Two-thirds of the world’s economic activity, and 86% of its patented inventions, are concentrated in 40 mega-regions. With their resources of skills, technology and investment, they are continually attracting people and resources. Does this mean that rural and island areas will become ever more on the fringe for innovation? A new idea developed in Slovenia by Dr Stanko Blatnik is for smaller and remoter locations to build up into clusters of their own, with digital links bringing them together into a creative structure. He describes his ideas and how they might lead to new economic opportunities. Dr Howie Firth sets the scene, and explores how the concept might work for Scotland.