Lessons to be learned from business clusters – UK report

As this editor gets regular requests for survey data and forecasts, it would be a shame not to make readers aware of Industrial revolutions: capturing the growth potential, a recent 92-page report commissioned by the Gatsby Foundation from a partnership of Centre for Cities and McKinsey. Lord Sainsbury has written the foreword.

The report focuses on the lessons to be learned from clusters because:

1. Clusters are a major contributor to growth. The 31 economically significant clusters identified in this report contain 8% of the UK’s businesses, but generate 20% of UK output (gross value added).

2. Clusters are important sources of well-paid jobs. The United Kingdom’s top 31 economically significant clusters together employ four million people – one in seven of the working population – and they offer average salaries that are typically higher than those in the surrounding region.

3. Clusters bring business advantages that cannot easily be replicated. Economically significant clusters are ecosystems buzzing with soft knowledge across a myriad of networks and connections that not only promote a better understanding of what customers want, but also support emerging innovations. As a consequence they attract investment and talent. This virtuous circle is difficult to create by design – accordingly, such clusters can represent a defensible competitive advantage for the UK.

Sadly there is little mention of health and healthcare, though the analysis is extremely interesting, and may give some readers useful ideas for generating, specifically, a digital healthcare cluster soon.

Hat tip to Prof Mike Short for kindly alerting me to this report.


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