The ‘geography of innovation’ field has evolved beyond economic geography to encompass different disciplines including regional and innovation studies political science, (business) economics and gender studies. #GeoInno2020 was a gathering of geographers, political scientists, economists and experts from diverse knowledge communities discussing and sharing the spatial challenges that HEIs, firms, governments and societal actors face in handling innovation in global competitive markets.
Multiple sessions embodied this multidisciplinary spirit. I chaired on panel on the globalisation of innovation and knowledge. Sara Aramosa´s paper “Are Mergers & Acquisitions the New Research & Development? Evidence from World Top R&D Investors” particularly caught my attention. What was particularly interesting was it suggested a paradigm shift, away from corporate R&D through internal scientific efforts in wider regional networks, to one of large firms purchasing innovations developed by innovative start-ups and spin-offs. That slightly contradicted my own paper´s findings showing local university networks remain important to corporate innovation processes.
Mercedes Delgado from Copenhagen Business School and MIT gave a quite inspirational Keynote on the gender gap in inventorship, calling for changes towards including women in the innovation economy and culture in particular within universities.
I find myself working on today’s dominant technoeconomic (and quantitative) stream, and see reluctance to that emerging in the present. What’s challenging about this multidisciplinary, transversal development is avoiding underestimating any contribution, particularly from other disciplinary backgrounds, and appreciating all the works in the field that can potentially address these urgent and interesting questions.