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The growth of the Brighton cluster on the other
Once in place, groups of firms can then build up from
hand offers a number of insights for public policy. It
what they have and take advantage of the available
suggests that while talented people and innovative
freelance talent, arts and cultural amenities, and
firms can be attracted by local benefits, that on its
universities and colleges, until a critical mass of firms
own isn’t enough to generate a cluster. This should
is in place for contracting and collaborating. This, in
caution against zero-sum policies that attempt to
turn, generated a stronger local capability to produce
build clusters by attracting talent from other parts
of the country, through policies like tax-breaks or subsidies. This often simply moves talent around at considerable economic costs without helping the pool of talent to grow. In effect, such policies reflect a wealth transfer from the poor to the rich, without
The development of local knowledge occurred within formal and informal settings. Universities provided talent, and importantly, the foundation of an ability to learn over the employee’s lifetime. Within
improving overall performance.
a cluster there is also a need to address long-term
Nor does the growth of Brighton provide much
a major constraint on growth. In Brighton we see
support for notions that clusters can be created from
‘aggregator organisations’ emerging to generate
scratch, particularly in highly innovative industries
economies of scale in this talent development.
like biotechnology, nanotechnology, or graphene, if
Similar organisations have been found in other areas
firms do not have strong commercial links. Having
with large concentrations of firms in the creative
strong local demand, in this case initially from
digital industries. In television production, the BBC
London, was vital for the emergence of the Brighton
often plays a similar role.
cluster. Without demand, expensive science-push style policies that generate technological value, without much thought for how that value will be captured and commercialised, are likely to be
talent improvement, which the survey highlights as
These organisations play an important co-ordinating role in addressing the numerous constraints on the growth of the Brighton creative and digital cluster.
ineffective, much like pushing on a piece of string.
These constraints on growth were highlighted in the
The experiences of Brighton suggest existing features
economic situation, and firms lacking profits for
of a local economic environment become attractive
reinvestment), Market (specifically lack of skills and
at particular points in time, in ways that are probably
an excessive workload), and Mastery (which related
impossible for policy makers to predict in advance.
to the firms profile, competition in its markets, and its
Brighton was lucky in being able to attract talent and
lack of bargaining power). The key issues driving and
had a range of venues and events that could provide
constraining growth in the cluster are therefore not
a setting for networking and collaboration.
just related to firms being able to create value for
survey as relating to Money (specifically the current