Internationalisation is an important issue on the European cluster agenda. Sharing knowledge and creating international meeting places for clusters can lead to new, joint innovation projects - across borders and sectors.
Internationalisation is all about creating contacts
Access to bigger customers and markets, expanded partner networks and increased innovation are some of the main advantages of international cluster cooperation.
- The internationalisation follows the same methodology as our activities on a local or regional level. Clusters are networks, and all collaboration starts with the first meeting or the first handshake. Our task is to engineer this handshake, says Dr. Peter Haider, managing director at Chemie-Cluster Bayern.
Market knowledge and new relations
For Robert Stabl from the Bavarian ICT cluster BICCnet, the main objective is not to internationalise the cluster itself, but to assist the companies in expanding their international activities.
- We want to support the companies in building an internationalisation strategy. If you are to succeed, you have to have specific knowledge about key players in the markets, the way business is done and laws and regulations. Establishing contacts to other clusters can provide this knowledge, he explains.
Stabl adds that the Nordics, Germany and Poland complement each other well, both geographically and culturally.
- Germany has good connections to the South, Poland towards the East and the Nordics have a strong relationship internally and with the UK. It is very valuable to combine these relations and share our experience and knowledge, Stabl says.
The objective is to foster innovation
According to Peter Haider, it is of great economic importance to keep matching companies with new collaborators and solutions across the European borders.
- If you look at what a good cluster is in terms of output, my answer would clearly be that the output should be innovations, innovations and innovations. The production of commodities has shifted to other areas and if we want to maintain our position as one of the wealthiest regions in the world, it is important that we stay innovative, says Dr. Haider.
Adoptable strategies and best practices
The NGP Cluster Excellence Conference aims to bring clusters together to share knowledge on their strategies and activities.
- We can establish direct contact to other valuable players in the market, see how they are performing and adopt and adjust successful structures and strategies. It is a self-educating process for cluster managers, says Robert Stabl.
- The conference is the perfect opportunity to engineer the first handshake as a basis for international cooperation projects on innovation, Peter Haider concludes.