Spatial patterns of innovation: placing Regional Australia in the national innovation system (16586)
Knowledge development and innovation have become critical platforms for improving Australia’s productivity and, in turn, global economic competitiveness. Increasing interest in understanding Australia’s regional innovation systems, has taken innovation outside of corporate realm to recognise the contribution of a wide range of community, industry and institutional actors and processes. The propensity to innovate is unevenly distributed within an economy being inherently linked to the geographic network properties of knowledge spillovers and social capital. Whilst the majority of research has focussed on understanding the demographic and spatial characteristics of metropolitan regions of innovation, there continues to be limited studies of innovation in sparsely populated locations, such as regional Australia. Consequently, there is limited knowledge regarding the position of regional towns in the national innovation system despite the large number of people both working and residing in them.
This presentation reports the findings of research exploring the spatial geometries of innovation across regional Australia. It does so by examining the relationship between intermediate technological innovation (measured by OECD patent data), worker connectivity (measured by an index of all in- and out-commuting movements throughout Australia) and residential population size for the local government areas (LGAs) of regional Western Australia. It finds distinct patterns of innovation associated with LGAs of greatest out-commuting rather than in-commuting populations, suggesting social capital connectivity differentials between LGAs.