MSSI Oration 2018

Elisabeth Murdoch Theatre G06, Spencer Rd, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010

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

Has innovation turned into a solution looking for a problem? Or have we lost track of the purpose of innovation? How can we harness the potential of innovation as concept and practice to enhance its social value and put it to purpose in building resilience in the face of multiple sustainability crises?

Drawing on examples from (Resilient) Melbourne and across the world, the oration argues for and illustrates 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.

About the Speaker

Professor Lars Coenen is the inaugural ‘City of Melbourne Chair of Resilient Cities’. Lars seeks to strengthen Melbourne’s role as a leader in knowledge based urban resilience and leverage opportunities for collaborative research between universities and cities.

Lars is an interdisciplinary scholar cross-cutting the fields of innovation studies and economic geography. He is well-known internationally for his work on regional and urban innovation and, more recently, for his pioneering research on the geography of environmental innovation and sustainability transitions. His research interests converge around the geography of innovation: where does innovation happen and why there? What makes cities and regions innovative and to what purpose? What is the role of policy to foster place-based development and innovation?