Caves, Clusters, and Weak Ties: The Six Degrees World of Inventors

Lee Fleming, Lumry Family Associate Professor of Business Administration in the Technology and Operations Management Unit at Harvard Business School, summarizes some research on the importance of weak ties and networks for promoting innovation. My key takeaways from the article:

– Fleming says, “Inventors in regions are becoming more connected. By the end of the ’90s, half of the patented inventors in Silicon Valley could trace an indirect collaborative path to one another.” I suggest that online networks are a key reason for that pattern.
– Non-compete covenants have a very deleterious effect on the spread of knowledge. Compare CA’s economic growth vs. MA’s.