Northern Connections

Cluster Training for Managers

13 November 2018 - Published by Anne Katrine Arentsen
On a windy autumn day in the end of October, cluster managers from eleven different regions meet up in Gothenburg for cluster training sessions held by the well-renowned economics professor Örjan Sölvell. During a day and a half sessions in cluster theory and capacity building gained participants insights and skills to continue working with it at home.

Few have the solid knowledge of how a business cluster will succeed in innovation as Örjan Sörvell, Professor of Business Administration; And since 2001 he holds the title of Senior Institute Associate at Harvard Business School - Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness.

Professor Örjan Sölvell has studied why some regions are more successful and innovative than others, and how successful and innovative clusters like Sillicon Valley and Hollywood occur. One of his most distinct messages during the training is to invest in local "bridge building organisations”, as that is an important ingredient to make the business flourish by connecting competences from both academia, the business community and public actors.

The purpose of the cluster manager training was foremost to increase knowledge about cluster theory among partners and fellow cluster actors, but we could clearly see that many of the participants got a theoretical perspective on what they actually practise on a daily basis,” says Lars Bern Area Manager Innovation at Business Region Göteborg and WP4 Lead in the Northern Connections project.

During the sessions professor Sölvell shared his research findings on cluster development and gave solid advice on strategy and competitiveness in the aspect of cluster development. The participants were given Professor Sölvell’s ten best recipes on how to analyse their clusters and business and he also shared interesting cases from some of the most successful clusters in the world. 

The participant were also able to work together and discuss the various conditions and challenges facing the cluster organizations of the different region.

It was a very fruitful and collaborative exercise where we both shared many insights and experiences from each other how we work with companies and innovation activities in our clusters as well as getting up to date on cluster practise and theories,” says Lars Bern.

I welcomed the initiative of the Cluster manager training organized by the Interreg NSR project Northern Connections. Örjan Sölvell is the perfect trainer to introduce and explain the concept of clusters. Through several examples, best practices and many tips, it was made clear how clusters can contribute to the strategy and competitiveness of a region. I’m happy I attended,” says Frans Snijkers, Business Developer at Cleantech Flanders.

Lise Niemann, Project Leader from Renewable Energy Hamburg, who left the training in Gothenburg via the ferry to Kiel, learned lessons about the strategical view on how international economies shift due to supply and demand, and the economical perspective on how cluster could operate within these gap.

“I also enjoyed the exchange with the other participants which simplified the understanding of the individual stakeholder demands,” says Lisa Niemann.

It was a good combination of practical and theoretical training. The fact that we are so different as clusters gave a good foundation for discussions and it was interesting to hear how the other clusters dealt with their everyday challenges.  The training meant that we got a good introduction to cluster theory and a practical examples from the teachers’ many years of experience. I look very much forward to the next training seminar,” says Alex Søgaard Moreno, Project Manager at Aalborg Municipality

A second training session is scheduled in 2019, probably early autumn, and we hope to see even more fellow cluster actors join us apart from Northern Connections partners.

Watch Lars Berns interview after he participated in the Cluster Training in Gothenburg HERE.