1. Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies
Proposal for the
Creation of a New Economic Cluster
in Northeast Ohio:
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 3
I. INTRODUCTION 5
GEORGETOWN-SPIRE PARTNERSHIP 5
CITY LAB COURSE 5
II. CONCEPT 8
ADAPTIVE COMMUNITY 8
THE IDEA BEHIND AN ECONOMIC CLUSTER 9
RATIONALE FOR NORTHEAST OHIO 10
III. BUSINESS MODEL 14
IV. BENEFIT AND RISK ASSESSMENT 28
V. COMMUNICATIONS PLAN 34
KEY PUBLICS 34
BRAND POSITIONING 36
STRATEGIES AND TACTICS 39
This document presents a proposal for the creation of a new economic cluster for the Northeast Ohio region that
will be centered on the adaptive community. This new economic cluster will create new jobs, industries,
technologies, and human capital for the benefit of the region and its people.
This proposal is the result of student and faculty research and work for the course City Lab, which was offered in
the fall 2011 academic semester through a joint partnership between Georgetown University’s School of
Continuing Studies and the SPIRE Institute.
This proposal presents the following: an overview of City Lab, a history of economic clusters, rationale for the
creation of a new Adaptive Cluster, a business plan, a benefit and risk assessment, and a communications plan.
The mission of City Lab is to pioneer the development of a sustainable Northeast Ohio economic cluster that
attracts, connects, and creates entities that generate the research, products, and opportunities to serve the
stakeholders of the adaptive community.
The creation of this new Adaptive Cluster will:
Promote Economic Sustainability
Develop Human Capital
Ignite Community Connection
The proposed economic cluster will harness the existing strengths and entities of the Northeast Ohio region and
create a set of new products and services. Through the interactions of seven (7) key contributors, four (4) new
products and services will be created.
The following products will result from the new Adaptive Cluster:
Human Motion and Control
Adaptive Sports Equipment
The expertise and resources from the following contributors will be essential for the creation and success of the
new Adaptive Cluster:
For-Profit Companies and Manufacturers
Following the presentation of this proposal to key stakeholders, there are two necessary steps that should happen
in order for the Adaptive Cluster to be created.
The first is to convene requisite capital and financial backing from interested parties. A financial model or schema
should be created to illustrate and communicate how funding will be used.
The second is to create a timeline for the implementation of the Adaptive Cluster that includes the interactions of
the products and contributors, communicating the integration of products and services with stakeholders.
The Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies (SCS) has partnered with the SPIRE Institute, located in
Geneva, Ohio, to provide custom educational programming that answers today’s most pressing challenges. In
partnership with SPIRE, Georgetown will provide expert resources, faculty and curriculum while SPIRE will provide
classroom and training space at its new state-of-the-art facilities. Together, the two institutions will work to
advance the shared purpose of unlocking human potential and impacting communities.
Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies was originally created in 1956 to develop new academic programming
for the adult, non-traditional, and local markets in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, extending the capacity
of Georgetown’s mission of educational outreach and inclusivity. The School has a record of creating applied
academic programs that uphold the standard of excellence that has existed at Georgetown for more than 200
years. The School provides adults and professionals with opportunities to advance both personally and
professionally, and fulfills Georgetown’s mission of creating ―women and men in the service of others.‖
The SPIRE Institute is a non-profit organization whose mission is to unlock the full potential of the human spirit via
athletics, academics, and service at its state-of-the-art facilities in Geneva, Ohio. SPIRE was founded to be an
accessible ―living-learning laboratory,‖ and is within driving distance of two-thirds of the U.S. population. It serves
U.S. and International participants including high school, collegiate, and professional athletes; clubs, camps, and
teams of various levels; Olympians, Paralympians, Special Olympians, and Wounded Warriors, among others. Its
ultimate vision is to lead as a one-of-a-kind non-profit in order to cultivate character and produce good citizens
who know how to cooperate, compete, and lead.
