Temporary Clusters and Knowledge Creation

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Temporary Clusters and Knowledge Creation

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Title: Temporary Clusters and Knowledge Creation
The Effects of International Trade Fairs, Conventions and Other Professional Gatherings
Author: Maskell, Peter; Bathelt, Harald; Malmberg, Anders
Abstract: Business people and professionals regularly come together at conventions, congresses, conferences, trade fairs and exhibitions. Here, their latest and most advanced findings, inventions and products are revealed and evaluated by peers and competitors, as well as by customers and suppliers. Organising or participating in such events are means to identify the current market frontier, take stock of relative competitive positions and form future plans. These events exhibit many of the characteristics ascribed to permanent clusters, albeit in a temporary, periodic and intensified form. The temporary clusters are hotspots of intense knowledge exchange, network building and idea generation. In investigating the extent and nature of these phenomena, the present paper explores a number of issues. First, it shows that international trade fairs and other professional gatherings are events which enable firms to compare their own products with others which are available to the world market. Comparisons to and interactions with other firms stimulate processes of knowledge creation. Second, it demonstrates how trade fairs are important for firms when selecting partners with whom to develop global pipelines, enabling access to distant markets and technologies. Third, it compares such temporary clusters with permanent territorial hubs within their respective sector or industry. If regular participation in temporary clusters could satisfy a firm’s need to learn through interaction with suppliers, customers, peers and rivals, why is the phenomenon of permanent clustering so pervasive? The answer, it is claimed, lies in the restrictions imposed on economic activity when knowledge and ideas are transformed into valuable products and services. The paper sheds new light on how interaction among firms in current clusters coincides with the configuration of knowledge-intensive pipelines out of the cluster. It examines the procedures selected by firms in developing ideas or gaining access to new knowledge and compares these organisational forms to those chosen when using knowledge for commercial purposes. Keywords: economic geography, knowledge creation, clusters, temporary clusters, trade fairs, conventions, pipelines JEL-codes: D83, L22, O17, O18, R12
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/7222
Date: 2004-05-25

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