Inspired by a note Leonardo da Vinci wrote
to himself around 1500:
“Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses – especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”
The promise of regional innovation ecosystems is manifest: in the unequal world of innovation and entrepreneurship, the returns to strong innovation capacity and strong entrepreneurial capacity – and ways to connect them - are significant. The wealth and prosperity created in successful innovation ecosystems in the US, Europe and beyond are hard to deny. And yet the challenges of reaching a region's full potential are also clear: who should lead, can all stakeholders be brought to the table, how easily can these parties agree on a shared vision of the future and act accordingly?
This short Working Paper serves as a guide to these efforts, drawing on our research, by emphasizing the important role of all actors in this process and reminding us all that ‘collective action’ among stakeholders is most likely to accelerate the process. We have tried to address the initial puzzle – of why innovation is still so localized, even when the world was supposed to be becoming so flat – and provide advice and options for those who wish to optimize ‘innovation-driven entrepreneurship’ in their specific regions, and build a vibrant innovation ecosystem in their locality.
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