The role of innovative hubs in building community resilience

PhD Thesis

Renando, Chad. 2020. The role of innovative hubs in building community resilience. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.

The role of innovative hubs in building community resilience

TypePhD Thesis
AuthorRenando, Chad
1. FirstProf Retha Wiesner
2. SecondDr Aastha Malhotra
3. Third Char-lee Moyle
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages402
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Innovation ecosystems are presumed to be beneficial for local communities. Actors in roles of financial capital, government, incubators, education, research, and entrepreneurs collaborate to realise economic and social outcomes. These outcomes are expected to influence community resilience, defined in this research as economic, built environment/infrastructure, social and individual, and institutional resources that allow a community to thrive in conditions of uncertainty. Driven in part by these expectations, there has been significant growth in the Queensland innovation ecosystem. This growth includes the establishment and management of innovation hubs.

Yet there remains limited empirical evidence within literature demonstrating the link between innovation ecosystems and community resilience outcomes (Bristow & Healy, 2018; Simmie, 2014). There is also ambiguity in the constructs of the innovation ecosystem, innovation hubs, and community resilience. The emerging and socially constructed nature of the innovation ecosystem makes applying existing models to address this ambiguity through research difficult, as the models may not reflect the reality of those in a local community.

This research took a systems theory approach using actor network theory and critical realism to understand the role of the innovation hub in the innovation ecosystem, the contribution of the innovation ecosystem on community resilience, and the contribution of the innovation hub on community resilience. This was achieved through a literature review, assessment of the Australian context, and 147 interviews with roles across 16 regions in Queensland, Australia. Interviews were performed using an appreciative inquiry approach. Data was coded based on actors and roles, the sentiment as a benefit or barrier for the contributing and receiving role, and the expected impacted community resilience indicator. Results were analysed using social network analysis.

This research suggests that the innovation ecosystem and the innovation hub have an enabling and inhibiting contribution towards community resilience. The innovation hub performs functions that are core to its services for innovation and entrepreneur outcomes, internal to operational capability and capacity, external influence to work with the local ecosystem, and external concern where it may not be involved but impacts outcomes. The interaction of the innovation hub with other roles is reviewed to consider strategies to influence the impact on community resilience.

This research advances the body of knowledge through the relationships between the three constructs of the innovation ecosystem, the innovation hub, and community resilience, as well as the application of systems theory, actor network theory and critical realism for innovation ecosystems. Policy can benefit from guidance on planning and development related to multiple innovation ecosystem roles. Finally, practitioners can use the results to develop strategies and build sustainability into their business models.

KeywordsInnovation ecosystem, community resilience, innovation hub, actor network theory, critical realism, systems theory
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020350704. Entrepreneurship
330408. Strategic, metropolitan and regional planning
350705. Innovation management
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Management and Enterprise
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