City Lab Course
City Lab is a new multidisciplinary course offered through a partnership between Georgetown and SPIRE that
brings theory to practice with an educational experience that takes students from the classroom in Washington,
D.C. to the SPIRE facilities in Geneva, Ohio, a ―living learning laboratory.‖ The course offers an opportunity for
students to work collaboratively on solving multiple urban challenges facing Northeast Ohio, bringing together the
skills and talent from various disciplines and fields, with the ultimate goal of creating a new economic cluster that
will impact the region.
The inaugural fall 2011 course roster has brought together students and faculty from many SCS programs,
including the master’s programs in sports industry management, human resources management, public relations
& corporate communications, real estate, and technology management, as well as the bachelor’s and master’s
programs in liberal studies. The rigorous, multidisciplinary curriculum is pushing the boundaries of applied higher
education by creating an entirely new way of coalescing institutions and communities around solving some of the
world’s most pressing challenges.
Through City Lab students have studied reports on the Northeast Ohio region, read texts on economic clusters
and social capital, heard lectures from expert faculty members, and met with community leaders and
townspeople from Geneva. Through classroom and field collaboration, as well as market research, the fall 2011
class targeted the adaptive community as a possible segment for creating an engine of economic growth in the
Northeast Ohio region. This proposal for the creation of an Adaptive Cluster—a new economic cluster that will
connect existing area industries, coalesce leaders and politicians, and create jobs—is the culminating project of
the City Lab course and was produced by Georgetown students under the guidance of faculty.
Students in the fall 2011 City Lab course come from six Georgetown master’s programs and one Georgetown
undergraduate program, bringing together the talent and skills from across industries and disciplines. Such an
academically and professionally diverse roster ensured that the course, as well as this proposal, is inimitable in
today’s higher education landscape—truly putting theory into practice in an impactful way. The students, under
faculty guidance, were the sole creators of this document.
The students and their respective academic programs are as follows:
Tyrishma A. Allen, Master’s in Real Estate
Eugenie W. Bostrom, Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies
Chris Carrington, Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies
Carlos P. Casseus, Master’s in Technology Management
Clarence R. Daniels, Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies
Mary C. Dixon, Master’s in Liberal Studies
Tamara Filipovic, Master’s in Human Resources Management
Emmanuel ―Isaac‖ Flatto, Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies
Joseph S. Friend, Master’s in Real Estate
Kelly Holdcraft, Master’s in Public Relations & Corporate Comm.
Ireene C. Leoncio, Master’s in Public Relations & Corporate Comm.
Simon A. Manka, Master’s in Real Estate
Lizette L. Salvador, Master’s in Human Resources Management
Matthew Scheel, Master’s in Real Estate
Itiah S. Thomas, Master’s in Real Estate
Marshall Williams, Master’s in Technology Management
Faculty co-teaching the fall 2011 City Lab course represent myriad industries and academic disciplines, bringing
together experts with decades of combined professional and teaching experience. Their expertise and guidance
served in the creation of this document.
The faculty and their respective credentials are as follow:
Supervising Media Editor/Producer, WUSA-TV, Washington, D.C.; Adjunct Professor, Journalism,
University of Maryland
Special Projects Manager, SPIRE Institute
Principle, Way Forward Associates LLC; faculty member, Sports Industry Management master’s
program, Georgetown University; former business development executive at AOL; former VP
marketing for the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles
Attorney, Warren and Young PLL, Ashtabula, Ohio
President, The Goldwater Group; faculty member, Sports Industry Management master's program,
The Hon. William ―Bill‖ Hudnut, III
Principal, Bill Hudnut Consultants, LLC; Senior Fellow Emeritus, Urban Land Institute, Washington,
D.C.; former mayor of Chevy Chase, Maryland, 2004-2006; former mayor of Indianapolis, Indiana,
1976-1992; former member of U.S. House of Representatives, Indiana’s 11th
Robert L. Manuel, Ph.D.
