European Cluster Conference 2010: Overwhelming Success
European Cluster Conference 2010: Overwhelming Success
More than 450 participants participated at the European Cluster Conference representing policy makers from national and regional public authorities, key academic experts as well as cluster managers and entrepreneurs from all over Europe.
A main topic of this Conference was the presentation and further discussion of the final report of the European Cluster Policy Group (ECPG) that had been established last year by the European Commission. This report calls for an improved coordination between the different EU initiatives in support of clusters and proposes that the “focus of cluster programmes needs to be shifted from capacity building and compensation for poor performance towards a clear orientation on excellence, focusing on clusters with the ability and the willingness to upgrade in the face of global competition and ensuring the consistent provision of public knowledge infrastructure to support them.”
Vice President Antonio Tajani welcomed the recommendations of the Group as an important input for the preparation of the forthcoming Commission’s Communication on industrial policy. “This debate is timely”, he said. “The increased global competition has raised the interest in strong clusters as hubs for boosting industrial innovation and growth. The objective of the Europe 2020 Strategy is to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe, and clusters are an important element of this strategy.”<
The European Cluster Conference had been the scene of launching three new support services for cluster stakeholders in Europe.
The first Club of Cluster Managers’ event offered an interactive forum for cluster managers to get inspirations and new ideas for their daily job. Brainstorming and training sessions had been organised in themes such as indicators for cluster management excellence, cross-sectoral cluster cooperation or cluster branding, moreover experienced cluster managers gave testimonials about their road to success.
The 2010 Cluster Manager of the Year Prize was awarded to Mr. Johan P. Bang from Future Position X, North mid Sweden!
The long-awaited European Cluster Collaboration Platform took off to provide cluster managers with a virtual place to meet, build partnerships, develop new projects and get information about key news and events.
The new website of the European Cluster Observatory had been revealed, which includes improved data and functionalities about clusters and offers a wide range of services for cluster stakeholders such as cluster mapping, cluster wiki and cluster library.
The key messages of the European Cluster Conference were the followings:
- “Industry matters – also for the future!” Europe has a long history of a competitive and innovative industry. Automotive, aerospace, chemicals, food, textile are just a few examples where Europe has a strong competence and international recognition. As global challenges are becoming bigger, policy responses should be more ambitious. The flagship initiative «An industrial policy for the globalisation era» within the framework of the Europe 2020 Strategy provides the right framework to work more effectively in the EU. The development of more world-class clusters in Europe will be instrumental in this respect.
- “Industry changes – all the time!” The new society-driven challenges and the increased importance of research and innovation, have a profound impact on our industry. Clusters are catalysts of change. They operate most often at the intersection of traditional sectors, develop and integrate cutting-edge technologies, and help companies to internationalise. The announced new European Cluster Excellence Scoreboard will help to better understand what drives cluster development and which specific framework conditions are conducive to support world-class clusters in Europe, especially in emerging area.
- Professional cluster management makes the real difference! Clusters willing to become of world-class need excellent cluster organisations offering high-quality services to cluster firms, promoting synergies with top research organisations, and facilitating international cluster activities. Not all cluster organisations in Europe are excellent today. The “European Cluster Excellence Initiative” (ECEI) currently works to raise the professionalism of cluster organisations. A first deliverable was the launch during the conference of the European Club of Cluster Managers. A new EU action is also planned to accelerate the take-up of the ECEI results.
- Acting globally is a must for clusters! European clusters must develop an international strategy to work together with universities and highly innovative SMEs, no matter where they are located. The Commission and the Member States must work together to facilitate this process and identify which actions would have the biggest impact in this context. A new EU action is also planned early next year to promote international cluster activities in Europe. At the same time, the European Cluster Cooperation Platform launched during the conference will facilitate and strengthen transnational cooperation between clusters.
- World-class clusters must also be known world-wide! Dynamic clusters provide an excellent business environment for innovation and the internationalisation of SMEs. To be “world-class”, clusters must also be known world-wide. Not only cluster excellence matters but also the reputation and image of a cluster. Therefore clusters must also think about their marketing strategy. The European Cluster Alliance, which brings together cluster policy makers from all parts of Europe, is currently looking at how to better promote cluster branding in Europe.