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w w w. b r i g h t o n f u s e . c o m

Interestingly, we do not find that traditional methods

imperfect nature of markets for knowledge. In

of value capture, such as IPR are particularly

economic terms, providing training for free and

important among the firms we surveyed. They

capturing value through improvements in reputation

typically rely on other mechanisms to capture value,

which enable other profit making activities might

by building brands and reputations for producing

be better.

high quality innovative work, for example. This increases firms bargaining positions with their

4. Building clusters elsewhere

customers, brings additional work to the cluster and can lower transaction costs.

What lessons does the Brighton experience have for other regions of the UK? Many studies focus on

At the cluster level, we find similar mechanisms

highly successful clusters in exceptional places and

that allow value to be captured for the benefit of the

atypical industries. Understanding what drives the

local region. The brand Brighton has for its creative

performance of Silicon Valley, the Los Angeles film

industry cluster attracts new talent and reduces

industry, or the City of London is interesting, but the

search costs. The various interactions between

implications of what goes on in such atypical regions

firms in the cluster and the local arts festivals help

for normal regions are hard to draw. Brighton is a

showcase material and enrich the social networks

more typical case that can provide more appropriate

that are so important for economic activity in this

lessons. It is a success but still has problems. It has

distributed, project based industry.

grown, but still has unrealised potential. And it has

Clearly important policy questions remain about when and where to cross-subsidise and where to allow individuals, firms and regions to capture the majority of the value that is created. In Brighton, there seems to have been a particularly effective division of labour that combines hard-headed entrepreneurial focus on capturing economic value in a small number of firms, with a strongly socialised ethos of sharing in other creative areas. Some of the weaknesses in the cluster may reflect an inappropriate balance at work. For example, universities can find it difficult to capture economic value from research and training because of the

advantages, but also disadvantages. Moreover, it shows how disadvantages can turn into advantages and vice versa. In this regard, it is more like other potential clusters than the atypical clusters that are often studied. Needless to say, most regions don’t have a Stanford University to draw on. The lessons of Brighton are: 1. It is very difficult to create artificial clusters from nothing, but policy can be helpful later on Rather than starting from scratch, the Brighton cluster emerged from existing technology which was developed to create and capture value by

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The Brighton Fuse  
The Brighton Fuse  
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