Elgar original reference
Edited by Philip Cooke, Bjørn Asheim, Ron Boschma, Ron Martin, Dafna Schwartz and Franz Tödtling
Philip Cooke and Dafna Schwartz CONVENTIONS AND CONTEXT A substantial portion of innovation research and practice is focused upon new technology businesses. This is not surprising since, increasingly, entrepreneurship is the handmaiden of commercialized recombined new and existing knowledge, as Schumpeter (Mark 1) correctly observed. Intellectually, the transformation of, for example, laboratory discoveries of genetic sequences and associated molecules that may interrupt or prevent disease into therapeutic treatments by dedicated biotechnology firms is interesting for three reasons. First, it shows how the most advanced science-based research is now often to be found in the laboratories of research institutes inside leading research universities rather than corporate laboratories. This represents a geographical shift in the centre of gravity of ‘translational’ knowledge in the life sciences, which attracts agglomerations of entrepreneurial businesses as innovation systems theorems predict. However it does not do so uniformly, which hints at crucial qualitative elements that need to be teased out of the data to explain the marked spatial unevenness of contemporary knowledge dynamics (see also Isaksen’s Chapter 22 on ‘Cluster evolution’ in this Handbook). Second, new agglomerations of the kind under inspection tend to be exemplars of clustering, embracing the collaborative networking based on high-trust learning and associated social capital that exercises many of the accounts in the preceding sections of this Handbook. Accordingly, new organizational forms and mechanisms of communication of cumulative and combinative knowledge – external to the corporate management confines of the large or multinational firm – come into play. Whereas large corporations are universally understood...