Innovations can be conceptualised as novel ideas capitalised on and put to use by society. The ability of companies, organisations, regions and entire societies to produce innovations is considered crucial for maintaining (future) competitiveness. Innovations are necessary for solving major societal challenges. As such, social scientists have begun examining how innovations can be organised, stimulated, fostered or steered. The IRS contributes to this body of research by studying innovations from a spatio-temporal perspective. The institute's scholars examine contemporary innovations, tracing the genesis of these novel ideas, and reconstructing the process whereby innovations develop, unfold and become consolidated. IRS scholars have succeeded in developing different models of social change, innovation and institutionalisation for various fields (different economic sectors, the politico-administrative sphere, civil society) and spatial practices. They investigate these processes at large, yet also examine in detail individual stages in the development of innovations (such as social experiments or model projects). In addition, IRS researchers have refined their methodological expertise regarding qualitative longitudinal studies (e.g. innovation biographies or financial biographies).

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28. February | 2021
Interview with the IRS Junior Research Group Leaders Jana Kleibert and Monika Motylinska

The IRS currently hosts two junior research groups funded by prestigious programmes. Urban and economic geographer Jana Kleibert has been researching how higher education is marketed in international "branch campuses" with her Leibniz Junior Research Group "Constructing Transnational Spaces of Higher Education" (TRANSEDU) since 2018. Architectural historian Monika Motylinska and her junior research group "Conquering (with) Concrete", funded by the Volkswagen Foundation's Freigeist Programme, have been investigating what German construction companies contributed to the globalisation of architecture in the 20th century since the beginning of 2020. In the interview, the two researchers reflect on the current state of their research groups' work and explain how they are dealing with the challenges of the Corona pandemic. more info

06. August | 2019

A special kind of business is meant when one speaks of startups – one that is internationally positioned and growth oriented, and which is situated in branches such as the digital, high-tech, or creative economies. Such enterprises require special conditions, summarised for some time now under the label of the “entrepreneurial ecosystem”. At the Herrenhausen Symposium “Temporal Dynamics in Entrepreneurial Ecosystems” on 1 and 2 July in Hannover, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, leading international entrepreneurship scholars discussed the current state of knowledge on entrepreneurial ecosystems. more info