Regional Economies as Knowledge Laboratories

Regional Economies as Knowledge Laboratories

Edited by Philip Cooke and Andrea Piccaluga

Today, the study of regions is central to academic analysis and policy deliberation on how to respond to the rise of the knowledge economy. Regional Economies as Knowledge Laboratories illustrates how newer types of regional analysis – utilising scientometrics, knowledge services measures and university networks, and concepts such as knowledge life cycles, experimental knowledge creation, and knowledge ethics – are leading to a perception that regional economies increasingly resemble knowledge laboratories.

Introduction: The Scale Question in Knowledge Creation, Capture and Commercialization

Philip Cooke

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, economics and finance, economics of innovation, regional economics, innovation and technology, economics of innovation, knowledge management, urban and regional studies, regional economics


Philip Cooke INTRODUCTION: TOWARDS THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY This book seeks to navigate the sometimes rocky shoals and reefs of the knowledge economy. After the concept was first elucidated by Machlup (1962), progress in developing and operationalizing it was slow. This is partly because of an evolving interest in and study of the role of information in the economy. This can be traced back at least to the pioneering research at Bell Laboratories of engineer Claude Shannon (1948, 379–80) who defined information as messages possessing meaning for sender and recipient. We might term this the ‘train timetable’ theory, not least as Shannon said that communication’s ‘significant aspect is that the actual message is one selected from a set of possible messages’ (1948, 379 original emphasis). This then fuelled research leading to consistent observations that, in the second half of the twentieth century an ‘information explosion’ could be observed, with associated ‘information overload’ (Miller, 1978) from the exponential growth in messages, increasingly diffused by ‘information technology’ (IT, later ICT in recognition of communications technologies; Seely Brown and Duguid, 2002; Lievrouw and Livingstone, 2002) within what was perceived to have become an ‘Information Society’ or the ‘Information Age’ (Castells, 1996; 1997; 1998). The key question Machlup (1962; see also, 1980) raised long before this began in earnest was as follows: which are the key economic sectors in which such assets are concentrated, and how can a serious attempt be made to map out the production and distribution of knowledge sectors...