Local IDEAs

Local Indicator Database for Economic Analysis

The Sociocultural Dynamics of Creativity and Innovation

Executive Summary

Innovation is key to Ontario’s future economic prosperity and competitiveness. The province’s innovative capacity is based on the skills and talents of its workers. The purpose of this report is to analyze recent data on innovation in Ontario in order to better understand the geographic distribution of innovative activity and the underlying social dynamics on worker skills and capabilities. Ontario performs well in most measures of innovation compared to other provinces, with several of the most innovative regions in the country located in the province. However, there is some danger in the concentration of innovative firms and workers in a few core cities (Toronto, Ottawa and Kitchener). Smaller regions may not have the innovative capacity to ensure sustainable economic growth.

Diversity and tolerance play an important role in attracting skilled workers, which in turn is critical to supporting innovative activity. There appear to be significant relationships between the diversity of a region and its overall levels of human capital and creativity. While Ontario does very well in most of these measures compared to the rest of Canada, there is again the danger of over concentration of the most skilled and talented workers in the core urban cities of the province, which will limit the growth prospects of smaller peripheral regions.


Spigel, B. (2013) Sociocultural Dynamics of Creativity and Innovation. Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

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