The Role of Law
Elgar Law and Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Megan M. Carpenter
Chapter 4: Transforming Professional Services to Build Regional Innovation Ecosystems
Sean M. O’Connor INTRODUCTION As policymakers seek the right policies to help industrial, or even preindustrial, regional economies evolve into knowledge-based ones, they increasingly focus on concepts of “innovation ecosystems,” or “clusters.”1 Originating in its current form largely from Michael Porter’s seminal The Competitive Advantage of Nations,2 a growing literature seeks to unpack and suggest ways to operationalize these concepts. Porter has succinctly defined his notion of a cluster as a “geographic concentration of interconnected companies, specialized suppliers, service providers, firms in related industries, and associated institutions (e.g., universities, standards agencies, trade associations) in a particular field that compete but also cooperate.”3 The key components of a cluster or innovation ecosystem4 have more recently been summarized by a leading policymaker as: “A talent pool that connects across disciplines; [a]n ‘innovation infrastructure’ with physical facilities; [a] skilled workforce; [a]ccess to capital; and [a] support system that can shepherd promising innovations through the so-called ‘valley of death.’ ”5 While the expanding literature has begun exploring the human capital components of innovation ecosystems, little 1 See, e.g., U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Remarks at Innovation Clusters Conference, the Brookings Institution (Sept. 23, 2010) (Prepared remarks of Sec’y of Commerce, Gary Locke). 2 Michael Porter, The Competitive Advantage of Nations (New York, NY, U.S.A.: Free Press, 1990) 3 Michael Porter, Location, Competition, And Economic Development: Local Clusters In A Global Economy, 14 Econ. Dev. Q. 15 (2000). 4 This Chapter adopts the term “innovation ecosystem” rather than “cluster.” 5 Locke,...
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