old-wine.pngThe Cluster workshop at the Europe Innova conference featured an interesting discussion: Antoni Subira from IESE Business School in Barcelona, who moderated the session, said that the idea of clusters has captured our imagination since it was put forward by academia some 20 years ago, so much in fact, that it looks like the concept would have been invented by administrations or governments.

Instead, he suggested, clusters have existed since the Neolithic age. They are natural, ecological systems of business activities, where companies interact in synergetic but also competitive ways. Subira also suggested that we should be aware of the dangers of public intervention, of bureaucratising clusters, of throwing too much money at them and essentially killing the competitive climate that creates successful clusters.

This being a deliberately provocative statement to fire up the resulting discussing, consensus was reached that intervention by public bodies can create a fertile environment for clusters and companies to grow.

P.S. > ERRIN is going to organize a roundtable debate at the Committee of the Regions on 11 December 2008 to present the European Commission’s new Cluster initiative (see post below9 and discuss the implications and opportunities of this for Europe’s regions. Save the date, I will keep you posted.

Especially in economic times like these, the innovative regions are the ones that will prosper. Are you ready?

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