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Being innovative is widely seen as paramount for competitiveness, economic growth and prosperity.  Large city-regions offer the diversity and dense concentrations of people, firms, and institutions with global reaches.1 On the other hand, rural regions and smaller cities and regions located on the periphery are often ignored or perceived as unfavourable places for innovation to thrive.2 These regions are often described as ‘locked-in’ or institutionally ‘thin’.3 Yet, there is a growing movement to understand and pursue strategies for innovation in more rural and peripheral regions.4

The Advancing Innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador project (AINL) helps to build on these insights for rural and peripheral regions.  It describes and analyzes what is working and what is not in terms of innovation strategies across the Province (locally, provincially and nationally).  The initial phase of AINL included a series of Innovation Workshops across the Province in the early summer of 2013.  Sessions were held in Kittiwake Region, Labrador Straits, Northern Peninsula, Corner Brook and St. John’s.  An Innovation Summit was held in St. John’s on October 10, 2013.  The meetings brought together researchers, industry, industry associations, community leaders and all levels of government to discuss the advancement of innovation across Newfoundland and Labrador.  The overall goal of the initial phase of AINL was to synthesize, share, and ground-truth knowledge related to innovation and ways it can be fostered with key participants in the Province.

What can industry associations, firms, governments, Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic do to advance innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador?  The AINL team did not want the dialogue to end upon the completion of the Innovation Summit and phase 1 of the project.  This website is a result of the team’s desire to keep the conversation alive and to provide a medium to share information and remain connected.  It is the hope of the AINL team that many new opportunities for collaboration and conversation will be spun from this AINL initiative.

This website evolves from a partnership between the Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre located on Grenfell Campus, Memorial University (Corner Brook) and the Harris Centre, Memorial University (St. John’s).  If you have any ideas for additional information that can be posted on this site, or if you wish to submit an article for posting, please contact Sean St. George, Navigate Program Manager, at submit@innovationnl.ca.

1 Wolfe, D.A. 2009. 21st Century Cities in Canada: The Geography of Innovation.  The 2009 CIBC Scholar-in-Residence Lecture.  Ottawa: Conference Board of Canada

2 Polese, M., Shearmur, R., Desjardins, P.M. and Johnson, M. 2002.  The Periphery in the Knowledge Economy:  The Spatial Dynamics of the Canadian Economy and the Future of Non-Metropolitan Regions in Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces.  Montreal and Moncton: Institut national de la recherche scientifique and the Canadian Institute for Research and Regional Development; Johnstone, H. and Haddow, R. 2003.  Industrial Decline and High Technology Renewal in Cape Breton: Exploring the Limits of the Possible. In D.A. Wolfe (ed) Clusters Old and New:  The Transition to a Knowledge Economy in Canada’s Regions (pp. 187-212).  Montreal and Kingston:  McGill-Queen’s University Press; Hall, H.M. and Donald. B. 2009.  Innovation and creativity on the periphery: challenges and opportunities in Northern Ontario.  Working Paper Series: Ontario in the Creative Age.  REF.  2009-WPONT-002; Fitjar, R.D. and Rodriguez-Pose, A. 2011.  Innovating in the Periphery: Firms, Values and Innovation in Southwest Norway.  European Planning Studies, 19(4): 555-574.

3 Todtling, F.  and Tripple, F. 2005.  One size fits all?  Towards a differential regional innovation policy approach.  Research Policy, 34: 1203-1219.

4 Doloreux, D. and Dionne, S. 2008.  Is regional innovation system development possible in peripheral regions?  Some evidence from the case of La Pocatiere, Canada and Dionne, S. 2008.  Is regional innovation system development possible in peripheral regions?  Some evidence from the case of La Pocatiere, Canada.  Entrepreneurship & Regional Development: An International Journal, 20(3): 259-283; Coates, K. 2012. Inclusive Innovation:  What is the Role of Rural and Remote Regions in the Knowledge Economy?  Presentation hosted by the Canadian Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences in partnership with the Canada Foundation for Innovation.