Associate Provost and Dean, School of Continuing Studies, Georgetown University
Chief of Staff, School of Continuing Studies, Georgetown University
The mission of City Lab is to pioneer the development of a sustainable Northeast Ohio economic cluster that
attracts, connects, and creates entities that generate the research, products, and opportunities to serve the
stakeholders of the adaptive community.
The creation of this new Adaptive Cluster will:
Promote Economic Sustainability – Foster synergies with existing and potential entities to create a
diverse and robust economic cluster through continuous research, innovation, and development.
Develop Human Capital – Identify the workforce skills needed to support and serve the economic cluster
and facilitate the knowledge and training required through partnerships with businesses, institutions of
education, and government.
Foster Entrepreneurship – Nurture a culture that supports entrepreneurship and innovation by
providing education, business relationships, and funding targeted at the needs of the economic cluster.
Ignite Community Connection – Seek the involvement and provide a platform for communication for all
Adaptive Cluster stakeholders (i.e. residents, local business owners, and lawmakers) through
grassroots marketing campaigns, social networking, and community gatherings.
To adapt is to make something suitable for a new use or purpose through modification, adjustment, and/or
alteration. The term ―adaptive community,‖ though, is hard to trace as it is a relatively new term. The word
―adaptive‖ is used as an adjective to modify the word ―community‖ in an effort to describe persons who display
some physical limitation either from birth or as a result of disease, incident, or another cause. Members of the
adaptive community come from all walks of life: children, war veterans, disabled, wheelchair-bound persons,
Paraolympians, the elderly, and other persons from nearly every category imaginable. What all members of the
adaptive community share in common is the desire to live life fully, without limitations.
The Idea Behind an Economic Cluster
What is cluster-based planning for economic development? Michael E. Porter, one of the world’s most influential
thinkers on strategy and competitiveness, as well as the development practitioner largely credited with
popularizing the theory of economic cluster strategy, defines clusters as ―geographic concentrations of
interconnected companies, specialized suppliers, service providers, and associated institutions in a particular
field that are present in a nation or region‖ (Porter, 2011). Other leading economic theorists and development
practitioners define clusters more simply as ―a spatial and sectoral concentration of firms‖ (Bresnahan,
Gambardella & Saxenian, 2001), or more explicitly as ―concentrations of businesses that collocate because of
trading (buyer-supplier) relationships and/or to share common factor markets (including infrastructure,
knowledge resources and labor) and/or common goods markets‖ (Luger, 2005).
Since the 19th century, economic clusters have existed in various places throughout the U.S. to promote
prosperity and economic development in specific market segments. The genesis of these clusters varies, with
some sprouting up organically while others were strategically planned and implemented. The ultimate success of
economic clusters can largely be attributed to the amount of financial capital invested through the use of various
funding sources, including government grants, venture capital firms, and private entities.
The three most famous examples of U.S. clusters are California’s Silicon Valley, Boston’s Route 128 Corridor, and
North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park (RTP). Both Silicon Valley and Route 128 clusters started in the 1960s,
while RTP dates back to the late 1950s (Saxenian, 1996). The first two focus on the high-tech industry with various
specializations, including software and medical devices (Harvard Business School). The latter focuses on the life
sciences sector, while specializing in a range of industries like pharmaceuticals and biotechnology (Harvard
These three clusters also represent the complexity of the overall economic cluster strategy, in that this approach
is not ―one size fits all‖ and it does not begin in the same way everywhere. In fact, clusters can begin organically
or intentionally. The origins of the Silicon Valley and Route 128 clusters are often described as ―indigenous‖ and
―spontaneous.‖ This distinction is in reference to the fact that both Silicon Valley and Route 128 ―depended on the
growth of existing firms and the start up of new ones by entrepreneurs with roots in the state‖ (Schalin, 2010 &
2011). RTP, on the other hand, began intentionally or in a planned fashion. It was conceived of before it existed and
it relied on outside firms relocating to the area (Research Triangle Foundation, 2011). As such, the RTP cluster
depended on formally organized efforts, officially referred to as ―cluster initiatives,‖ to promote cluster growth
and competitiveness (Mills, Reynolds, & Reamer, 2008).
