Proposing a framework for developing innovation districts: a performance assessment
This doctoral dissertation is a compendium of articles in the topic of Innovation Districts. The purpose of this thesis is to propose a framework for developing Innovation Districts (IDs) that advances the scientific knowledge by providing a comprehensive set of Key Performance Indicators for IDs in the Urban, Economic, Social, and Governance dimensions, as well as their relationship.
This study is founded on the theories of Knowledge-based Urban Development, Triple Helix, Clusters of Innovation, the Areas of Innovation lifecycle model, and Performance Indicators underpinnings.
After a deep literature review analysing what science has said regarding Performance Indicators in IDs, the case study approach was implemented, studying two Innovation Districts of global reference (22@Barcelona and Porto Digital), to propose a preliminary framework to assess performance in IDs. Obtaining from them seventy-two main indicators, key dimensions of analysis (urban, economic, social, and governance), evaluable characteristics, and main agents with power of action over the measures evaluated. Then, from these seventy-two initial indicators, using the Fuzzy Delphi approach, a panel of experts was able to select a sub-set of thirty-seven indicators as the most relevant to assess the performance in IDs. And for these thirty-seven selected indicators, using the DEMATEL approach, the level and direction of influence among the indicators and the differential value conferred by these urban areas of innovation was studied.
Several contributions can be derived from this work. (1) A holistic framework of 37 performance indicators in IDs was developed. (2) Insightful information to learn about the role of each agent over the indicators in order to contribute to the development of the urban innovation ecosystems is provided. (3) The relationship between the Performance Indicators in IDs was stablished and validated by a panel of experts. (4) The first two papers of this work contribute to empirical literature with two study cases and a in deep analysis of key performance indicators. Additionally, from an academic standpoint, it could be concluded that the Quintuple Helix and Clusters of Innovation models, and the Knowledge Based Urban Development (KBUD) theory provide an adequate framework for describing the performance assessment of IDs with a thorough understanding. From the perspective of policymakers, this work can inspire other urban areas of innovation that want to be able to focus all their resources on achieving a desired goal, taking into account not only economic growth, but also urban revitalization, governmental competitiveness, and social and environmental awareness. This work provides new knowledge at the scientific literature and deliver to practitioners a tool for deploying and evaluating the performance of IDs.