2008 volume 40(5) pages 1040 – 1056
doi:10.1068/a39110

Cite as:
Moodysson J, Coenen L, Asheim B, 2008, "Explaining spatial patterns of innovation: analytical and synthetic modes of knowledge creation in the Medicon Valley life-science cluster" Environment and Planning A 40(5) 1040 – 1056

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Explaining spatial patterns of innovation: analytical and synthetic modes of knowledge creation in the Medicon Valley life-science cluster

Jerker Moodysson, Lars Coenen, Bjørn Asheim

Received 28 March 2006; in revised form 25 July 2006

Abstract. The authors address the dichotomy around ‘proximate’ and ‘distant’ learning processes by looking specifically at the characteristics of the knowledge-creation process. By way of suggesting an alternative conceptualization to the well-known tacit – codified knowledge dichotomy, they propose a distinction between ‘analytical’ and ‘synthetic’ modes of knowledge creation. Analytical knowledge creation refers to the understanding and explaining of features of the (natural) world. Synthetic knowledge creation refers to the design or construction of something to attain functional goals. By applying this framework to qualitative empirics from the Medicon Valley life-science cluster, the authors demonstrate the complementarity of globally distributed analytical knowledge creation and locally oriented synthetic knowledge creation.

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