Innovation hub, innovation cluster, innovation system, regional innovation ecosystem, accelerator, living lab, innovation milieu… Have you googled any of these terms lately?
With the emergence of conversations on innovation in Canada, aligning with trends globally, these terms have been used (often interchangeably) to describe what regions, provinces and countries are working to achieve.
In the health and aging sector, the DRiVE team, working for AGE-WELL, investigate the partnerships and linkages among researchers, policy-makers, practitioners, industry, and citizens that are required to support health-tech and age-tech development, evaluation, commercialization and implementation. We have found ourselves perplexed by the lack of consistency in the terminology in this space.
We are working to resolve this confusion by building a taxonomy of innovation in the health and aging sector.
What we know at this point is that many of these concepts are nested and possibly hierarchical. However, some of these entities can stand alone- for example, it is unlikely that in the health innovation sector you would find an innovation hub, without a regional innovation ecosystem (RIE) or regional innovation systems (RIS) (which we know are synonymous terms).
We have reviewed the literature in this area and are now reaching out to self-described innovation hubs, clusters, and systems globally who are working in the health and aging space. We plan to learn from them about the decisions they make in the language they use to describe their actions and objectives.
So, are you like us and tangled up in all of this terminology? Are you tired of just googling around and want to have your say? We’d be delighted to hear from you.