w w w. b r i g h t o n f u s e . c o m
An extensive networking scene exists in the city,
specific programming languages including the twice-
which drive these interactions. Activities range
from formal ‘meet-ups’, such as the monthly Open Coffee Sussex meeting for tech entrepreneurs and investors, to informal meetings and catch-ups, supported by the small size of the city and a plethora of coffee-shops and pubs, to more ‘involved’ types of collaboration where businesses help each other out. The connectivity afforded by social media also complements this networking without replacing the critical face-to-face element of it; Twitter in particular has supported both day-to-day chatter and the generation of buzz around social events as well as provide transparency about proximity. To “see which pubs people were going to after work” (Interview
collaborations. The membership organisation, Wired Sussex, organises frequent networking events in both Brighton and other parts of Sussex. There is a positive association between Wired Sussex membership and networking and collaboration, with members significantly more likely to say that they help (and are helped) by others, than those who are not. Co-working spaces including The Skiff and The Werks also facilitate interactions between companies, both by providing space where members work in close proximity and through
28/08/2012), for example.
offering free hosting for many networking events.
Yet these networking activities do not drive firms
This culture of help combined with intense, if
in the Brighton cluster to link up together to form a single massive cross-discipline super-connected community. Instead different sectors and different types of companies interact in different ways, which shapes their access to knowledge and capacity for innovation. Arts organisations and content providers are more likely to attend cultural and artistic and events, such the Glug meet-up which was introduced to Brighton to create the physical connection between the freelancers who made up much of the creative sector and who would otherwise be ‘sat at home on our own, tapping away’; and to ‘be inspired’ (Interview 01/03/2012). Conversely, founders of digital technology firms attend more technology-related meet-ups and events, such as the frequent meets associated with
Bridging organisations can also help to facilitate
variegated, networking can provide a collaborative advantage for firms in the digital cluster. The founder of a content production company described how the ‘Brighton way’ was one of sharing resources which for them included offering freelance consulting work to companies that might otherwise be considered their competitors, and borrowing expensive technical equipment for shoots with the proviso of “It’s fine, just make sure you bring it back” (Interview 16/02/2012). This resource sharing, the founder argued, allowed his company to “punch above its weight”, transforming them from just “three guys in an empty office” to a business which had delivered high-level award-winning large projects to major media clients including Sky, Channel 4 and the BBC.
Published on May 20, 2014