Innovation Zones, Espace Stratégies

Innovation Zones


An innovation zone refers to a complete ecosystem dedicated to innovation and concentrated geographically in a specific sector. It involves various entities, including:

  • Institutional bodies
  • Knowledge centres
  • Research centres
  • Companies
  • Start-ups
  • Laboratories
  • Venture capital
  • Incubators and accelerators and much more

Any type of actor can be involved in the ecosystem as long as its activities are related to innovation.


Innovation zones emerged, among other things, from the diversification of the technology park. While the first generation of technology parks was more of an extension of the university and prioritised physical layout and support services for businesses, the concept has transformed to take on new unique forms. These new forms integrate value-added support services, virtual collaboration across extensive networks, open innovation and dynamic environments at the heart of agile and creative models. There are now a multitude of types, from mega-parks to micro-parks, including virtual parks.

This diversification has made it easier to develop innovation zones, a concept relatively new to Quebec that is developing quickly. Innovation zones exist worldwide in various forms, with intensity and scale varying according to models, such as the Innovation Partnership Zones in the Seattle region.


Innovation zones serve to concentrate energy, efforts and expertise, as well as to create stronger connections with a region’s innovation system. They lead to better community mobilisation, optimised resource access and the creation of critical masses that allow the organisation to tap into the expertise needed to advance their projects.

Innovation is a vast field that is difficult to pigeonhole and mainly creates medium- or long-term transformative results. Innovation zones help different actors communicate efficiently, for example, to:

  • Commercialise a product resulting from innovation
  • Develop hosting infrastructures to attract high-tech companies
  • Support technology start-ups
  • Provide access to tailored services such as incubators and so on

Innovation zones encourage certain initiatives to emerge or companies that would not otherwise have developed in the area to be established. Above all, it creates a mindset where all ecosystem players are more open to innovation and willing to concentrate their efforts on deploying innovative projects.


Espace Stratégies has recognised economic development experience acquired over more than 30 years and can assist you in several ways:

  • Establishing governance infrastructure for the innovation zone, i.e., the organisation or non-profit in charge of structuring and implementing initiatives in the designated area.
  • Helping to start up and manage the innovation zone, working on basic concepts, service offerings and governance structure.
  • Collaborating with you on the ecosystem approach, establishing the partner network, mobilising and animating the community, as well as generating promising ideas for the area.

Economic development encompasses the entire ecosystem, and we have developed trusted relationships with numerous stakeholders in the institutional environment. Indeed, it is important to ensure that all actors and partners participate, as each can have an impact on the economic development of their community. For example:

  • Economic development services and local development centres (CLD)
  • Cities, municipalities, boroughs and RCMs
  • Urban planning services
  • Community-related organisations
  • Commercial Development Corporations (CDC), etc.

Our approach is inclusive, participative and co-creative. At the end of the process, the client has already integrated the solutions identified during the workshops because they participated in the entire thought process. They are thus able to appropriate the tools they need to develop their autonomy. We push our clients to delve deeper during workshops and commit to evaluating ideas with an independent outside perspective.


Espace Stratégies offers a range of advisory services to address various growth themes. The services most relevant to innovation zones include:

For Whom?

Colleges & CCTT

Economic development organisations

Cities & municipalities

Related Growth Themes