Clusters - geographic groupings of connected companies and industries - are re-emerging as important tools for economic development in the United States, 20 years after the concept was developed by Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter. Today, Congress and the federal government's executive branch are joining local policy makers in aiding "regional innovation clusters" (RICs) to promote economic development.
Clusters present a realistic way to conceptualize economic development efforts and make those efforts more productive. They help companies complete transactions, share technologies, develop innovations, begin new businesses, and create jobs.
These geographic concentrations could become remedies for America's economic history of booms and busts, and ultimately revitalize regional economies.