A cluster development program

Stimulating an innovative culture requires strategy and planning but it must also grow organically. This includes “planting” innovative “seeds” across all four elements of an innovative region; a livable community, collaborative governance, an inclusive society and an innovative economy. Stimulating and then sustaining innovation means finding momentum and a tipping point. The Cluster Development Program has used REDES to identify ten sectors where either existing innovative organisations or new opportunities exist to drive an innovative culture.

The ten identified sectors/clusters are: Manufacturing and Logistics, Creative Industries, Social Enterprise, Tourism, IT, Telecommuting (The Train Project), Health and Aging, Green Building, Retail and finally Education. Note: the champion/broker and high-growth entrepreneur (gazelle) program are expected to develop into two additional complimentary clusters.

There will be a six step process in the Cluster Development Program. They are:
  1. establish a peak body to represent the sector and foster the identified opportunities through the network
  2. build a strong network of local members and secure resources
  3. group business reviews
  4. map the connections between the members
  5. identify cluster opportunities
  6. deliver value and in some cases commercial outcomes.
 
The Cluster Development Program peak body will be a representative regional body representing each key sector identified. It will drive strategy, put project plans together, seek resources for the network and respond to the needs of the sector. Strong clusters establish trust between members, drive best practice, engage with research organisations and government. A mapping exercise of members across the cluster network will endeavour to discover collaborative projects for delivering additional value and commercial outcomes.

The Cluster Development Program commenced in 2010 with the development of the Manufacturing, Creative Industries and Social Enterprise networks. The additional seven clusters are currently in development and will commence operations by no later than June 2012.