Knowledge networks and the key stages of their evolution

[Deutscher Titel: Wissensnetzwerke und die Hauptstadien ihrer Entstehung]

Robert Huggins
The Evolution of Knowledge Clusters: Progress and Policy
Economic Development Quarterly, Vol. 22, No. 4 (Special issue on Clusters), 277-289 (2008)

Abstract: The economic downturn post-2000 badly undermined the rapid growth of knowledge-based and technology-led sectors. This article reflects on post- and pre-2000 development from the perspective of the evolution of regional clusters of knowledge-based activity. Four case studies of knowledge clusters are presented—Silicon Valley (United States), Cambridge (United Kingdom), Ottawa (Canada), and Helsinki (Finland)—as a means of understanding how the modus operandi of such clusters is evolving. The author finds that knowledge cluster development is shifting from one of internal reliance to models based on wider connectivity and consolidation. It is these new patterns of connected clusters and broadened knowledge networks that both firms and policy makers are increasingly attempting to foster. A framework outlining the key stages of evolution through which knowledge clusters advance is proposed. The author concludes that cluster policies must be increasingly attuned to positioning within a global network environment.

Key Words: clusters • knowledge economy • regional evolution • policy • high technology

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