. and abroad that are vital to sustaining and exploiting technological innovation; and, what are the resources and linkages required to deliver innovations to the market. This exploration, conducted with statistical data and firm-level interviews with senior managers at different sites around the country, examined the role of capital, labor, facilities and expertise resources in supporting the flow of commercialization. While preliminary findings from the commission study were released earlier this year, two new books use the study to examine several decades of U.S. decline in the manufacturing sector and to lay out a blueprint for industry renewal.

Innovation Policy

3 Questions: Suzanne Berger on Turning Innovation Into Growth

Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office
Since 2011, MIT faculty from several disciplines have collaborated on a unique research project, Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE); the aim is to see how U.S. strengths in innovation can be turned into new production capabilities, to spur growth and new jobs. Their findings will be presented at an MIT conference. This article contains an interview with Suzanne Berger, the Raphael Dorman-Helen Starbuck Professor of Political Science at MIT and a co-chair of the PIE Commission, about the effort. 

Are Robots Taking our Jobs, Or Making Them?

Ben Miller and Robert D. Atkinson, ITIF
This report analyzes the “robots are killing our jobs” arguments, shows how they are constructed on faulty analysis, examines the extensive economic literature on the relationship between employment and productivity, and explains the logic of how higher productivity leads to more jobs. We show that more technology benefits not just the economy overall, but also workers: more and better technology is essential to U.S. competitiveness and higher living standards. The claim that increased productivity eliminates jobs is misguided speculation.

Does Offshoring Hurt Domestic Innovation Activities?

Bernhard Dachs, Bernd Ebersberger, Steffen Kinkel and Oliver Som, VOX
European offshoring mostly involves factory jobs, but some worry that innovation will soon follow. This column shows that offshoring firms employ more people in R&D and design, introduce new products more frequently, and invest more frequently in advanced process technologies compared to non-offshoring firms. Concerns that offshoring may hurt innovation because of the lost links between production and product development are not supported by the evidence.

U.S. High-Skilled Immigration, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Empirical Approaches and Evidence

William R. Kerr, Harvard Business School
High-skilled immigrants are a very important component of U.S. innovation and entrepreneurship. Immigrants account for roughly a quarter of U.S. workers in these fields, and they have a similar contribution in terms of output measures like patents or firm starts. This contribution has been rapidly growing over the last three decades. In terms of quality, the average skilled immigrant appears to be better trained to work in these fields, but conditional on educational attainment of comparable quality to natives. The exception to this is that immigrants have a disproportionate impact among the very highest achievers (e.g., Nobel Prize winners). Studies regarding the impact of immigrants on natives tend to find limited consequences in the short-run, while the results in the long-run are more varied and much less certain. Immigrants in the United States aid business and technology exchanges with their home countries, but the overall effect that the migration has on the home country remains unclear. We know very little about return migration of workers engaged in innovation and entrepreneurship, except that it is rapidly growing in importance.

The Role of Twitter in the Life Cycle of a Scientific Publication

Emily Darling, David Shiffman, Isabelle C?té, Joshua DrewQueen’s University

Twitter is a micro-blogging social media platform for short messages that can have a long-term impact on how scientists create and publish ideas.  This team investigate the usefulness of Twitter in the development and distribution of scientific knowledge.  At the start of the ‘life cycle’ of a scientific publication, Twitter provides a large virtual department of colleagues that can help to rapidly generate, share and refine new ideas. As ideas become manuscripts, Twitter can be used as an informal arena for the pre-review of works in progress. Finally, tweeting published findings can communicate research to a broad audience of other researchers, decision makers, journalists and the general public that can amplify the scientific and social impact of publications. However, there are limitations, largely surrounding issues of intellectual property and ownership, inclusiveness and misrepresentations of science ‘sound bites’. Nevertheless, the authors believe Twitter is a useful social media tool that can provide a valuable contribution to scientific publishing in the 21st century.

Invention Diffusion and Linear Models of Innovation

Benoit Godin
There exist two sequential or linear models of innovation in the literature. One is the “linear model of innovation” as such. The model comes from management and economics, and their concern with studying the origin of inventions. The other model, of which the linear model of innovation is one part or step, is that of innovation as a process of invention followed by diffusion. This “model”, or rather the theory on which it is based, comes from anthropology and was invented as a solution to a controversy on the role of invention and diffusion in explaining culture change. The sequence ‘invention → diffusion’ has remained influential in later studies of technological innovation from sociology to management and economics. This paper documents the origin of the sequence and its subsequent use in the study of technological innovation.

