As others have explored the city from the perspective of how to make Nashville a healthier, place to live, the Nashville Innovation Project examines how to increase the city's capacity for catalyzing innovative activities using a model based on the World Bank's City Innovation Ecosystem Framework as its lens into the local ecosystem. The role of an innovation ecosystem is to support people to solve problems, generate new ideas, and bringing them to market. The ecosystem includes the following five major components.
- Enabling Environment: The enabling environment serves as the ecosystem's foundation. It encompasses the laws and policies governing business transactions within the region, the culture of a city to inspires and enable its citizens to solve problems, the level of trust between individuals as well as organizations, and the collective purpose that motivates people to work together.
- Physical Infrastructure: The physical infrastructure provides the physicals spaces where business and interactions take place. Their design and relationship to one another influence the formation of the social network. Additionally, it includes access to tools necessary to accomplish specific innovations (i.e., hardware prototyping, biotech research, etc.)
- Capital: Access to financial resources in its many forms enables individuals and organizations to develop and commercialize their ideas.
- Network: The network is the invisible web of connections between individuals, companies, and institutions. They include a mix of strong and weak ties.
- Talent: All of the other components of the framework support the talent that makes innovation possible. Talent is comprised of the people within which all tacit knowledge and know-how are stored. They not only embodies the knowledge within the ecosystem, but it is also the generator of all new ideas. They are the key driver of economic value.
Before dive into each of these components, we will first explore
- The changing economic landscape
- The mechanics of the innovation process
- An overview of the city's industry clusters.
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