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• Communities can make the innovation approach more flexible and context-sensitive by thinking in terms of academic, technical, economic, and social innovation, and of the relationships between them. • Some expertise will not attract many new companies, but can be useful in other ways, such as contributing to innovation and future development. • Prioritizing some expertise can attract new companies, but of a different sort than you may initially consider. The French city of Aix-en-Provence is famous for its concentration of lawyers and doctors, partly coincidence, partly as the result of policy decisions. Sometimes social innovation, new ways of organizing, can improve quality of life and make social services accessible, which then can attract different activities. Internet infrastructure, networking spots, “third spaces” to work outside home and office will be assets nowadays to open up new possibilities for businesses and distance workers. The possibility for a lifestyle beyond work, in combination with infrastructure, can also attract innovators. For example, the small community of tech business workers in Smithers, BC. This, however requires careful asset mapping, branding, and likely a comprehensive strategy: which lifestyle could fit in the community and be attractive for attractive outsiders? Which places, qualities, activities, networks, and infrastructures are associated with that lifestyle? • Anything new can be sold as innovation, as the future. A new technique to drill oil is innovation, a new accounting scheme at the oil company, a new way to keep more cattle on the grassy foothills of the Rockies, a bigger and more efficient slaughterhouse for the cattle. The agricultural college at Olds. Alberta has been very successful in attracting business to its campus and to the town by presenting itself as a driver of local innovation, producing new knowledge more attuned to local economic needs and encouraging local economic actors to become more knowledge-intensive. Such an entrepreneurial role for higher education is applauded in the innovation and transition literature. At the same time, one cannot forget to analyze why this particularly strategy worked in this particular town, which networks in southern Alberta, which corporate, financial, and political connections enabled the success story. Such critical analysis is not designed to unveil an inconvenient truth or to discourage innovation — it’s a step in understanding what can serve as inspiration in your own place, what not.

Part V: Development approaches for inspiration and guidance

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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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