Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Cluster Complexes: A Framework for Understanding the Internationalisation of Innovation Systems

Wixted, Brian (2006): Cluster Complexes: A Framework for Understanding the Internationalisation of Innovation Systems.

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The literature on clustering that has developed over the last two decades or so has given us a wealth of information on the formation and competitiveness of places in the global economy. Similarly, the systems literature on innovation has been valuable in moving the debate around technology from a focus on the entrepreneur to one than encompasses institutions, government, suppliers, customers and universities. However, there remains an important limit to this research; the borders of political jurisdictions, usually nation states, typically delineate the studies. It is argued in this paper that during an era when the international architecture of production relationships is changing, this view of systems is hindering its further development. This paper briefly examines what we have learnt of innovation systems, including clustering and also explores the limitations of this work. From this foundation it is proposed in this paper that a framework which understands clusters as nodes within extra-territorial networks is a promising approach for internationalising the systems of innovation perspective. The advantage of the approach presented here is that it can simultaneously capture regional specialisations and be disaggregated enough to apply on a technology / sectoral basis. Another principle advantage is that such a framework goes someway towards an understanding of interregional and international trade that is consistent with what other studies have shown of the development of innovation within particular geographic locations. The paper draws from extensive data analysis of industrial interdependencies that cross national borders to support the case for cluster complexes that transcend regional and national borders.

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