Twenty years after Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter introduced the concept to the policy community and 10 years after its wide state adoption, clusters—geographic concentrations of interconnected firms and supporting or coordinating organizations—have reemerged as a key tool and rubric in Washington and in the nation’s economic regions.
After a decade of delay, the executive branch and Congress have joined state and local policymakers in embracing “regional innovation clusters” as a framework for structuring the nation’s economic development activities. At the state level, governors and gubernatorial candidates of both parties are maintaining or stepping up their longstanding interest.
And additionally, a broad range of business leaders, mainstream commentators, and policy analysts have been calling in the wake of the recent recession for a different kind of growth model that depends less on bubbles and consumption and more on the production of lasting value in metropolitan economies and the super-productive clusters within them.
Image: Ian Whadcock