The Brookings report on the rise of innovation districts (http://www.brookings.edu/about/programs/metro/innovation-districts), and other sources, detail how regions across developed economies in the USA, UK, Europe and now Australia are diversifying through creative industries.
- It’s important to get the balanced scorecard right
Benefits have to be assessed on long-term and sustainable growth and social values eg community infrastructure
- The important role of universities
Government can clear the way and support, but only universities can help convene all stakeholders, lending knowledge, infrastructure, people and of course, developing skills for graduates to be successful in the burgeoning sector
- Developing an innovation district doesn’t mean not taking risks
But if partners set some parameters early that will capture momentum
And the benefits of creative industry to a region moving on from a reliance on industries such as mining and heavy manufacturing are transformative:
- Revitalised city centres not only preserve historic charm, but can reduce environmental footprints
- Engaged, connected communities are healthier and happier
– especially important as developed economies have ageing populations
- Innovation districts attract smart younger workers
– ditto – see point above
What’s critical to make it happen are to put in place the right shapers and doers, the impresarios of contemporary ideas and industries. Then watch the transformation happen.