MSSI Oration 2018

Resilience in the Face of Sustainability Crises: is Innovation the Problem or the Solution?

Professor Lars Coenen delivered this year's annual MSSI Oration on Tuesday 20 November. As his research on innovative cities and regions in Europe and Australia shows, Lars highlights that we urgently need to rethink what innovation is and how to go about it.

We need to have a broader understanding of what innovation really is: it’s collective problem-solving, not just something that’s done by heroic entrepreneurs. Even though there is no one-size-fits-all strategy, it will always be a messy process of trial and error, and it will always take time.

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Drawing on examples from (Resilient) Melbourne and across the world, Prof Coenen argued for and illustrated a more capacious understanding of innovation that lifts the gaze beyond high-tech start-ups and commercialising research towards a process of collective deliberation, contested experimentation and messy problem-solving across all sectors in society, especially community. Successful innovation can be at once creative and heroic, and also mundane and conflictual.