Speaker(s): Professor Riccardo Crescenzi, Martin Sandbu | The process of technological development constantly opens windows of opportunity for new innovation centres to emerge around the world. What makes it possible for some cities and regions to join the exclusive ‘world innovation club’? Why are other places persistently excluded or lose their membership? Scholarly and policy debates attempt to identify factors at the national, regional or city level to ‘ignite’ innovation and boost productivity and employment in stagnating areas of the world. Our understanding is more limited of the transformative power of the flows of capital, skills and knowledge bundled into increasingly complex value chains, often controlled by multinational firms. This inaugural lecture by Riccardo Crescenzi will discuss the conceptual foundations and new empirical evidence from across the globe on the link between internationalisation, multinational firms’ strategies and local innovation and prosperity. The lecture will first discuss how multinationals decide where to locate different types of foreign activities along the value chain and how this process leads to ‘matching’ between firms and host regions. The second part will look at the consequences of these decisions and strategies for world cities and regions, drawing upon examples from Europe, the United States, China, India, Russia and Latin America. The final part will address the role of public policies and discuss how mayors, regional governors and national governments can effectively leverage global investment flows and value chains for innovation and recovery after the Great Recession. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union Horizon 2020 Programme H2020/2014-2020) (Grant Agreement n 639633-MASSIVE-ERC-2014-STG). Riccardo Crescenzi (@crescenzi_r ) is a Professor of Economic Geography at LSE. Martin Sandbu (@MESandbu) is an economics commentator at the Financial Times. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose (@rodriguez_pose) is a Professor of Economic Geography at LSE. The LSE Department of Geography & Environment (@LSEGeography) is a centre of international academic excellence in economic, urban and development geography, environmental social science and climate change.