Methodology

Collaborative Strategy

A key strength of ECG is its experience in bringing together private and public stakeholders in a proven "working group" process to develop cluster strategies. Collaborative problem-solving, we have found, is the only way to develop and effectively implement regional competitiveness strategies. ECG does not stop at analysis and recommendation. ECG examines the vital inter-industry linkages that characterize successful economies.

Dynamic Clusters
Creating a Vital Cycle: Dynamic Regional Cluster Economies

When cluster industries and institutions are proactively interacting, communicating, collaborating, and competing, the entire regional economy becomes more dynamic and successful in responding to opportunities for growth and change both locally and globally.

Cluster analysis and development – "clustering" – provides the most effective and reliable way to achieve balanced, sustainable growth in the localities and regions. Successful cluster development has been proven to result in spontaneous, self-sustaining growth. This approach has been used – successfully – in economies as diverse as Arizona and New Zealand, Florida and Mexico, and Silicon Valley and South Africa. It has worked in these differing locations because the basic elements are robust, and because one of the basic tenets of clustering is the need to customize the approach to local conditions.

Cluster approaches are based on a few principles:

  • Enterprises in the New Economy are attracted to a region less due to tax incentives and more due to:
    • Vibrant networks of existing enterprises that are producing similar products; and
    • Rich layers of economic infrastructure such as research centers, incubators, adequate bandwidth and a favorable business climate.
    • In the most successful, competitive regions around the world (e.g. Silicon Valley, Singapore, Rt. 128) we observe dynamic clusters, consisting of networks of firms, supported by institutions providing needed economic infrastructure.
    • Clustering is the act of artificially accelerating the process of creating these institutions and strengthening these linkages.

Cluster approaches are based on a few principles:

  1. Strong Public/Private Collaboration: Public-sector officials learn what the cluster strategies are, and private sector leaders participate in the process of policy formulation.
  2. Co-opetition: Firms learn to cooperate on initiatives of mutual interest (joint training centers, joint product development, attracting suppliers) while still competing, keeping the local economy vibrant.
  3. Leadership Identification: One must uncover the "civic entrepreneurs" who are willing to contribute time, ideas, and resources to assist in cluster development, thereby fostering public goals while also serving self-interests.
  4. Central Strategy Integration: Successful cluster organizations are very open-ended, supporting the initiatives that come up from the clusters without controlling them. Crosscutting strategies are also developed to integrate and coordinate the decentralized activities.

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