Seminarreihe  /  04. März 2020, 15:00

Municipal Innovation: What is it? Why is it relevant? Can its effects extend beyond the local?

Am 4. März 2020 ist Prof. Richard Shearmur im Rahmen der Seminarreihe zu Gast am Fraunhofer ISI. Der Vortrag »Municipal Innovation: What is it? Why is it relevant? Can its effects extend beyond the local?« beginnt um 15 Uhr.

Die ISI-Seminarreihe bündelt spannende Themen aus dem Portfolio des Fraunhofer ISI und bietet in regelmäßigen Abständen Gelegenheit zu Diskussion und Austausch.


Municipal innovation remains an ill-defined and understudied topic. In this presentation I will discuss why this is the case, then propose a definition of municipal innovation and a conceptual description of the innovation process.

At first glance the process closely resembles the Schumpeterian innovation process usually applied to SMEs: but the key to understanding municipal innovation lies not in these similarities but in the differences. The actors are different, the motivation to innovate is different, the way in which innovations are evaluated is different. This will be discussed drawing on examples from Québec's municipal innovation awards that have been running since 2004.

To conclude, the question of whether municipal innovation is relevant in an age of monopolistic platforms, rising intra-national inequalities and global climate crisis: as the lowest and least powerful level of government, why bother studying municipal innovation?


Prof. Richard Shearmur
OUQ, MCIP, Director of McGill School of Urban Planning, McGill University

After working in real-estate for five years in the early 1990s and taking a Master's in Urban Planning (1996) and a PhD in Economic Geography (1999), Richard Shearmur's research has focused on urban and regional economic development and local policy making.

In this context he explored the link between innovation in SMEs, clusters, geographic isolation and local development. His most recent research examines how municipalities, as public organizations, innovate, and how this resembles – but also differs from – innovation in SMEs.

He has published over 100 peer reviewed papers in journals such as Regional Studies, Environment & Planning A, Growth & Change and Urban Studies, and two of his recent books focus on innovation, regions and municipalities. His is a professional urban planner, and is currently director of McGill’s School of Urban Planning.