TCI 2016

Conference Topics

The TCI 2016 Global Conference considers global changes, which we see happen faster and more disruptive than ever before. Globalisation, digitisation, the movement of people to cities and a increasing focus on societal values are just a few examples. These rapid changes have significant impact on business, policy and geographical locations. Companies have to compete in an increasingly global playing field and their capacity to adapt, learn, innovate and collaborate is key to remain competitive. Cluster-based organisations can facilitate companies to address multidisciplinary issues.

This years conference offers a General as well as an Academic Track in order to be relevant for a wide audience of practitioners, cluster managers, businesses, policy makers and academia. Both Tracks are concerned with practical topics that confront clusters today and are highly relevant in the Netherlands and top of mind among professionals all over the world. In that way the conference brings further the most recent discussions and nourish them with actual examples and realistic showcases.

General track

We have chosen four broad themes to structure the dialogue on the development and upgrowth of clusters seeing the changes their organisation are facing nowadays.

1. Cities and competitiveness

Cities and metropolitan areas are increasingly seen as a key driver of value creation and a key partner in enhancing competitiveness. They are also the natural habitat for many clusters, providing a density of economic activities in related fields. Proximity matters: clusters are part of and benefit from local networks like campuses, innovation districts and smart city platforms. Cities and clusters can help each other in reaching the global network society. Clusters also contribute to the narrative of the city and region. This theme invites you to reflect on the growing importance of cities, their significance for clusters and how clusters can help cities succeed.

2. Modern cluster policy

A decade of cluster-based policies has generated a rich set of experiences of what works, and what does not. It has also revealed that what is called cluster policy is, in reality, a highly heterogeneous set of policies and programmes implemented in different locations. We will discuss the do’s and don’ts for policy makers and the effectiveness of different policy practices. Clusters and cluster programmes can be supported at different levels of government, like local/city, regional or national. Clusters can be organized top down by policy makers, or arise bottom up by the initiative of industry or research. Through policy clusters can be encouraged to address societal challenges with a variety of incentives. Take stock through this theme of what we have learned about effective ways to organise cluster policies.

3. Managing learning networks

For organisations and clusters to stay competitive in the ever-accelerating cycles of innovation, they need to be adaptive, able to respond effectively to changes, absorb knowledge and form new collaboration structures. Clusters are challenged to form new collaborations across clusters and across sectors, absorbing new knowledge and the latest entrepreneurial skills. Clusters can facilitate their learning capacity in using living labs and being connected to healthy start-up ecosystems. The capacity to learn and adapt will make a difference. This theme explores learning and networking issues for clusters.

4. Food clusters

The urgent challenge for food security demands changes in the way the chain is organised. Clusters are a potential way to sustainably develop the sector, increasing efficiency and competitiveness. However, food clusters often lack awareness of the significance they can have on the environment around them. Food clusters have to rediscover the fit with their urban surroundings and actively contribute to the quality of life in and around cities. Learning from other clusters they can benefit from aspects like supply chain integration, crossovers, new business models and entrepreneurship.

Academic track

Researchers and practitioners discuss the practical implications of scientific research related to clusters and cluster practice. We are proud to have world class scientific partners committed. In order to bring focus, the Track employs three specific cluster matters:

  • Cluster Governance; as we see many public authorities engaging in cluster policies; how to select the best mix and how to bestintersect with the strategic decision-making of clusters?
  • Collaborative Learning; to what extent can clusters not only support, but deliberately create and orchestrate collaboration and learning among the interdependent actors that are involved?
  • Cluster Evaluation; building on the TCI Evaluation working group, how can clusters from all over the world, the organisations behind them, their members and supporting policies be assessed and valuated and what lessons learnt can we draw?
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