The aim of this review is to explore what the analytical contours of Mission-Oriented Innovation Districts (MOID) might look like. We ask the question: how can Mission-Oriented Innovation Districts be conceptualised, measured and governed? We address this question by reviewing the academic literature on both Innovation Districts and on mission-oriented innovation through a systematic approach.
The Brookings Institute has been instrumental in popularising the notion of Innovation Districts. Being essentially a policy and practice concept, Innovation Districts — or Innovation Precincts — acknowledge a new, urban geography of innovation, i.e. place-based forms of innovation that occur not within the confines of the big industrial labs of the 1950s or the innovation campuses in suburban areas of the 1980s, but within the heart of cities. An Innovation District is a place-based urban development strategy that aims to regenerate an under-performing downtown neighbourhood into a desirable location for innovative and creative companies and workers. It aligns with the basic premise that innovation emerges from dynamic and collaborative environments facilitated by various forms of proximity in precincts like this — where people share knowledge, skills and ideas as they work, meet and socialise together.