Handbook on the Geographies of Innovation
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Handbook on the Geographies of Innovation

Edited by Richard Shearmu, Christophe Carrincazeaux and David Doloreux

The geography of innovation is changing. First, it is increasingly understood that innovative firms and organizations exhibit a wide variety of strategies, each being differently attuned to diverse geographic contexts. Second, and concomitantly, the idea that cities, clusters and physical proximity are essential for innovation is evolving under the weight of new theorizing and empirical evidence. In this Handbook we gather 28 chapters by scholars with widely differing views on what constitutes the geography of innovation. The aim of the Handbook is to break with the many ideas and concepts that emerged during the course of the 1980s and 1990s, and to fully take into account the new reality of the internet, mobile communication technologies, personal mobility and globalization. This does not entail the rejection of well-established and supported ideas, but instead allows for a series of new ideas and authors to enter the arena and provoke debate.
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Part IV Beyond agglomeration and clusters: introduction

Richard Shearmur, Christophe Carrincazeaux and David Doloreux

Extract

The introduction to this part will be brief since the rationale for thinking beyond agglomeration has been set out in the introduction to Part III. In that introduction the reasons why cities are considered to be the main generators of innovation are described, as are some reasons to qualify this idea. Part IV comprises five chapters that provide empirical backing for the idea that innovation and creativity occur in settings that diverge from clusters and large cities. Grossetti et al. in Chapter 12 explicitly test four widely held beliefs about scientific activity. While they confirm that scientific activity is indeed geographically concentrated, they show that this concentration is not increasing, that quality research does not require a critical mass of researchers and that scientific activities are only internationalizing in a qualified way. Taken together these results, which focus on a very specific component of the innovation process, belie the idea that co-location and agglomeration are necessary for innovation to occur. If agglomeration is observed – which it is – it does not have the effect on innovation that is expected.

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