Better Cluster Management
„Improving the Quality of Cluster Management” was the main theme of the fifth all-Polish conference organised by PAED related to the issue of clustering. This time representatives of clusters met in Poznań. The conference featured examples from other countries, experts’ advice and presentations of clusters from the Wielkopolska region. The meeting ended in a discussion among co-ordinators on effective management and financing.
The participants of the conference had an opportunity to learn that just putting a number of companies into a cluster does not guarantee success. Marcin Jabłoński, a clustering expert, argued that the most important thing is the co-operation that companies adapt to their strategies, competences, structures and resources. A good cluster should be structured horizontally and vertically at the same time, which means that one should not focus just on co-operation between companies that are complementary of one another. Jabłoński believes that such approach may soon turn into a regular chain of deliveries, and that companies which do not have competitors will be reluctant to implement innovations. Moreover, they have to think about the relationships between them in such a way as if they were to become world-class clusters in the future.
An interesting issue that sparked a discussion was the financing of co-operation links. An expert tried to convince cluster co-ordinators that the UE funds should serve only as an addition and support for such links and not as the main driving force behind them. This opinion was countered by a representative of the Food Cluster of the Południowa Wielkopolska region, who claims that each new cluster initiative should receive external financing in order to gather strength. The conference also stressed the importance of educating entrepreneurs on clusters and a systemic and long-term support from public institutions.
Regional conferences constitute a part of a system project carried out by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development entitled “Polish Clusters and Cluster Policy.” Each meeting features an exhibition of products offered by regional clusters, and ends in the publication of a catalogue. 5 meetings have taken place so far in the following regions: Podlasie, Kujawsko-Pomorski, Silesia, Pomerania and Wielkopolska. PAED’s project provides for 6 meetings of a cluster policy working group, whose task is the preparation of recommendations for the assumptions of the cluster policy by 2020.