Patterns of nanotechnology innovation and governance within a metropolitan area

Rider W. Foley, Arnim Wiek

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Scopus citations


    The present study employs a real-time, practice-oriented, and place-based approach to dissect the process of nanotechnology innovation in support of novel governance schemes. The research question is: What are actors specifically doing in the process of nanotechnology innovation in a metropolitan area, and what are enabling and constraining drivers that could be leveraged for novel governance approaches? The study presents results from 45 interviews and a synthesis workshop with actors from academia, industry, government, and the civil society in Phoenix. Results show that actors follow preconceived mental models of innovation with the primary objective to deploy profitable commercial or military products. The dominant network actors are academics, industry, and government funding agencies. The network is divided along product-based sectors with few cross-sector linkages. Considerable governmental support for entrepreneurs and for academic research via the National Nanotechnology Initiative enables nanotechnology innovation in the early stages. Market failures and corporate barriers, however, constrain the value proposition in later phases. There is novelty in the nanotechnology products; yet, little attention is paid to consumer input, adverse effects, or broader public value generation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)233-247
    Number of pages15
    JournalTechnology in Society
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Nov 2013


    • Governance
    • Nanotechnology innovation system
    • Urban innovation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Human Factors and Ergonomics
    • Business and International Management
    • Education
    • Sociology and Political Science


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