InoLink is strengthening clusters by developing strategy, competence, fostering innovation initiatives and integration into international value chains.
In 2015 clusters in Lithuania were lacking of maturity, sustainability and high value-added innovative initiatives among members, there was also inability to form international consortia, integration into international value chains. Other problem was lack of management competence in newly established clusters. Project also addressed problems like cluster members engagement, lack of awareness of possibilities of networks, internal communication, managing common initiatives.
Project InoLink was providing consulting services for every cluster which was committing for guidance of consultants on a long-term basis. Project activities had 2 different directions: strengthening and developing clusters and internalization of clusters. Initially clusters identified the problems preventing cluster to grow and reach maturity and developed action plan. Every cluster had strategic planning sessions, engaging all the members, sessions were facilitated by experts. Clusters formulated the strategy, business model, new product development strategy, marketing strategy and implementation plan, subsequent stages included discussion, evaluation and adjustment.
Experts advised clusters on R&D activities, how to join international consortia, European cluster excellence label consulting.
Project team also provided services of international partner search for specific initiatives, international industry events, b2b meetings for partnership development.
Required resources are a mentor for the cluster for 2- 3 years, who works with cluster on constant basis and external expertise for solving specific problems, total amount in financial form, including mentor salary and external expertise when needed is around 100 000 per cluster in 3 years.
Evidence of success
Main evidence of success are: 14 clusters formulated cluster development strategy; 200 various initiatives between cluster members; 8 clusters received the bronze European cluster excellence label; more than 70 new members in clusters; more than 90 cluster members international partnerships, created project internet site – a platform to find partners. Project has raised awareness about possibilities of collaboration; consulted and guided clusters established strong management.
Main challenge is to keep the high engagement of all members in the cluster to participate in the project, there are often very different interests between the members depending on their company size, maturity, management school. To bring everyone together companies must see value in close future.
Potential for learning or transfer
Project InoLink is a good practice for those regions which do not have strong clusters and companies are slow to form collaborations for various initiatives.
Companies need to create innovative products and be in a strong capacity and financial state for international trade and larger scale export. Cluster collaboration is an effective way for SMEs to reach a certain scale needed to integrate into international value chains as well and being able to trade in world market.
This initiative looked at every stage what clusters need to make the performance more effective and form strong collaboration ties between companies. Systematic approach, not single actions is a main success factor in this project.
As a result of this initiative a strong cluster community developed in the country.
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