Australian and international thought leaders in cluster development gathered at UTS Sydney on April 16 and 17 to demonstrate how clusters can help open pipelines into the global economy for our regions.
The second annual Australasian Cluster Conference & Workshops, an initiative of TCI Network Oceania in collaboration with RDA Brisbane, attracted around 60 economic and regional development professionals, cluster managers, TCI members and RDAs.
The event featured two-half day workshops on cluster development and how to win new contracts, followed by an evening reception in the new Frank Gehry-designed Dr Chau Chak Wing Building (better known as the "paper bag").
The full-day conference on April 17 then explored five sectors in detail: Health, Creative Industries, Food, Disaster Resilience & Recovery and Advanced Manufacturing.
Attendee Rob Brown (Cockatoo Network) has summarised the key "take-out" messages from the conference for us:
Understand that collaboration is not in everyone's DNA, and work around it.
Try to get a measure of the public/private split in projects - this is vital when seeking funding contributions.
Cluster mapping is important - it generates understanding and buy-in.
More work is needed to link with overseas clusters.
IP (Intellectual Property) protection is important because clusters are about collaborating with new players, and you need to protect your ideas where possible
Look at opportunities to collaborate across sectors - inter-sectoral linkages can be critically important, but not readily apparent.
Collaborate with other clusters in your own sector - think about events to engage them.
Clusters address information failure, coordination failure and investor risk - these are genuine reasons for government funding.
Clusters are about building relationships and trust.
You are not alone. People who understand the benefits of collaboration are everywhere - the challenge is to connect them.
The event was sponsored by the Australian Department of Industry and Science and the NSW Government, and supported by the South Australian Department of State Development.
Conference collaborator RDA Brisbane provided extensive event management support, including marketing and registrations. RDA Brisbane's SEQ Coordinator Tracy Scott-Rimington, a long-time TCI member and experienced cluster facilitator, also helped to develop the conference program.
Click here for a copy of the Conference report.