Institute of Geography

Economic Geography

Innovation

Current Projects

Social Innovation

Treffpunkt von Plattform Haslital

Social Innovations in Swiss Mountain Regions: Shifting Away from Growth Dependency in the Tourism, Construction and Healthcare Industries

Project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (11/2018 – 11/2022)

In Swiss mountain regions, the question of future growth opportunities is an important issue concerning increasing economic, social and ecological challenges (e.g. out-migration, limited building land, unfavourable exchange rates of the Swiss franc). The aim of the project is to investigate the role of social innovations in connection with (future) growth issues in the Bernese Oberland. Social innovations are new approaches to solving social and economic challenges, which above all involve new forms of cooperation (e.g. staff sharing in tourism, new forms of basic services, public-private cooperation in the renovation of second homes, etc.). In the project, a special focus will be placed on the tourism, construction and health sectors.

Partners: Prof. Irmi Seidl, WSL; Dr. Monika Bandi Tanner, CRE

PhD students: Pascal Tschumi, Andrea Winiger, Samuel Wirth

Slow Innovation

Schaufenster

Slow Innovation in Europe`s Peripheral Regions

This project is funded through a MeRSA grant from the Regional Studies Assocation.

Innovation processes are often conceptualized with an urban bias and are therefore theorized solely considering the perspective of the urban environment. As a result, innovation theories do not sufficiently consider the context of the periphery. We examine “slow innovation” processes in peripheral regions in the European Alps. 

Completed Projects

Visualizing entrepreneurial ecosystems 
Description We utilize unique methods to visualize entrepreneurial genealogies. The most recent project involved a collaboration with the Life Sciences Cluster Initiative in Basel and the company Zeilenwerk. We created an animated online visualization and show how Basel`s life sciences industry evolved. 
Partner Life Sciences Cluster Initiative Basel, Zeilenwerk
Link Visualization
Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Second Tier High Tech Regions in The United States
Funding Various foundations such as the Smith Richardson Foundation, Kauffman Foundation, The Brookings Institution etc.
Description Second tier high-tech regions such as Portland (Oregon), Boise (Idaho), Kansas City (Kansas/Missouri), etc. have developed in the shadow of Silicon Valley or Boston`s Route 128. These regions typically lack a world-class research university and large amounts of venture capital. This research examines entrepreneurial ecosystems in second tier regions and we visualize the genealogy of entrepreneurial firms.
Involved Researchers
  • Heike Mayer, University of Bern
  • Elizabeth Mack, Michigan State University
  • Joseph Cortright, Impresa Inc.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Portland`s Athletic and Outdoor Gear Industry
Timeline 2009-2010
Funding Portland Development Commission
Description The athletic and outdoor industry cluster in Portland is especially appropriate for a study about the role of consumption, culture and community in cluster emergence. The cluster consists of a group of innovative, world-class firms that design, market and distribute footwear, apparel and related gear for sports, recreation and active lifestyles. It has diversified  through entrepreneurial spinoff processes and firms moving to the region. We examined these dynamics through expert interviews, focus groups and through a visualization of spinoff dynamics.
Involved Researchers
  • Heike Mayer, Universität Bern
  • Joseph Cortright, Impresa Inc.
Link Visualisation