At the same time, all three clusters have two key characteristics in common. The first is that they each exist in
specific geographical regions and the second is that they are high-tech. That they form a geographic cluster
indicates their ability to better leverage the necessary economic inputs and key players due to their proximity and
agglomeration in one place, region, or area. That they are all high-tech indicates their ability to take advantage of
renowned universities and research centers in a way that fosters high-tech research, development,
manufacturing, and markets for the benefit of regional economies.
Ultimately, the presence and strength of these three clusters positively impacted their region’s economic
performance in the following ways:
Higher gross domestic product per capita (Ketels, 2008)
Higher housing prices (EDA)
Higher regional and traded sector wages (Porter, 2003; Delgado, 2011; Gibbs, 1997; Wheaton, 2002)
Higher number of New Business Formations and patents—a measure of innovation (Delgado, 2011)
Higher number of successful transitions from unemployment or underemployment to high-skill jobs
Such impact indicates that the performance of regional economies is strongly influenced by the strength of local
clusters (Porter, 2003). What determines the strength of most clusters is the extent to which their collaborative
process involves government at multiple levels, companies, teaching and research institutions, and centers for
collaboration, in order to research and develop, produce, and market for emerging industries. This strategic and
dynamic interconnectedness allowed all three aforementioned clusters to create resilient, robust, innovative,
sustainable, and competitive regional economies—and it is something City Lab intends to create for Northeast
However, with respect to cluster-based development in other regions, a common critique of economic cluster
strategy is that ―you can’t copy and paste a Silicon Valley cluster model anywhere you’d like‖ to spur economic
growth and recovery (Wadhwa, 2010; Saxenian, 1996). While the above noted examples are relevant to the cluster
model we propose in this document for Northeast Ohio, they are not used in a ―copy and paste‖ fashion. The noted
characteristics of these clusters help to clarify the unique strengths of the Northeast Ohio region’s existing
networks and assets that in turn help identify the economic cluster strategy as the best suited economic
development approach for this region. It is from this perspective and foundation in the economic cluster strategy
where the germination of an Adaptive Cluster to reinvigorate Northeast Ohio was born.
Rationale for Northeast Ohio
Northeast Ohio [is] home to both innovation and manufacturing assets that
could be at the forefront of a resurgent national economy.
–Regional Business Plan, April 2011
Even before it formally joined the Union in 1803, the state of Ohio was exalted as a land of promise and a realm of
varied resources (Havighurst, 1976). Such praise can even be found in George Washington’s journals, dating back
to 1770, when he first explored the Ohio River valley and wrote that, ―The great valley…would soon attract a great
population; it would be settled and civilized more rapidly than any similar domain in history‖ (Havighurst, 22). The
first President was not wrong in his prediction, for it didn’t take long before Ohio was at the forefront of an
emerging U.S. industrial economy that started at the end of the 19th century.
From that time until the 1960s, the U.S. economic development model relied heavily on government-driven policy
decisions and incentives that built world-leading industries, which provided well-paying jobs and economic
prosperity across the nation. During this time, Northeast Ohio was one of the country’s premier assembly and
parts-manufacturing centers, home to auto plants, steel mills, tool and die manufacturing, and a range of related
industries that produced diesel engines, construction and industrial vehicles, aircraft parts, and more. Above all,
this industrial heritage depended on the region’s ability to pull together its inherent assets (i.e. natural resources,
skilled human capital, and manufacturing and transportation infrastructure) for the production of industrial
components that generated huge reserves of wealth for the region.
