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International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2006)

Mobility of innovators and prosperity of geographical technology clusters

Jiang He
Stevens Institute of Technology

M. Hosein Fallah
Stevens Institute of Technology

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     Last modified: August 14, 2006

Mobility of innovators and prosperity of geographical technology clusters:
A longitudinal examination of innovator networks in telecommunications industry

Although the efficiency of knowledge spillovers has long been considered a critical element for development of technology clusters by facilitating innovations, the relationship between characteristics of knowledge spillover network and regional cluster’s growth is ambiguous. Based on patent coauthorship data, we construct inventor networks for two geographical telecom clusters – New Jersey and Texas – and investigate how the networks evolved longitudinally as the technology clusters were undergoing different stages of their lifecycles. New Jersey and Texas were intentionally selected for the comparative network analysis. The telecom industry in the former state had encountered a significant unfavorable environmental change, which was largely due to the breakup of the monopoly of the Bell System and evolution of the telecom industry. Meanwhile, the telecom cluster of Texas has been demonstrating a growing trend in terms of innovation output and is gradually replacing New Jersey’s leadership in telecom innovation. We examine differences and similarities in dynamics of the innovator networks for the two geographical clusters over different time period. The results show that TX’s innovators’ networks became significantly better connected and less centralized than the ones of NJ in the later years of the time series while the two clusters were experiencing different stages of lifecycle. By using network visualization tools, we find the overwhelming power of Bell System’s entities in maintaining the NJ innovator network to be lasting a very long time after the breakup of the company. In contrast the central hubs are much less important in maintaining the TX’s network.

Key words: Social network, Technology clusters, Telecommunications R&D

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