Örjan Sölvell, Göran Lindqvist, Christian Ketels September 2003
Cluster initiatives (CIs) have become a central feature in improving growth and competitiveness of clusters. Inspired by the works of Professor Michael E. Porter, government leaders, industry leaders and academic leaders create new forms of partnerships in all parts of the world.
This Greenbook on cluster initiatives is the first of its kind, presenting data from over 250 CIs around the world, based on the Global Cluster Initiative Survey 2003 and a series of case studies. The book describes and analyses CIs in great detail: In what settings do they evolve? What objectives do they pursue?
What does the CI process look like? And what are the drivers of good performance?
The Greenbook offers a new model - the Cluster Initiative Performance Model (CIPM) - which can be used to analyse and evaluate CIs. The CIPM is based on four key components: the social, political and economic setting within the nation; the objectives of the cluster initiative; the process by which the cluster initiative develops; and the performance of the CI.
The concept of clusters has emerged as an important concept in competitiveness and economic development over the last decade. Drawing on a long tradition of literature, the reasons for cluster formation and the benefits of clusters for productivity and innovation are becoming better
known (1). A large and growing body of case studies has documented clusters, their characteristics, and their evolution over
time (2). More recently, efforts to analyze clusters statistically are
beginning (3), but are still often hampered by data limitations, especially outside the United States.
As the understanding of clusters has grown, clusters have become a prevalent component of national and regional economic development plans. Hundreds of cluster initiatives have been launched in virtually every region of the world, and the number is growing. These initiatives, which take a wide variety of forms, are now an accepted part of economic development. However, we have surprisingly little systematic knowledge of these initiatives, their structure, and their outcomes. As more and more resources are devoted to efforts to foster cluster development, the need to understand best practices has become urgent.
This Cluster Initiative Greenbook is a pioneering effort to fill this gap. It assembles, for the first time, survey evidence on a large sample of cluster initiatives. This data allows an analysis of the different shapes of cluster initiatives, how they evolve over time, and some of the factors that appear to influence their success and failure. While data limitations preclude definitive findings regarding the performance of cluster initiative and their causes, then, the Greenbook provides much helpful and suggestive evidence. It also contains more in-depth descriptions of some aspects of cluster initiatives that experience reveals to be important to success.
Having participated in many dozens of cluster initiatives since the publication of The Competitive Advantage of Nations in 1990, the findings and suggestions here ring true. While we still have much to learn about translating the concept of clusters into practice, this volume takes us a big step forward.
(1) For a literature survey and summary of the theory, see M.E. Porter, "Clusters and Competition: New Agendas for Companies, Governments, and Institutions" in On Competition, Boston: Harvard Business School Press (1998). (2) See the bibliography of cluster profiles by Claas van der Linde available at
http://data.isc.hbs.edu/cp (3) See M.E. Porter, The Economic Performance of
Regions, Regional Studies, pp. 549-578, Vol. 37.6&7, 2003.
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