Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

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

No 2015/24: Cluster Evolution, Regional Innovation Systems and Knowledge Bases. The Development and Transformation of the ICT Cluster in Southern Sweden

Roman Martin () and Michaela Trippl ()
Additional contact information
Roman Martin: CIRCLE, Lund University
Michaela Trippl: CIRCLE, Lund University

Abstract: This paper extends research on long-term cluster evolution with a context sensitive conceptual framework that highlights how configurations of regional innovation systems (RIS), their knowledge base specificities and policy actions can shape cluster development and transformation. By doing so, we redress the neglect of regional context specific factors by current accounts of cluster life cycle models. The empirical part of the paper deals with the evolution of the ICT cluster in Scania, southern Sweden. The emergence of the cluster in the early 1980s was enabled by a strong analytical and synthetic knowledge base in the region, and the subsequent growth was driven by intense collaboration between industry and academia. The changing geography of the ICT industry in the past decade brought along new challenges for the existing companies and led to a transformation of the cluster towards a new growth trajectory. Cluster transformation was facilitated by policy actions that promoted symbolic knowledge activities in the region. The strategy was to combine existing competences in mobile communication with new competences in media and design, and to develop new industrial activities around the theme of New Media, which integrates analytical, synthetic and symbolic knowledge. In the case of Scania, the endowment of the RIS of a variety of knowledge bases and their combination has led to successful cluster development in spite of challenges resulting from changing socio-economic conditions.

Keywords: Cluster evolution; knowledge bases; regional innovation systems; innovation policy; ICT; New Media; Sweden

JEL-codes: B52; O33; O38

18 pages, July 20, 2015

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