SPRI offers Basque Cluster management organisations, together with Financial support, a wide range of “Technical” assistance initiatives for their development.
In order to successfully implement RIS3, Basque cluster policy has addressed 2 main challenges:
• Developping stronger Cluster management organisations by creating common spaces for mutual learning with and among them.
• Further aligning public competitiveness policies with the private sector and the cluster associations’ strategies, informing also Government strategies by reinforcing constructive dialogue.
Thus, SPRI offers to Basque CMOs (Cluster Associations), together with Financial support, a wide range of “Technical” assistance initiatives for cluster development, including:
• Cluster Associations’ Action Plans assessment.
• Information & experiences exchanges (learning and sharing together):
o Basque Cluster Day
o Working Groups on common interests such as Technology Watch & Competitive Intelligence Tools, Evaluation or Talent development.
• International networking, CMOs matchmaking and Best Practices watch (TCI-Network, European Projects, ECCP, ESCA..).
• Facilitation Support for Exploring Convergence, Fusion, Integration or Alliances of Clusters Associations.
• SPRI Cluster Liaison Officers in each Cluster Associations’ Boards.
• Monitoring & Evaluation Tools: Shared Comparative Performance Scoreboard, the “User’s Voice” Survey…
The main stakeholders are: Cluster Associations; academia and science, technology & innovation (STI) system; Cluster policy managing authority (Dept. of Economic Dev. and Infrastructures) and implementing agency, SPRI.
A coordination team of 2 people (FTE) and 8 Cluster Liaison Officers on a part-time basis (Min. 100 hours/year each). Depending on workload, external support might be needed for facilitation, analysis and event organisation.
Evidence of success
A high degree of participation attained in the proposed activities.
In the annual meetings all cluster associations take part. In the last Basque Cluster Day (2017) satisfaction survey 90% rating 4-5 points (out of 5) in general satisfaction and 80% rating 4-5 points the Thematic Workshops.
Engagement in the Working Groups is also high; 12 cluster associations (out of 17) participate in the WG on “Collaborative Competitive Intelligence”; all 17 cluster associations in the WG on “Evaluation”.
The main challenge is to agree on topics of interest for different Cluster Associations with different levels of maturity and different needs and, eventually, different resources; also to customize tools to different requirements.
Potential for learning or transfer
The transferability of this experience regarding into other European contexts is quite high. It capitalizes on the value of sharing knowledge and mutually reinforcing development, profiting from learnings from hands-on experiences and actual practice and adopting what has already worked for others.
Keys to success are the following:
• Willingness of Cluster Associations to share and to learn with and from each other.
• The role of the cluster policy implementing body (Regional Agency or equivalent) as facilitator and booster.
Lessons learnt: Beyond financial assistance, which can be very relevant for the cluster associations’ sustainability, especially in early stages, the proposed “non-financial support activities” contribute to engage cluster management organisations in regional cluster-based economic development policies, generating trust, building bridges and aligning collaborative efforts.
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