However, beginning in the 1960s, Northeast Ohio started to experience losses in the production of rubber tires,
steel products, and in its auto industry as a whole, along with contraction in its manufacturing employment base
(Fund for Our Economic Future & Advance Northeast Ohio, 2011). On a broader scale, the U.S. began losing its
dominance across myriad industries and business functions, including market share and jobs. With the arrival of
global competition these ―old economy‖ industrial models with their hierarchical and centralized structures,
wherein inputs and supply-chains operated in silos, could not continue to compete and survive in the post-
industrial economy that demanded more horizontal, decentralized, and diverse operating systems. It was during
this time when it became clear that a new economic development model was needed.
Clusters…are a fundamental fact of national economies, and a critical
enhancer of regional economic performance.
–Brookings Institution, 2010
In 2008, the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program called on a new federal approach to economic development.
―The federal government should move to promote cluster development and growth nationwide…the federal
government should boost the nation’s competitiveness by catalyzing increased cluster activity in U.S regions,‖
Brookings stated (Mills, Reynolds, Reamer).
In 2009, the U.S. government heeded the call for this new economic development approach when its Economic
Development Administration (EDA) partnered with Michael E. Porter to lead the creation of the Obama
Administration’s cluster mapping project. More recently, in his Federal Budget for 2012, President Obama
appropriated $325 million to EDA to support regional economic competitiveness initiatives, including a proposal
for ―a competition to identify 20 potential clusters that would receive a share of $2.5 billion in funds‖ (Leonard,
It can be said that the federal government’s embrace of the economic cluster strategy is long overdue,
considering the fact that since the 19th century some form of an economic cluster has existed in the U.S. to
promote prosperity and economic development, including Northeast Ohio’s Plastic Parts Cluster that started in
1935 (Harvard Business School).
What is more, Northeast Ohio already recognizes this particular strategy as a planning mechanism for economic
growth and recovery. In their April 2011 Regional Business Plan, the Fund for Our Economic Future and Advance
Northeast Ohio identified six high-potential, emerging industry clusters that the region should focus on. These six
industry clusters include: biosciences/health care, advanced manufacturing, cleantech/advanced energy,
electronics, advanced materials, and information and communication technologies. According to the report, these
six areas ―leverage both the Northeast Ohio’s research strengths based on its nationally recognized institutions
and its traditional manufacturing strengths.‖ It is clear that the region’s leaders understand that the economic
cluster strategy is an apposite approach whereby the region’s existing strengths can be used to generate
research, products, and opportunities in ways that are innovative, sustainable, and relevant for the ―new
economy‖ of the 21st century.
Transitioning to a more innovation-driven economy requires leveraging the
region’s existing strengths and building clusters in emerging industries.
–Regional Business Plan, April 2011
As the above quote indicates, the Northeast Ohio region already has the companies, specialized suppliers, service
providers, and associated institutions in particular fields ready to compete in a geographic and advanced-tech
cluster that serves an emerging industry. These strengths include: large concentration of medical institutions;
nationally recognized academic institutions; growth of non-profits; increasing public-private partnerships;
diversification and transition of the region’s manufacturing sector; and an innovative private sector. Thus, what
Northeast Ohio needs is to intentionally develop a cluster that would influence the necessary linkages and
spillovers across firms and associated institutions, which already generate the aforementioned strengths
(Porter, 2003). That being said, the question remains: Which emerging industry would this cluster best serve?
By accelerating and nurturing the interaction of the region’s existing resources and competencies to serve the
healthcare industry through the medical devices, human motion and control, adaptive sports equipment, and
clothing markets, Northeast Ohio has the opportunity to ―pioneer the development of a sustainable NE Ohio
economic cluster that attracts, connects and creates entities which generate the research, products and
opportunities to serve the stakeholders of the adaptive community.‖ We are calling it an Adaptive Cluster, an
economic cluster that targets segments within the adaptive community.
