Around 400 professionals, academics and policymakers from all over the world are at the three-day TCI Global Conference 2016 in Eindhoven to discuss cluster formation and its effect on economic growth.
A line-up of (inter)national speakers and a sold-out 040 Congress & Events Van der Valk Eindhoven provided the backdrop to an inspiring discussion on clusters. Christian Ketels, chair of the TCI Network and Harvard Business School associate, led the day: “This conference concerns how we look at clusters. How, for instance, can they help tackle societal challenges? It is important to share knowledge and experiences from all over the world.” Speakers from countries including Russia, India, the United States and the United Kingdom bring an international perspective to proceedings.
Will to collaborate is key to success
Despite the different ideas about clusters, the speakers were unanimous in agreeing that it was all about ‘people and places’. The will of people and companies to organise themselves and collaborate is central to the success of clusters. And these companies are all each other’s neighbours, as they are in the Brainport region or around Wageningen.
Here collaborations are established bottom-up and on the initiative of companies and (knowledge) institutions, such as Brainport Industries, the High Tech Software cluster and Sports & Technology. As a knowledge partner, Wageningen University & Research generates the expertise of a global knowledge cluster in agrifood and sustainability.
‘Looking for collaboration between regional clusters and national top sectors’
The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs is also represented at the conference. Jasper Wesseling, deputy director-general for Industry & Innovation: “We are very keen to find out about bottom-up initiatives like regional clusters. It is essential for us to see how the national top sectors can collaborate better.” Currently, the Netherlands is one of the few countries in Europe that does not have a specific cluster policy, so the co-organisers, Brainport Development and Wageningen UR, are pleased that the TCI Network, in which global cluster expertise come together, is holding its annual conference 2016 here.