Context : TheCityAsInformationSystem
The main results of the survey fit well with what's already known about urban innovation. U.K. firms located in the city were indeed more likely than those in rural areas to report both new products (52 to 46 percent, respectively) and new processes (43 to 34 percent). From there, Lee and Rodriguez-Pose dug deeper to try to understand how exactly this urban advantage emerged.
When it came to new business products, cities seemed to derive their innovation from some combination of original and learned ideas — not really one or the other. So the city environment, ripe with chance exchanges and interactions, might only explain a sliver of new product development. Some complex combination of other forces (e.g. creative inspiration or specific demands or more approaches to problem-solving) is also involved.
When it came to new business processes, however, the urban advantage seemed to rely almost entirely on ideas learned from neighboring firms (as opposed to original ideas). Here the city itself would appear to play its greatest role in innovation. Greater proximity to other firms, and perhaps also greater employee movement from company to company, no doubt increases the flow of outside information and leads to new ways of working.