How can governments create a cluster?

Exec Summary – they can’t.

Notes from Silicon Valley comes to Cambridge discussion on 19th November.

Most of the panelists were downbeat on the idea of most incubator schemes. (As opposed to company development programmes) but the conversation moved to discussing the announcement last week that the UK government will create Silicon Valley in the East End.

Joi Ito made some fantastic points summarised here:

Joi Ito – You need and ecosystem that consists of:

  • Cheap rent
  • Investors
  • Services
  • Mentoring
  • Make it cheap, make it scrappy. If governments and institutions get involved, it will be far too ‘well done’.

Governments role is to eliminate barriers to investment – CGT, bankruptcy laws. Not create.

Cheap is key. McKinsey is not cheap. Governments creating incubators is usually a silly idea. SoHo, South Park all happened without any government ‘help’/interference. Singapore just about gets away with it because Singapore is small and relatively ‘unpolitical’.