“The Voice of the User” is a survey to gather feedback, on cluster associations’ activities and services and their impact on competitiveness, from their members
The challenge addressed was to gather feedback from cluster associations’ members on their perception regarding the activities and services delivered by the organisation, and its impact on their competitiveness; furthermore, to hear their views on whether and in which direction the services and activities need to be reoriented.
“The Voice of the User” is a survey designed by SPRI with participation of the cluster associations and delivered online (in some cases, with taylor-made questions for their specific requirements), that collects information on:
• Degree of participation of the company in the cluster’s services and activities (on a typology of 13 categories; type of participation, frequency).
• Importance of each activity/service for the competitiveness of the company.
• Time and resource commitment that the cluster association should ideally allocate to each activity/service
• Suggestions for new activities/services and collaboration areas
• Estimated impact of the clusters activities/services in the company’s competitiveness in the last 5 years and expected for the next 5.
• Perception on the cluster association members’ commitment.
• Qualitative assessment (strengths, opportunities for improvement).
• Company profile (jobs, turn-over range, R&D+i activity, exports).
The main stakeholders are Cluster Associations, members of Academia and STI system, cluster policy Managing authority (Dept. of Econ. Dev. and Infrastructures) and Implementing agency, SPRI
Staff cost (design, upload the survey in online format and process data); depending on workload, external support may be needed for exploiting results/producing reports (estimated 12-18 hr for CMO).
Online survey tools cost around 20 €/month (1.000 results per form) to 50 €/month (2.500 results).
Evidence of success
• All 17 Basque CMOs (cluster associations) engaged in a constructive dialogue to define final format & customize the survey with additional relevant questions for their specific requirements.
• Positive feedback from the 4 participants in the pilot survey about the insights they got from the survey.
• Positive feedback in other international partners (TCI Evaluation Group, CLUSTERS3 partnership…).
The big challenge is to ensure and achieve a wide participation from cluster associations’ members in the survey. The CMOs can increase participation by sending an invitation to their members encouraging them to participate in the survey.
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice can be relevant for Cluster policymakers and cluster management organisations that want to check the relevance and impact of the delivered services and activities for their members and also to obtain from them feedback and guidance on what other services, activities and collaboration dynamics should be developped by the cluster organisation.
A key for this practice to be successful in that the cluster policy implementing agency engages the cluster management organisations in the design and launch of the initiative. Shared ownership and mutual understanding of the potential benefit is a precondition for success. This survey is not about auditing the activity or the performance of the cluster associations. It is about learning together and gaining direct insight for improving.
This practice can be easily adopted, provided the cluster management organisations’ members are committed enough and willing to contribute.
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