Clusters and Innovation in Europe (ETP 2019)
Clusters are important instruments for the promotion of innovation. They are ‘industry eco- systems’ providing a favourable business environment for experimenting with new business solutions. Thus, they play an important role as catalysts for structural change. Clusters play an important role in this process as they manage their clusters’ collaboration activities and provide customized business support services to SMEs. They are therefore well positioned to act as facilitators and bridge-builders, which can reach out to and connect groups of SMEs and other innovation actors from different sectors, fields of competence and geographical regions (European Forum for Clusters in Emerging Industries (EFCEI): Extension of the European Cluster Observatory: Promoting betterpolicies to develop world class clusters in Europe) – both within their own cluster and with actors from other clusters. They can help create strategic partnerships at the level of policy-makers and intermediaries, which may then lay the foundations for further efforts to encourage cross-regional collaboration amongst SMEs.
Industrial value chains are therefore increasingly being reconfigured as a result of cross-border and cross-sectoral collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship. As innovation is likely to occur at the borderlines betweendifferent industries, facilitation and acceleration of new combinations along and across value chains represent a source for potential innovation and growth for the enterprises involved.