Cities, Clusters & Regions

Export Nation 2013

Brad McDerman, Ryan Donahue and Nick Marchio, The Brookings Institution
Strong export performance over the past several years has played a central role in the ongoing economic recovery in the United States, particularly in the largest metro areas. The top 100 metro areas alone account for 64 percent of the nation’s total exports and all but one of the top 100 metros saw an increase in exports from 2003 to 2012. While growth has been strong, the United States is more than $200 billion below the administration’s goal to double exports in five years. Only 12 of the top 100 metro areas have maintained the 15 percent annual growth rate required to double exports, suggesting that there is significant potential for the expansion of exports at the metro level.

Statistics & Indicators

MetroMonitor – September 2013

The Brookings Institution
This updated version of Metro Monitor tracks the performance of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, presenting data for four key indicators—jobs, unemployment, gross product, and home prices—over three time periods: the recession, the recovery, and the full course of the recession from the pre-recession period to most recent quarter.

Comparative Benchmarking of European and U.S. Research Collaboration and Researcher Mobility

Science Europe and Elsevier’s SciVal Analytics
This report focuses on the extent to which research collaboration and researcher mobility patterns differ between Europe and the United States, based on analysis of the Scopus publication database. This comparison is made by exploring both the extent to which academics collaborate on research papers and the amount of researcher mobility within Europe or within the U.S. and beyond, based on author affiliations. In particular, the report focuses on whether there is as much collaboration between countries in Europe as there is between states in the U.S. The first study of its type, it serves as a benchmark against which future collaborations can be compared.

Policy Digest

Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Around the World and Company Growth Dynamics

World Economic Forum
According to more than 1,000 entrepreneurs surveyed for the report, three factors are important for the companies – accessible markets, human capital/workforce, and funding and finance. Rapidly growing entrepreneurial companies are important sources of innovation, increased productivity and employment. According to the report, they are also key drivers of economic and social progress. The report includes case studies from different geographical regions that reflect the impact economic policies can have on entrepreneurs.

Summary of Findings

1. Major differences in entrepreneurial ecosystems exist from one region to the next. While entrepreneurs do consider expansion opportunities beyond their country or region, there is a potential alignment issue with governments who often adopt a strong country/regional focus in their entrepreneurial ecosystem policies.

2. Entrepreneurs view three areas of an entrepreneurial ecosystem as being of pivotal importance – accessible markets, human capital/workforce and funding & finance. This report is the first large-scale study of ecosystems that systematically examines which pillars of an ecosystems matter most to entrepreneurs when it comes to the growth of their companies. A potential alignment issue can arise between the time horizon of an entrepreneur and the time horizon of a politician, with the latter’s typically following the electoral cycle.

3. In most regions, often only a small number of breakout companies are the dominant contributors to a healthy, growing early-stage company sector. There are also substantially more similarities than differences in the issues facing entrepreneurs around the globe. These similar issues can be observed in all regions and have an impact on the major growth accelerators as well as the major growth challenges for early-stage companies.

4. Large companies in the overall business ecosystem have the potential to provide important leverage for early-stage companies in their growth and development. However, the relationship is subject to minefields, swamps and choppy waters. The report highlights areas for productive relationships as well as areas where the relationship can inhibit growth or even be the source of revenue and job losses in an early-stage company.

5. Entrepreneurs themselves can play multiple important roles in the build-out of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Using case studies from Endeavor, five important roles are illustrated – mentorship, inspiration, investment, new founders and new employees.

6. Government and regulatory policies are viewed by entrepreneurs as both potential growth accelerators and potential growth inhibitors. The report highlights examples of case studies from different geographical regions that reflect both the positive and negative impact economic policies can have on entrepreneurs. In some cases, entrepreneurs believe that government/regulatory policies aimed at supporting economic growth can actually be counterproductive to the growth of their early-stage company.


City Age: The Innovation City

Waterloo Region, 9-10 October, 2013
Join business leaders and city builders from across Canada and abroad to explore the partnerships in urban design, infrastructure development, research and urban resiliency that are the foundations of an innovation economy. Timed to coincide with North America’s largest Oktoberfest celebration, this two day event will provide a practical look at the steps your community, company, or organisation can take to lead in the 21st Century.

