Checklists for clustering newcomers and more established players

Desde Nueva Zelanda, Ifor Ffowcs-Williams, cabeza de la consultora Cluster Navigators Ltd y pionero y trotamundos de los clusters, nos comparte  esta nota que apareció recientemente en su boletín. Nos ofrece algunos pistas para jugadores, tanto nuevos como experimentados, en los procesos de clusterización.

Ifor nos invita a comparar estos puntos con nuestras propias experiencias y a la vez  a enriquecerlos. Nos pregunta: ¿son diferentes las condiciones en América Latina? De antemano agradece la retroalimentación y nuevas reflexiones, mismas que serán incorporadas en el libro electrónico que Ifor esta actualmente escribiendo.

cluster navigators

A checklist for clustering newcomers

For those countries/regions that are engaging on their first clusters:

  • Don’t agonize too long over which clusters. Quickly identify a portfolio of clusters for a pilot programme based on transparent selection criteria;
  • Do agonize over the appointment of cluster facilitators, canvass widely, select carefully … look for born networkers, and weigh the balance in favor of women;
  • Empower cluster facilitators to undertake the necessary cluster analysis, supported where necessary with external sources. The facilitators need to fully understand both the cluster’s personalities and the cluster’s issues;
  • Establish early in the development process the criteria that will be used to measure progress, and firmly gather the baseline data;
  • Expect ‘low hanging fruit’ projects to be underway within 3-4 months;
  • Discourage the facilitators from acting as ‘Project Managers’ for every activity; rather encourage them to build self-destruct task forces around the key projects that are led by the cluster’s stakeholders.

A checklist for more established players

Established clustering initiatives can become moribund. Is yours one of those clustering initiatives that has failed to move beyond networking events? Is it vulnerable to short term changes in public agency priorities? Does it act like a conservatively managed industry association, underpinned with public funding?    Then don’t waste a good crisis!    For those with more mature clustering initiatives, especially in these difficult times:

  • Behave with URGENCY every day… destabilize a plodding clustering initiative with external threats;
  • Benchmark against higher performing clusters to generate data shocks for your cluster; bring the outside reality to an inwardly focused cluster;
  • Move on from having a strategic plan for your cluster, neatly balancing income and activities, to developing a strategic agenda with stretch ambitions that reach well beyond the resources currently at the cluster’s disposal. And then seek the resources to deliver on this higher level of activity;
  • Empower the entrepreneurs who have vision and passion, and seek to engage at the cluster level, let them determine the priorities;
  • Confront those who say «no» … those who kill urgency … those who are comfortable with the status quo;
  • Look for the upside possibilities, the new opportunities;
  • Work closely with other agencies; define for them more tightly your needs … the quality of support is the key, not the quantity;
  • And read John Kotter’s new book ‘A sense of Urgency‘, creating a gut-level determination to win. Now.

Ifor Ffowcs-Williams

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