2009, pp 379-392

Exploration and Exploitation Networks in Space: The Case of the Shipbuilding Cluster of Turku in Finland

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Recent organizational theories on interfirm networks help to understand the role and extent of the region in innovative industry clusters. The distinction between exploration networks and exploitation networks highlights the different dynamics in the stages of the product-life cycle, and contributes to our understanding of the increasing spatial decoupling of innovation and design from (mass) production and distribution, and the consequences for clusters. In this paper we discuss the functional and spatial separation between exploration and exploitation networks, and introduce the notion of ‘temporary clusters’ where exploration and/or exploitation networks come together on a project basis. The case of Turku's booming shipbuilding cluster illustrates how the growth of the cluster is the product of an intriguing mix of local, regional, cross-border and global competences and linkages.