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CIRCLE, Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy, Lund University Papers in Innovation Studies, CIRCLE, Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy, Lund University

No 2005/14:
Talents and Innovative Regions: exploring the Importance of Face-to-Face Communication and Buzz

Bjørn Asheim () and Jan Vang ()

Abstract: This paper argues that face-to-face communication and buzz are becoming increasingly important in the regionalizing le arning economy. This reflects the importance of inn ovations as a means of enhancing regional competitiveness. While concurring with the new streams of literature in geography highlighting the importance of face-to-face and buzz, it is argued that this lite rature is misleading on three interrelated accounts. Firstly, it conflates face-to-face and buzz by e.g. looking at buzz as the result of positive effects of face-to-face. Secondly, it fails to distinguish between the importance of respectively face-to-face and buzz for industries drawing on different knowledge bases; being analytical, synthetic and symbolic. Thirdly, these conceptual inadequacies lead to exaggerating the importance of cities as sites for creation of innovations, hence regional competitiveness.

Through unpacking the distinctions between face-to-face and buzz and applying an industrial knowledge base approach we seek to reconstruct an alternative framework that allows for a systematic differentiation between the importance of both face-to- face and buzz for industries drawing on the different knowledg e-bases. This provides a frame work for developing more realistic locational predictions, with respect to the attractiveness of cities and regions as sites for generating regional competitiveness.

Keywords: Face-to-Face Communication; Innovative regions; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: O30; (follow links to similar papers)

35 pages, December 1, 2005

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