October saw hundreds of delegates from across the world head to Antwerp for this year’s TCI Network Global Conference. FIAL’s Managing Director, Dr. Mirjana Prica, and General Manager of Innovation, Dr. Barry McGookin were among them.
While over 90 speakers discussed a range of topics, according to Dr. Prica and Dr. McGookin, a number of themes emerged around best practice. These included:
- Clusters need to know how they can utilise their regional or specialist capability, and why. This cluster value proposition is valuable for decision making, interaction between cluster members, and providing a clear proposal to potential commercial opportunities for ongoing cluster viability and success.
- The triple helix approach as a key factor for building a successful cluster and region’s long-term competitiveness. This partnership between government, industry and research institutions enables the collective action necessary to overcome complex challenges. Without the participation of government, research, industry, business and community actors, there is less economic and social benefit.
- Clusters appear to work best when their processes and commercial activities are backed by government policy.
- Clusters are entrepreneurial, heterogeneous, focused, networked, and supported by investment.
- Interactions within and across clusters are key to stimulate ideas and build impactful programs.
- Clusters are increasingly viewed locally and globally as a way of doing business development.
- Specialisation, rather than generalisation is better for long term cluster success.
- Clustering in remote and inhospitable regions (almost all of Australia) faces unique challenges – infrastructure in these regions is generally poor so clustering can be used as a tool to attract the required investment; cluster members must work on a common purpose to ensure the long-term viability of the region.
Overall, the importance of collaboration and cooperation was apparent. The willingness to share ideas and collaborate was an inspiring reminder of the power of working together when solving big challenges.