Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

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

No 2005/18: Face-to-Face, Buzz and Knowledge Bases: Socio-spatial implications for learning and innovation policy

Asheim Bjørn (), Lars Coenen () and Jan Vang ()
Additional contact information
Asheim Bjørn: CIRCLE, Lund University, Postal: PO Box 117, Sölvegatan 16, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden
Lars Coenen: CIRCLE, Lund University, Postal: PO Box 117, Sölvegatan 16, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden
Jan Vang: Copenhagen Institute of Technology, Aalborg University, Denmark, Postal: CIRCLE, Lund University, PO Box 117, Sölvegatan 16, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: While concurring with the new streams of literature in geography that highlight the importance of face-to-face and buzz in the globalizing learning economy, the article argues that this literature is misleading on three interrelated accounts. Firstly, it conflates face-to-face and buzz; secondly, it fails to distinguish between the importance of face-to-face and buzz for industries drawing on different knowledge bases, and thirdly, these conceptual inadequacies lead to an exaggeration of the importance of cities as sites for creativity and innovation, and hence regional competitiveness. By applying an industrial knowledge base approach the article seeks to reconstruct an alternative framework that allows for a systematic differentiation between the importance of both face-to-face and buzz for different industries. This provides a framework for developing a more nuanced understanding of the spatial implications of face-to face communication and buzz for learning and innovation.

Keywords: Innovation Policy; face-to-face; Buzz

JEL-codes: O30

29 pages, December 1, 2005

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200518_Asheim_et_al.pdf PDF-file 

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