2nd European Colloquium on Culture, Creativity and the Economy

Berlin, Germany, 10-11 October, 2013
During the past decades myriad links between culture, creativity and economic practice have become major topics of interdisciplinary debates. No longer restricted to a few sectors, there is a growing consensus that the intersections between these spheres and symbolic and culturally embedded values in particular, pervade the global economy. Indeed, the formerly distinct logics of the cultural and the economic have become increasingly indiscernible. Similarly, the notion of creativity, once used to express exceptional talent, activities and outcomes, is now considered a key component to success in all fields of economic activity. At the same time, the Internet has revolutionized the conditions under which cultural production and distribution as well as creative collaboration can be undertaken. Despite the high degree of uncertainty about future developments, policy makers as well as business managers are highly optimistic, if not enthusiastic, about the ability of symbolic values and creativity to drive sustained economic growth and regional development. This colloquium will take up and continue an international and interdisciplinary debate on these topics.

Higher Education Institutions and Regional Development

Mönchengladbach, Germany, 14-15 October, 2013
Niederrhein Institute for Regional and Structural Research (NIERS) hosts 3rd ERSA International Workshop. Topic isHigher Education Institutions and Regional Development”. The event takes place at Hochschule Niederrhein – University of Applied Sciences in Mönchengladbach, 14-15 October 2013. The final program will be available shortly.

8th International Seminar on Regional Innovation Policies

Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain, 10-11 October, 2013

This will be the latest in the stream of annual seminars that began in Porto in 2006 and have since been hosted in Saltzburg, Santander, Edinburgh, Grimstad, Lund and again in Porto (2012). These seminars have placed strong emphasis on regions as a key unit for policy analysis, highlighting the role that regional innovation policies can play in building sustainable competitive advantages. At a time when regions across Europe are adapting to new realities brought about by a deep and widespread economic downturn, changing environmental constraints and emerging social challenges, it is more critical than ever to analyze the roles and impacts of regional innovation policies. The seminar provides a meeting point for researchers, policy-makers, academics, practitioners and doctoral students interested in issues related to regional innovation policy, regional competitiveness and regional development. You are invited to present and discuss the results of cutting-edge applied research, and to join in learning together how to better understand regional innovation dynamics and how policies can orient these dynamics towards meeting existing and future regional challenges.

Aerospace Innovation Forum

Montreal, 2-4 December, 2013
In a highly competitive global market where environmental regulations are tightening, innovation remains a major competitive advantage for companies. However, to position themselves on future aircraft programs and in the supply chains of major OEMs, companies need new approaches. Instead of working in a silo with the sole aim of creating new products, innovation must now be pursued in a global and systematic way. It must be at the very heart of companies’ critical activities, encompassing design, manufacturing and operations, as well as end-of-life product management. Companies must also innovate in the way they finance new projects and manage, organize and train human resources. These complementary challenges will be discussed in more detail during the Aero Financing and Aero Training seminars that will be held on the third day of the Aerospace Innovation Forum 2013.

DRUID Academy Conference 2014 

Aalborg, Denmark, 15-17 January, 2014
The conference is open for all PhD students working within the broad field of economics and management of innovation, entrepreneurship and organizations. We invite papers aiming at enhancing our understanding of the dynamics of technological, structural and institutional change at the level of firms, industries, regions and nations. DRUID is the node for an open international network – new partners are most welcome. We encourage all PhD students to submit their research to the conference. Do not hesitate to apply even if you have not been in contact with DRUID previously. The main emphasis is on PhD presentations. Each PhD student paper will be assigned to a “junior” (a fellow PhD student) and to a senior discussant (from DRUID faculty or invited guests). There will also be a series of keynote speakers in the program. The details of the program, titles of keynote presentations etc. will be continuously updated at the DRUID homepage.

The Geography of Innovation

Utrecht, The Netherlands, 23-25 January, 2014
This conference provides a forum for discussion to scholars and practitioners interested in scientific, policy and strategic issues concerning the spatial dimension of innovation activities. The main objective of this event is to bring together reserachers from a variety of disciplines ranging from economic geography, economics, management science, sociology, network theory, regional science and urban studies. The conference invites contributions in a wide range of topics underlying the geography of innovation, such as: global and local dynamics of innovation; science and technology policy; cluster competitiveness; firms R&D strategies; entrepreneurships; innovation systems; sustainable and social innovation; industrial dynamics and innovation networks.

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This newsletter is prepared by Jen Nelles.
Project manager is David A. Wolfe.