This economic approach is powerful for the following three reasons. First, this Adaptive Cluster would be a sub-
section of one of the largest industry sectors in northeast Ohio. The Center for Economic Development within the
Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University describes the healthcare industry in
Northeast Ohio in the following way:
From 1978 to 2003, the national population grew by 31 percent, while the national healthcare
industry’s employment increased 116 percent (1.63 ratio). In Cleveland, the population has remained
almost unchanged (–3%), while the healthcare industry grew 80 percent (1.86 ratio). Therefore,
during the long-term period, Cleveland’s healthcare cluster grew faster than the national rate when
controlling for the change of population.
Second, the Adaptive Cluster does not exist anywhere else in the world. And third, there is no unified economic
cluster in existence today that serves the worldwide adaptive community. For these reasons alone, the
development of this economic cluster offers Northeast Ohio a decisive sustainable competitive advantage over
other places in the nation and the world. Overall, this regional cluster has the potential to achieve the following
four goals: ignite community connection, promote economic sustainability, develop human capital, and foster
The potential for this new Adaptive Cluster is based in an economic development strategy that builds upon the
mindset that already exists in Northeast Ohio about thinking, planning, and acting like a region in accordance with
its inherent place-based advantages. The economic cluster proposed in this document is in line with two of the six
areas that were identified for cluster development in the aforementioned Regional Business Plan (2011, April),
which are (1) biosciences/healthcare and (2) advanced manufacturing.
Finally, this Adaptive Cluster would also help achieve a number of goals that the Ashtabula County Port Authority
Economic Steering Committee identified in their August 2010 Strategic Plan (28-31). These include the following:
define what economic regionalism can mean in development; create synergy among businesses and organizations
to promote economic growth; identify relevant partnerships and encourage participation; establish an advanced
materials technology center and business incubator; coordinate with SPIRE to capitalize on future potential;
expand growth partnership role in all types of business expansion; encourage local entrepreneurship; and active
engagement in existing regional collaborative. City Lab is prepared to make the economic possibilities in the
region a reality through the creation of an Adaptive Cluster.
III. Business Model
With the mission of City Lab as the foundation, the goal of the new economic cluster is to nurture the environment
for the creation, incubation, expansion, transformation, funding, and attraction of people and entities that
research, design, develop, manufacture, maintain, provide education and training, regulate, and promote the use
of (1) medical devices, (2) human motion and control, (3) adaptive sports equipment, and (4) clothing, to form a
new Adaptive Cluster for the Northeast Ohio region. The Northeast Ohio region consists of 16 counties with a
population of 4.1 million people. The region’s $170 billion annual economy places it in the top 25 nationally and at
number 42 globally.
We have identified these four emerging market segments that exhibit opportunities to create products and
services that will harness Northeast Ohio’s strengths. These strengths are characterized by the region’s existing
institutions, companies, non-profits, and public and private partnerships (these entities are detailed in depth in
the section: Contributors [p. 26]). These contributors will work in tandem to attract human capital to the region
and to further economic goals by way of the bioscience, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing industries.
Contributing partners will be crucial to the success of the new Adaptive Cluster and will be essential in reaching
the ultimate goal of benefitting the global adaptive community.
The proposed business model is based on the interactions between two groups of entities: products and
contributors. Through interaction, connection, and engagement, a new regional exercise based in the intellectual
and practical pursuits of people will create a new economic cluster, the Adaptive Cluster. This new economic
cluster will become greater than the sum of its parts, for no single product or contributor can advance or
succeed without the mutual interactions and support from other entities.
What’s clear in the research on economic clusters, as well as Northeast Ohio’s existing industries and functions,
is that there is a unique opportunity that exists during this moment in time to formally validate an Adaptive
Cluster that will become an economic hub for the region, the country, and the world.
Moreover, this new economic cluster will be immensely impactful on human lives. Members of the adaptive
community, ranging from children to Paralympic athletes to war veterans, demonstrate a hunger for and need for
the creation of industries around adaptive technologies. Through the creation of the Adaptive Cluster, members of
the adaptive community will be living examples of how a small idea can grow into a life-changing product through
the coordination of industries. Most importantly, members of the adaptive community will come to the region to
engage with the products and the contributors of the adaptive cluster, affecting meaningful and impactful change
on a large scale.
