Entrepreneurial Engines of Economic Growth around the World
Edited by Jerome S. Engel
Chapter 2: USA: Silicon Valley, the archetypal Cluster of Innovation
archetype (noun)–the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based. Almost sixty technology regions around the globe use the ‘Silicon’ moniker. Silicon Bog (Ireland), Silicon Glen (Scotland), Silicon Allee (Berlin), Silicon Wadi (Israel), Silicon Plateau (India), Silicon Island (New York City) and Silicon Hills (Texas) are just a few examples (Munroe, 2009). Most of these regions have little to do with silicon device fabrication, so why do they showcase ‘Silicon’ in their names? All these names pay homage to a small valley in northern California, the Santa Clara Valley, which in the early 1970s was dubbed ‘Silicon Valley’ because of the high concentration of semiconductor and computer companies that were established there. However it is not this concentration of silicon-based electronics companies that led to such worldwide fame. Silicon Valley transcended its industrial cluster identity to become known as the epicenter for high-technology innovation, superstar business growth, and entrepreneurial startups. Silicon Valley is the leading example of a high-technology entrepreneurial environment (Saxenian, 1994). It was the fastest growing region in the United States during the late 1970s and early 1980s; that growth was generated by the cluster dynamics, not from a technology itself (Sturgeon, 2000).
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