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Innovation Networks and Clusters

The Knowledge Backbone

Edited By Blandine Laperche, Paul Sommers and Dimitri Uzunidis

In Economics, networks are increasingly used to describe the many links created between independent companies, as well as between them and other institutions (universities, banks, venture capital, etc.). In the current global and knowledge-based economy, they can be characterised as knowledge factories and knowledge boosters. They feed the internal processes of innovation (collaborative innovation) or the external processes of innovation, created by the propagation effects that come from inter-firm collaboration.
The book explains how innovation networks are at the origin of the production of new knowledge that will be transformed and used in common as well as in separated production processes. This characteristic of networks as knowledge factories gives incentives to further investment in the production of knowledge and ensures the cumulativeness of the innovation process. Some of the authors clearly take a territorial point of view and study how clusters (in different parts of the world: Europe, Eastern Asia and North America) propelled by the quality of the innovation networks they enclose, can be characterised as knowledge pools into which the local actors will be able to draw to reinforce their individual and collective competitiveness. This book also includes analyses of the quality of the networks built within clusters, which may help their identification.


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7 Acknowledgements The chapters included in this volume were presented at the Pacific North Regional Economic Conference (PNREC) / Spirit of Innovation conference on Innovation networks (Tacoma-Seattle, Washington, May, 2008), organised by the PNREC committee, the Research Network on Innovation ( and the Industry and Innovation Research Unit (Lab.RII,, University of Littoral (France). Many institutions supported the organisation of this event and the publication of this volume. We would especially like to thank Seattle University, the Universities of Littoral and Poitiers (France) the IGS group (Institute of social management/Institut de Gestion Sociale, Paris), Northwest Energy and Conservation Council, the Consulate General of Canada in Seattle and the Community and Economic Devel- opment of the City of Tacoma. We offer our deep appreciation to all members of the scientific committee of this conference for their help in the selection of chapters and the construction and publication of the book. We also thank Maria Lorek for her help in the preparation of the final manuscript.

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