Innovation in a creative production system: the case of design

Sunley, Peter, Pinch, Steven, Reimer, Suzanne and Macmillen, James (2008) Innovation in a creative production system: the case of design. Journal of Economic Geography, 8, (5), 675-698. (doi:10.1093/jeg/lbn028).


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This paper addresses the relatively neglected issue of variations in the degree of innovation and creativity within cultural production systems – paying particular attention to the design industries. It is argued that previous studies have paid too much attention to place-based creative buzz, thereby downplaying the business ecosystems and firm architectures that drive innovation. Design emerges from interactions between different sites that synthesize and recombine knowledge so as to produce emergent effects and new designs. These processes can best be encapsulated by the metaphor of the ‘creative broker’ and mean that individual agency cannot be reduced to networks or relations. Consequently, design centres tend to display significant differences from industrial districts. Unlike industrial districts, non-market relations are relatively unimportant compared with market relations, and there is little evidence of institutional thickness.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1093/jeg/lbn028
ISSNs: 1468-2702 (print)
1468-2710 (electronic)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Geography > Economy, Culture, Space
ePrint ID: 65972
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
September 2008Published
25 July 2008Made publicly available
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2009
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:51

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