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Geographies of Innovation

Welcome to the first posting, really a test posting, in this new blog. This photograph is of part of an exhibition about geographies of innovation in Paris at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie. The curators of the exhibition attempt to codify what ‘innovation’ means via the development and then mapping of a range of indicators (which are really narrow and select proxy measures of innovation). Examples of indicators include changes over time of patents issued within a designated territory, or new biotechnology firms established within a given window of time in a designated territory. As with the current global ‘benchmarking’ craze, the scale of the mappings is increasingly global, with so-called ‘hotspots’ clearly identified. Needless to say Paris (and France) is shown in a positive way, yet the exhibition also conveys a message that global competition to be on the ‘innovation map’ is severe. The exhibition also focuses on the critical role of universities in spurring on and anchoring innovation within city-regions. While it is not huge, the exhibition is well worth a visit if you are in Paris, especially if you are curious how to get people interested in these types of topics via graphic material. Quite fascinating, though my children clearly thought otherwise!

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