This Harvard Business Review article explains how clusters foster high levels of productivity and innovation and lays out the implications for competitive strategy and economic policy. Economic geography in an era of global competition poses a paradox. In theory, location should no longer be a source of competitive advantage. Open global markets, rapid transportation, and high-speed communications should allow any company to source any thing from any place at any time. But in practice, location remains central to competition.
Today’s economic map of the world is characterized by what Porter calls clusters: critical masses in one place of linked industries and institutions--from suppliers to universities to government agencies--that enjoy unusual competitive success in a particular field. The most famous examples are found in Silicon Valley and Hollywood, but clusters dot the world’s landscape.
Image: Nick Lowndes