Cluster Training Courses

Sample Curriculum

- DAY 1 -



What are clusters? How do they work?

  • International examples
  • Clusters & regional innovation systems
  • 4 elements of high performance clusters
  • The benefits of clustering

The Cluster Navigator's Development Process

  • Mobilizing collective action
  • Common elements of cluster development process

Introduction to the Twelve Stage process for cluster development


Stage 1. Introducing Relevance of Cluster Development

  • Identify potential funders and gain support
  • Introduce role of economic development agencies

Stage 2. Analysis of Local Economy

  • Approaches to cluster identification
  • Short listing priority clusters for early engagement

Stage 3. Initial Cluster Review

  • Pinpoint objectives
  • Process of taking stock on the current situation
  • Establish cluster boundaries
  • Limitations of statistical data
  • Building on existing industry associations
  • Secondary research sources
  • Primary research: interview guide
  • Report framework

Stage 4. Establish the Cluster's Leadership Team

  • The 'Board of Directors' for the cluster
  • Public vs. private sector leadership
  • Drawing senior stakeholders into the process
  • Role of leadership team, Chairperson(s) Empowering, sharing the workload
  • Role of the neutral facilitator

Stage 5. Developing the Cluster's Vision

  • A preferred future for the cluster
  • Importance of a united view
  • Workshop structure, process

Stage 6. Identifying Stepping Stones

  • Broad steps to deliver the preferred future
  • Back casting
  • Ranging the strategic priorities Stage

Stage 7. Immediate Action Agenda

  • Short term action initiatives
  • Establishing self-destruct Task Forces
  • Differentiating facilitation vs. 'Project Manager' roles

Cluster Dinner

- DAY 2 -


Key learning from the first day

Stage 8. Launching Cluster

  • Obtain public involvement and media support
  • Increase visibility of cluster leaders

Stage 9. Institutionalizing

  • Structure options for a transitioning organization, trade-offs
  • Renewing the cluster leadership team
  • Clustering within a Regional Economic Development Agency Framework
  • Integration of cluster development with other economic development initiatives
  • Clusters as organic systems

Stage 10. Upgrading the Strategic Agenda

  • Cluster 'Integrity Ladder'
  • Benchmarking, formal and informal
  • Portfolio of clustering initiatives; Cluster intersections
  • Cross-cluster initiatives
  • Branding the cluster, and the region
  • Collaborating with neighboring clusters
  • Annual 'Town Hall' public meetings

Stage 11. Cluster Review

  • Review successes and failures to date
  • Examine cluster's competitive position
  • Evaluate clustering process
  • Revisit cluster's competitive fundamentals
  • Close slow-moving initiatives
  • Roles and Tools in cluster development

Stage 12. Broadening the Agenda

  • Integrate cluster development with other economic development initiatives
  • Cluster within Regional Economic Development Agency framework
  • Clustering clusters... Link with adjoining, related or international clusters

Clusters and Foreign Direct Investment


Roles and Tools in cluster development

  • Spatial dimensions of clusters: intersections at Local, Regional, State and National levels
  • Role of State and regional development agencies in cluster development; Resourcing the cluster intervention
  • Collaborative Partnership Continuum: linking Soft and Hard Networks; Supply Chains; Clusters Application of the Collaborative Value Chain, examples
  • Role of tertiary institutions, secondary schools, technology transfer agencies, Government R&D agencies, Incubators, Technology Parks in cluster development

Key Elements of a Cluster Development Program

  • Resourcing, timelines, starting up a cluster development program
    Cluster communications: internal; external
  • Specific aspects to consider within the local environment
    Clustering clusters... linking with adjoining clusters, and with related local and international clusters

Final Questions, Discussion

Summary: Check list for Cluster Facilitators

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