Innovation ZoneCities with an eye on the future know that cultivating innovation ecosystems is an essential part of helping their region stay competitive globally. Innovation Zones, also called Research and Innovation Clusters, are efficient, creative networks of people, resources and businesses driven by research and entrepreneurial spirit.  

We are living in the age of the Innovation Zone.  The most competitive cities in the world have vibrant innovation districts, typically centered around key tenants such as universities and colleges, cornerstone industries, and start-up accelerators.  The atmosphere is competitive yet collaborative—providing the ingredients for creativity and inspiration—where research ideas are translated into successful commercial applications.

It is true that towns and cities across North America are scrambling to establish their own Innovation Zones.  In Canada, many larger cities like Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Ottawa and Waterloo have had a 15 to 20-year head start. As such, they enjoy well-resourced and internationally recognized ecosystems that are producing globally competitive companies and top-tier talent.  Smaller cities are playing catch-up.

Designing, establishing and growing an Innovation Zone is challenging; there are far more examples of failed zones than successful ones.  Taking the right steps early on can make the difference. 

Doran Strategic Consulting has first hand experience designing and cultivating high-potential Innovation Zones.  Explore the Case Studies (below) to learn more about these projects and how the partners worked collaboratively to embrace a common vision and pursue milestones that foster regional economic prosperity.

Key Words: Innovation Cluster; Collaborative Partnerships; Economic Development; Research; Talent Development; Global Business