Innovative Places: Methodological Framework for Measuring Environmental Determinants and Operationalizing an Innovation Index (i-Index)

The role of built environment on promoting innovation has been widely discoursed theoretically and empirically. Yet, there is no comprehensive measure of innovation friendliness for cities at the national scale. For any quantitative study on economic and quality-of-life impacts of innovation, we first need a valid and reliable measure of innovation friendliness. In this research the research team considers Innovation, development of the customer demand new products, goods or services. For instance the growing customer demand for the light and highly user friendly laptops is a valid reason to see more innovative computer science corporations, more economically prosper. Therefore the team looks at the occupational innovations between Technological Knowledge Intensive Business Service (T-KIBS) those with high use of scientific and technological knowledge - R&D services, engineering services, computer services, etc. Building on the extensive research done by the PI and Co-PI (Hamidi and Zandiatashbar 2017a, Hamidi and Zandiatashbar 2017b, Zandiatashbar and Hamidi 2018), this proposal seeks to fulfill the crucial gap by developing a multidimensional innovation index (i-Index). The team proposes to develop a methodological framework that could be used to comprehensively and objectively measure environmental determinants of innovation. Over the course of three years, the team will create an online, user-friendly and interactive tool to publish the i-Index. To develop such indices, the team intends taking three phases over a three year course including conceptualization (year one), measurement and indices generation (year two) and development of the tool and user manual (year three). The first phase is the foundational research base which this proposal seeks funding from CTEDD to accomplish in this proposal. The conceptualization will start with identifying and forming the expert panel as well as recruiting the executive team. Concurrently, the team will develop the draft framework through literature review, consultation with innovators and scholars in the field. Then, based on the draft framework, the team will design a Stated Preference (SP) survey instrument and will explore strategies to expand the respondent pool. The target respondents are the association of innovators as well as the panel of experts. The survey will remain open for two months and after two months, the core research team will synthesize the results, estimate a Multinomial Logit Model of results and prepare the final framework of the dimensions and associated built environmental indicators that promote innovation. A webinar presentation, chamber of commerce and Metropolitan Planning Organization presentation would be the complementary disseminative activities of this project process and final results.