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knowledge supports industry by identifying strategies for more efficient extraction and processing and tackling its (imposed) task of cleaning up the environment, while simultaneously supporting activists in finding arguments against the industry. The example illustrates right away that “socio technical transitions” (in the words of Leydesdorff) are bound to be contested. Who says where a community or society has to go? And how could the knowledge supporting one view of transition not be contested? A push towards one form of economic development will invite close scrutiny of those who are open to other forms of economic development, and to forms of community development where economic growth might not be the main concern. New, opposing knowledge will develop around this resistance and reinforce it. • In some cases, the companies co-deciding transition policy at regional or national levels are big and few, and then the conversation between politics, academia and business is in fact a corporate monologue. This undermines checks and balances, fair market competition, actual knowledge innovation, and citizen participation in governance. Such innovation approach dominated by the corporate few was tried in the Netherlands, in the years after 2000, when, for a while, all university funding was tied to industry partners, assuming that this would support innovation. After a while, the practice was abandoned because of public outcry, because of the issues identified above. It also became clear that a business park or “innovation campus” did not automatically deliver public goods: the innovation campus rarely triggered or magnified innovation by bringing corporate and academic players together, and if so, that innovation mostly led to private gain. The parks brought in little taxes, as competing municipalities routinely offered big tax incentives to the parks and their residents. Similarly, the innovation consultants promising boom conditions based on their innovative work were selling the same story of unique conditions to all municipalities, hindering their capacity for effective self-analysis. Many of the much lauded “innovation campuses” are empty now, and and the towns that invested in their promises have lost out. Such doom stories should not stop communities from thinking critically about selectively borrowing from innovation strategies. A few things to keep in mind when considering your own innovation strategy: • One big company can never be “the private sector” on its own, whatever the company’s rhetoric is. Helping a gorilla can kill a dozen monkey’s. • Innovation strategies ought to be (as Leydesdorff acknowledges) a matter of multi-level governance, so context analysis can help identify whether there can be support on other scales. 174

Boom and Bust: a guide

Profile for University of Alberta Extension

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

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