New guide helps planners assess innovation districts

The document is designed to aid in targeting resources toward innovative and inclusive economic development based on an area’s unique strengths and challenges.

March 05, 2018 |

The Brookings Institution launched a new guide to help local leaders assess their innovation districts.

“Assessing your innovation district: A how-to guide,” provides a framework to audit the assets that comprise local innovation ecosystems. The document is designed to aid in targeting resources toward innovative and inclusive economic development based on an area’s unique strengths and challenges.

The framework is centered on a set of key questions:

1. Critical mass: Where are the region’s highest concentrations of innovation assets?

2. Innovation capacity: Is the district leveraging and aligning its distinctive advantages to grow and strengthen firms’ innovation capacity?

3. Diversity and inclusion: Does the district have an inclusive, diverse, and opportunity-rich environment?

4. Quality of place: Does the district have physical and social assets that attract a diversity of firms and people, increase interactions, and accelerate innovation outcomes?

5. Leadership: Does the district have the leadership necessary to succeed?

The guide provides sample methods and data that can be used to answer these questions. It also includes advice on the indicators that innovation district stakeholders can track to gauge their district’s success, along with suggestions for how additional measures could be used to further fuel district growth and development.

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