Industrial Organization in Canada – new book that includes a chapter on ag clusters in Canada

February 4, 2011

Industrial Organization in Canada: Empirical Evidence and Policy Challenges

Edited by Zhiqi Chen and Marc Duhamel

“An innovative collection that looks at industrial policy in present-day Canada”

This new publication includes a chapter by Gaisford, Kerr, Phillips and Ryan on the economic performance of agricultural based clusters in Canada.

Excerpts from article:

“The central policy question is whether governments should go beyond a minimalist policy that removes obstacles to the formation of clusters and engage in more activist incubation or nurturing of clusters.  Clearly, policy should be designed to ensure that no regulatory, tax or competition policy barriers inhibit the development of clusters.  Beyond this, governments could simply allow market forces to determine the establishment of clusters.  Even the minimalist agenda is easier said than done. For example, our analysis of agricultural biotechnology clustering suggests challenges for the management of intellectual property.  Overly strict or lax management has the potential to sever the connections that can create inventions and innovations.”

“The mere existence of a cluster cannot be taken as evidence of success. A cluster may be well on the way to depleting its financial assets, while those involved may still believe, or at least act, as if the breakthrough that will make the cluster sustainable is near at hand.  The only true measure of success for clusters is evidence of the creation of a number of commercially viable goods or services based on the knowledge arising from the cluster’s activities.”

“Definitions of clusters vary widely depending upon the actors and institutions involved and the strategies that they employ. The national regulatory environment and intellectual property rights regime adds to the complexities of a given cluster. Also, it appears that normative factors such as trust, habits, and conventions may play a supportive role in localised learning and in the flow of codified and tacit knowledge. Thus, clusters are difficult to measure and analyse.”


Paper (0773537899) 9780773537897
Release date: 2011-03-01 
CA $39.95

Pre-order yours today at: 


@IPHandbook goes ‘wiki-rogue’-check out Ryan/Phillips chapters on ag clusters

Precursor: A note on the value of personal networks

Anatole Krattiger is a self-defined “vege-quarian” and a firm believer in GM-organics.  We first met at an IP workshop that he led at Cornell in 2001 (an excellent opportunity for a wide-eyed, idealistic, burgeoning academic).  The following year, Anatole served as a Keynote at the ABIC conference held in Saskatoon. Anatole is a great scholar, passionate activist, kind man and a good friend… I regret that our connections have weakened over the past few years. But we both have busy lives. Anatole travels extensively and he is involved in many activities (editor-in-chief of Innovation Strategy Today and a member of the editorial boards of the International Journal of Biotechnology and the International Journal of Technology Transfer and Commercialization to name a few). One of Anatole’s many distractions was the compilation and editing of the Intellectual Property Management Handbook of Best  Practices. 


The IP Handbook (made possible with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Kauffman Foundationis a massive piece of work – two volumes and 2000+ pages with contributions from over 200 academics, practitioners and experts worldwide.  This IP Handbook is an editorial feat.  The editors invite – no, ENCOURAGE – you to access the book; use it, copy it, share it, to reproduce it freely! (one review of the  book can be found here  It was through my personal / professional connection with Anatole that I was given the opportunity to contribute to this massive work (details and shameless self-promotion below).

“Wiki-Rogue” (my term)

The Intellectual Property Management Handbook of Best  Practices website has gone “wiki-rogue” and now includes “User Comments” & Content Upload Features.  Other major expansions to the website have also been launched with a special new feature which will ensure the content is up-to-date, relevant and constantly expanded to include the latest developments.

  • For each topic or chapter, users and authors alike can include comments and upload additional resources related to each topic/chapter, including PDF files and weblinks.
  • This special feature should make the ipHandbook grow and become a lively and relevant place where recently developments and expanded content is readily available.

Other important features of the ipHandbook website include:

Now for some  shameless self-promotion

Another colleague and good friend of mine, Dr. Peter Phillips, and I collaborated on two Chapters in this IP ‘tome’ that revolve around the (nebulous, yet fascinating) notion of ‘clusters’ as tools for economic development, in particular those with an agriculture focus.  I pull a couple of key observations/excerpts from these two chapters:

The Role of Clusters in Driving Innovation

“…the increasing complexity and fragmentation of knowledge and IP rights in the biotechnology sector suggests there likely is no single center that can effectively develop new biotechnologies or applications. Networking and partnerships are going to be the order of the day.”

Building Research Clusters: Exploring Public Policy Options for Supporting Regional Innovation

“…while clusters are attractive economic development tools, they must be nurtured with an appreciation for their partial and incomplete nature. Fundamentally, they are part of a global innovation system, and cannot thrive if cut off from the lifeblood of the system—ideas, skilled labor, capital, and competing and collaborating companies and organizations.”

I would like to invite you to read and offer up comments and feedback to the Ryan/Phillips chpaters in Intellectual Property Management Handbook  of  Best  Practices (and other chapters as well). The iterative process of peer review, learning and the development of new ideas makes this type of feedback extremely valuable!

Ryan & Phillips. The Role of Clusters in Driving Innovation

Ryan & Phillips.  Building Research Clusters: Exploring Public Policy Options for Supporting Regional Innovation