Open Innovation in Small Towns and Rural Areas

By • on March 19, 2019

The Wiley Online Library website posted an article which noted that a growing body of work shows that innovation occurs in peripheral regions and small towns in addition to cities.. Furthermore, work on rural social networks shows that diversity is multidimensional, and that along certain dimensions networks developed in rural areas are more diverse than those observed in cities. This paper develops these arguments, then reports on observations of seven successful firms in Swiss small towns. These firms benefit from at least three types of diversity: internal diversity; multiplexed interactions between workers at different hierarchical levels; and external diversity as firms reach beyond the region. The conclusion is that diversity conducive to firm‐level innovation is not a specifically urban attribute: at least some of its dimensions are present in small towns and more peripheral areas.

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