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Building Global Knowledge Pipelines The Role of Temporary Clusters

  • Peter Maskell
  • Harald Bathelt
  • Anders Malmberg

Business people and professionals come together regularly at trade fairs, exhibitions, conventions, congresses, and conferences. Here, their latest and most advanced findings, inventions and products are on display to be evaluated by customers and suppliers, as well as by peers and competitors. Participation in events like these helps firms to identify the current market frontier, take stock of relative competitive positions and form future plans. Such events exhibit many of the characteristics ascribed to permanent spatial clusters, albeit in a temporary and intensified form. These short-lived hotspots of intense knowledge exchange, network building and idea generation can thus be seen as temporary clusters. The present paper compares temporary clusters with permanent clusters and other types of inter-firm interactions. If regular participation in temporary clusters can satisfy a firm’s need to learn through interaction with suppliers, customers, peers and rivals, why is the phenomenon of permanent spatial clustering of similar and related economic activity so pervasive? The answer, it is claimed, lies in the restrictions imposed upon economic activity when knowledge and ideas are transformed into valuable products and services. The paper sheds new light on how interaction among firms in current clusters coincides with knowledge-intensive pipelines between firms in different regions or clusters. In doing so, it offers a novel way of understanding how interfirm knowledge relationships are organized spatially and temporally.

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Paper provided by DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies in its series DRUID Working Papers with number 05-20.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:05-20
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.druid.dk/

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