Is There a Downside to Cluster-Based Development?

June 14, 2010 at 11:26 am Leave a comment

Some analysts and commentators out there think there is. Click here to read Dan Robles’  recent article called Cluster Funk. I think Robles makes some interesting points in light of the “cluster craze” that has set in worldwide. I would offer an additional point Robles did not make: Target industry and cluster strategies are a form of government industrial policy, where certain industries receive special attention and resources others do not. In some cases, these approaches anger existing companies not identified with a favored industry. We must be careful not to create more enemies than friends.

As I look around the country, interest in cluster-based economic development, especially in innovation-based clusters, is still high, and yet results come slowly in those places without existing industry cluster concentrations to build upon. Bioscience and life science cluster initiatives are very popular, along with environmental technology and “green” business clusters. Everybody wants technology-driven economic development. Technology and innovation exist in all industries. It is important to every business in one form or another. Technology is important to a neighborhood grocer, an industrial components wholesaler, and even a local law firm. We need to recognize these realities about technology in economic development.


Entry filed under: Industry Clusters, Innovation Clusters. Tags: , , , .

Industry Affiliation More of Driver of Job Losses Than Business Size Boundary Organizations and Collaboration

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