The ongoing experience of launching RedLAC

TCIEn el boletín de julio 2009 de TCI (http://www.competitiveness.org/) aparece esta nota sobre RedLAC. La reproducimos como agradecimiento por el apoyo que todos Ustedes nos han brindado así como invitación a que continúen promoviendo este proyecto comunitario.

Logo RedLAC 100Launching RedLAC (The Latin American Cluster Network) has been, so far, a fun challenge. It is not much different from starting a cluster initiative, although it has the added intricacies of distance, time lag and mostly-digital interactions. Otherwise, it shares with a Cluster Initiative the sense of collaboration, common objectives and benefits for all.  It is a lot of work but it also brings learning and, yes, fun.  This is why I do not agree with the use of the term ‘virtual network’.  The emerging body is quite real and its capability for action even more so.  In short, RedLAC is nothing but a big, continent-wide cluster, in line with TCI’s global effort.

Luckily, new technologies make it easier by the day to run such a network. This is why our two main networking tools are digital:

1. A blog at www.clusterizando.com.  The use of the word ‘clusterizando’ (clustering) as the title signals our commitment with action in terms of exchange of useful information and practical experiences, and reciprocal support.  Please visit the blog for detailed information about RedLAC, its objectives and vision.  You will also find a number of posts on cluster-related topics such as: Practical Cases, Competitiveness, Regional Development, Economics, Innovation, Human Processes and Methodology.  Most posts are in Spanish and/or Portuguese but we also welcome contributions in English.

2.  The group ‘RedLAC’ at www.linkedin.com currently sports 86 members, not only from all over Latin America, but also from the USA and Europe.  Linkedin-RedLAC has served as the basis for ‘discussions’ that have helped members get in contact over specific topics of interest.  This group is open to any interested cluster practitioner.   It only requires one to sign at no cost at www.linkedin.com and then apply for admission to the group ‘RedLAC’.

Fortunately, as well, we occasionally manage to meet in person, although not as often as desired.  RedLAC got started at the 3d. Latin American Cluster Conference (3CLAC) that took place in Chihuahua in May 2008, with an attendance of close to 200 cluster practitioners.  Soon, we will meet again at the 4CLC in Mendoza, Argentina, on November 16-20, 2009 (www.clusterlatinoamerica2009.com).  In the Mendoza program, we have reserved a special session to personally address RedLAC and its operations.

TCI’s annual global conferences offer an additional opportunity to get together.  We had a Latin American Regional meeting in Cape Town last October.  We will meet again in Jyväskylä, Finland, for the 12th TCI Conference from October 12 to 16, 2009 (www.clusters2009.com).

Additionally, we encourage direct contacts among RedLAC members by e-mail, phone or, even better, by personal visits.  We are shooting for a vibrant, resourceful community at the service of Latin America’s progress. Come on and join us!

A final word to other regions within the TCI community: we are looking forward to link and exchange experiences and information.  Regional meetings are becoming a standard feature in TCI’s Global Conferences, let’s make it a continuous effort through regional networks.

alonsoramos@mac.com

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