Cities and regions around the world are attempting to ‘construct advantage’ by intervening to create knowledge- and innovation-based economic and social development. This paper considers the rationale for such intervention and in particular reviews the concept of ‘community innovation organisations’ by exploring their definition, origins, and purpose. It develops a classification of local innovation actors and their functions. We argue that the contribution of community based organisations to local innovation-based economic and social development has been largely overlooked in Australia by comparison with studies and initiatives in Europe and North America. We propose a programme of empirical research to assess the contribution and effectiveness of community innovation bodies.