Today's economy is about speed, flexibility and connectivity in an environment where innovation and economic growth are geographically concentrated. Clusters and their smart specialisations are cornerstones of this reality.
The focus for economic development is moving from the national level, from support to industries to individual firms. Today the emphasis is on the development of cities, regions and their cluster eco-systems. This bottom-up approach reflects that while companies may come and go, strong and evolving clusters provide economic stability to a region.
Though clusters are a natural occurrence, the development of clusters does not need to be left to chance.
Over the last decade cluster development has become a mainstream framework for innovation and regional development, especially in Europe. The animation of clusters provides a centre stage strategy that addresses innovation, productivity and competitiveness. The European Commission is now actively encouraging the development of world-class clusters. The logic is to support the internationalisation of small firms, industrial transformation and the development of regional specialisations.
My cluster development work has covered fifty+ countries, across five continents, over two decades. I have been exposed to over a thousand clusters.
Cluster Navigators is happy to share our learning through the Twelve Step process for Cluster Development that has evolved over those two decades. This information is also shared in our handbook: Cluster Development: The Go-To Handbook - Building Competitiveness through Smart Specialisation, which can be purchased via this site.
Ifor Ffowcs-Williams, CEO, Cluster Navigators Limited
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Ifor recently spoke at a International Clusters Business Dinner in Cardiff, Wales, hosted by Rebecca Evans AM, Deputy Minister for Farming & Food, National Assembly for Wales.