Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation,
Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies

No 235: Clusters, Networks and Creativity

Charlie Karlsson
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Charlie Karlsson: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, Postal: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: An extensive amount of studies have been devoted to the importance of the creative process. Creativity is critical to research and in particular to innovation, a key feature of economic competitiveness. Most of the previous studies have dealt with the creativity of individuals, the creativity of teams and the importance of the organisational context. This chapter, however, emphasises the role of the characteristics of the local and regional economic milieu where the creative process takes place and the local and non-local networks of such milieus. Both the local ‘buzz’ related to interaction and learning opportunities, and non-local networks associated with integration of different milieus, offer special but different advantages for creative activities. The milieu will play an important role in creativity by supplying both a large number of incompatible ideas and good conditions for bringing them together in order to gain new, profound insights. Local accessibility, i.e. clustering, of incompatible ideas and the interregional accessibility to incompatible ideas in other regions are a function of the network characteristics of the local milieu. The purpose of this chapter is to explore the spatial concentration of creativity and the role of clustering and networks in stimulating creative regional economic milieus. One of the arguments of the chapter highlights how clustering of creative agents and creative processes in specific locations generates creative advantages that stimulate creativity and the in-migration of creative agents. Furthermore, the chapter stresses the idea that a better connected economic milieu to other economic milieus via networks transmitting new ideas, information knowledge, etc., will generate higher creative potential of that economic milieu.

Keywords: creativity; creative process; clusters; artistic clusters; network theory; regional economics; local milieu; local and non-local interaction; innovation

JEL-codes: O31; R11

34 pages, October 28, 2010

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