Build Your Cluster Strategy (3/3): Cluster selection and how leaders create the culture needed internally to benefit most

It’s well known that innovation clusters particularly those for key enabling technologies like quantum provide active members innovation support and growth acceleration. We already discussed the power of innovation clusters and why to join a cluster initiative for quantum. However, which one to choose? Develop a cluster strategy for your organization, no matter if company, RTO or university, and find out how to select the perfect cluster and how to benefit the most.

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Innovation Cluster Audit and Evaluation

To identify the right Cluster, it´s mandatory to analyze your organization’s status quo in R&D and management considering your vision and ambitions, your innovation strategy and innovation pipeline, the ecosystems you are involved in and the stakeholders as well as existing vertical and horizontal collaborations and the use of external providers.

Although the identification and selection of an innovation Cluster is a complex process. You can start with the following simple approach to gain a first overview.

Have a look at the most important benefits for active network members and ask yourself: Could we improve the following indicators in our organization and could they add value to our organization? If the answer is yes, what will the estimated impact be and how should the improvement/support ideally look like?

Improvement Indicator Estimated impact
(low/medium/high)
How should best support look like?
Deep market and organizations insights     
Technology and knowledge exchange with experts    
Matchmaking    
Joint projects and collaboration projects    
Business development    
Internationalization
Startup founding and acceleration    
Higher visibility    
Educational training    
Staff recruiting    
Private and public funding    
Others    

With those findings, you can search for existing clusters for the ecosystem, industry domain, technology or topic you want to put effort on. Popular search platforms are the European Cluster Collaboration Platform and national sites, e.g. the Cluster Platform Germany and Google.com (not alle clusters are listed in those platforms).

The comparison of the Cluster Services, the Cluster Value Proposition, the Cluster Management Team and the Cluster Focuses (Entrepreneurship, Research,…) with your improvement indicators with the highest estimated impact will show you a tendency. We recommend contacting the top clusters from your list and figuring out if your impression of the cluster meets reality and what should you as a potential member should put in the cluster to get out the most of it.

Internal relationships, processes and culture adoption

A cluster membership can be used as an additional logo on your website or you start using the cluster in an active and smart way. The membership, its opportunities for the organization and the cluster services should be presented to each employee from every division. At least, it is absolutely necessary to identify and appoint internal contact persons for the different cluster services, from matchmaking, expert meetings and marketing support to job board and events. Furthermore organizations should integrate the cluster as an innovation broker and service provider in their processes, not only in R&D and innovation management, but also in marketing and HR. Transforming your culture to open innovation, managed collaborations and a welcomed use of cluster services is the icing on the cake and the most efficient way to push technological advancements and accelerate growth.

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