Innovation ecosystems constitute one of the three fundamental elements of intelligent cities. Connecting the functional and physical characteristics of cities with broadband networks and e-services, innovation ecosystems nourish the spatial intelligence of cities. The paper by Deborah J. Jackson, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA, describes a model of innovation ecosystems based on two distinct, but largely separated economies: the research economy, which is driven by fundamental research, and the commercial economy, which is driven by the marketplace.
An innovation ecosystem models the economic rather than the energy dynamics of the complex relationships that are formed between actors or entities whose functional goal is to enable technology development and innovation. In this context, the actors would include the material resources (funds, equipment, facilities, etc.) and the human capital (students, faculty, staff, industry researchers, industry representatives, etc.) that make up the institutional entities participating in the ecosystem (e.g. the universities, colleges of engineering, business schools, business firms, venture capitalists (VC), industry-university research institutes, federal or industrial supported Centers of Excellence, and state and/or local economic development and business assistance organizations, funding agencies, policy makers, etc.).
An important feature of an innovation ecosystem is that the resources available to the research economy are coupled to the resources generated by the commercial economy, usually as some fraction of the profits in the commercial economy. Another feature is that entities within the ecosystem are either geographically localized or strategically linked to focus on developing a specific technology.
The paper: What is an Innovation Ecosystem
Source: What is an Innovation Ecosystem?