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As with all community development action, forethought in adopting an innovation strategy is essential for success, and dependence on one actor should be viewed with caution. Attracting one big tech company could effectively stop all sorts of innovation in a community, outside the factory walls. Its presence is no guarantee whatsoever for enhancing the quality of governance or the importance of innovation in development. As often, such dependence on one player makes other actors stop thinking critically, and fosters concentration problems. This is even true for an organization focused on the creation and transfer of knowledge, like a college or university, or a research institute. Creating an innovation park only makes sense under very specific conditions, which cannot be easily manufactured. Bringing companies and research organizations close to each other does not always generate the creativity and open innovation needed to benefit the community as a whole. Improving the quality of self-analysis and the understanding of different sorts of innovation, however, is always possible. Carefully mapping out the innovative actors present in the community or potentially attracted to it, actors active in different aspects of innovation, is a worthwhile task, not a waste of time, just as the analysis of existing links between those actors, and a reflection on how to intensify and render more productive those linkages will support an informed community strategy. We can speak of an innovation network and a governance network, which can be mapped and deliberately made to overlap more, to connect more, so that reflection on and fostering of innovation can become more deeply embedded in governance and conscious strategizing within the community.

9. Growing, centering, free margin Several classic strategies of dealing with boom and bust cycles share the understanding that more people generate more resources, do more things, and once a community expands past a certain size, it cannot be hit as hard by downturns. Growing, in other words, is the best protection against a downturn. We tend to disagree. All communities have to decide for themselves what they see as a desirable size, but it is easy to point to places across the world where rapid growth, planned and unplanned, did not lead to improved quality of life or prosperity. Setting targets for growth is not the same as actual development goals. Soviet planning produced large cities in harsh places, cities that are now unsustainable, and their deterioration is a catastrophe of epic proportions. Size itself does not embody diversity

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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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