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Executive summary With the economic outlook for the UK looking

positive, organisations such as the British Chambers of Commerce and the OECD have raised their growth forecasts for the year. The economy appears to be in recovery and this report identifies how important digital clusters will be to its continued success. In the preliminary findings of his Review on Universities and Growth, in July 2013, Sir Andrew

research play in a successful digital cluster? •

How and when should government intervene to promote the conditions required for clusters to generate extraordinary high growth?

‘Fused’ businesses are driving extraordinary growth

Witty emphasised the importance of clusters in driving

Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple, liked to

regional growth policy. The 2013 National Institute

describe his company as existing “at the intersection

for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) report,

of technology and liberal arts”. Jobs himself grew

measuring the UK’s Digital Economy with Big Data,

up in Mountain View, California, the Silicon Valley

found that the digital economy is not only larger than

city that is today the home of technology innovators

the Government estimates but is also found in highly

such as Google and Salesforce. However, this

concentrated clusters, like the one in Brighton. These

integration of technology and creativity is being

digital clusters are especially important to the economy

echoed closer to home. Some 40 miles south of

because they tend to feed the growth of other sectors.

London, Brighton has developed its own cluster

The size of the UK creative economy is now estimated as greater than the construction, manufacturing and financial services sectors. With this in mind, the two year Brighton Fuse project, along with this report, seek to provide deeper understanding of some of the drivers shaping its size and development. Some of the key questions we set out to investigate included: •

How creativity links to entrepreneurship and economic growth?

What combination of skills, knowledge and networks is essential to the thriving creative digital business?


What role does education and academic

of creative and digital businesses, known to some as Silicon Beach. The research identifies a new category of high growth firms within this cluster, that are ‘fusing’ and ‘superfusing’ to create an extraordinary competitive edge. Fused businesses are those that combine creative art and design skills with technology expertise. Among Brighton’s cluster, two thirds are considered fused and believe in the competitive advantage of combining diverse skills and knowledge.

The Brighton Fuse  
The Brighton Fuse