The Local Innovation Systems Project (LIS), an international research partnership based at the Industrial Performance Center (IPC) at MIT and conducted between 2002-2005, addressed a central issue confronting industrial practitioners and economic policymakers throughout the world: How can local economic communities survive and prosper in the rapidly changing global economy?
The particular focus of this project was on the role of innovation – in products, services, and processes – in promoting productivity growth and competitive advantage at the local and regional levels. National and local governments around the world, as well as other institutions with an interest in economic development, are greatly interested in creating and sustaining local environments that are attractive for innovation. Firms, too, recognize that their innovation performance is affected by their location.
The LIS project investigated the roles of universities and other public research institutions as creators, receptors, and interpreters of innovation and ideas; as sources of human capital; and as key components of social infrastructure and social capital. The project also examined different approaches to individual and institutional leadership in locally-based systems of innovation. In later phases of our research we hope to explore the process of enterprise growth and the ability of different locations to attract and retain innovating firms.
The findings from the LIS project were published in 2005 in a summary report.