The model below illustrates the interactions between the four (4) products (―creations‖) and the seven (7) key
partners (―contributors‖), forming the genesis of the new Adaptive Cluster. These entities have mutually exclusive
relationships and, together, will form the new Adaptive Cluster.
There will be four (4) market segments that the new Adaptive Cluster will create products or services for. The
sections below describe each product segment and articulate the respective opportunities of the markets.
1. Medical Devices
The Northeast Ohio region is poised to become the next destination for a sustained medical device research,
manufacturing, and practice as part of the proposed Adaptive Cluster. The thrust in the medical technology sector
has incrementally increased over the last three or four years and this momentum is expected to continue as
more companies are established, become profitable, and expand in the region (Magaw, 2011). The long-term goal is
to have Northeast Ohio become synonymous with the medical device industry, much like it once was with the
automotive, steel, and rubber industries. In a January 2011 article in Crain’s Cleveland Business, BioEnterprise
Corp.’s President, Baiju Shah, said to ―expect the region to be largely defined by health care technology within the
next 10 or 20 years as Northeast Ohio will have been through several entrepreneurial generations‖ (Magaw).
The medical device market comprises all instruments, apparatuses, implements, appliances, implants, machines,
in vitro reagents, and software that are used to prevent, diagnose, monitor, mitigate, treat, or cure medical
conditions (Wipperfurth, 2010). Examples include products such as surgical appliances and supplies, electro-
medical equipment such as imaging and patient-monitoring systems, and in-vitro diagnostic substances.
The assistive technologies (AT) market is a subset of the medical devices industry, and is a segment targeted for
the Adaptive Cluster. These products include clinical and at-home rehabilitative equipment, mobility aids such as
wheelchairs, motorized scooters and canes, and aids of daily living such as respiratory care, speech and
communication aids, and grip assists. While the preference is for producing medical devices that serve the
adaptive community, the intent for this market segment is not limited to this audience.
The medical devices segment (also referred to as the MedTech market) of the healthcare industry is greatly
driven by innovation, which generates high demand for the latest and best equipment. In 2000 the medical devices
market was sized at approximately $145 billion globally (World Health Organization, Geneva, 2003). The industry
more than doubled its projected sales in excess of $300 billion in 2011 (Zacks Equity Research, 2011). The U.S.
represents the greatest share of the market in terms of consumption and production, with estimated sales of $95
billion in 2010 (Zacks Equity Research) and $108 billion in 2011 (IBISWorld). Japan is the second-largest medical
devices market after the United States, of which U.S. firms account for roughly 60% of all medical devices
imported to Japan (Zacks Equity Research).
Medical device companies tend to be concentrated in regions characterized by advanced technology, particularly
in the industries of microelectronics, telecommunications, instrumentation, biotechnology, and software
development (International Trade Administration, 2010). There were roughly 5,300 medical device companies in
the U.S. in 2007, mostly small and medium-sized businesses—about 73 percent of which had fewer than 20
employees (International Trade Administration). With the help of an increase from an average of $30 million a
year of venture capital investments from 1996 through 2001 to $150 million a year since 2005 (Davidson, 2011),
625 FDA-registered medical device and component makers cropped up in Ohio in 2008 alone. This put Ohio ahead
of Minnesota, Michigan, and Indiana in terms of the number of FDA-registered medical device and component
makers, and second only to Illinois among Midwestern states (Michaels, 2011).
Nationally, the medical device industry employed more than 365,000 people, earning an average annual wage of
approximately $60,000 in 2007 (International Trade Administration). In Ohio, medical device-related employment
is growing statewide, as reflected in an almost 20 percent growth in bioscience jobs from 2000 to 2009
(Michaels). The sector employed 55,465 people in 1,253 bioscience-related firms (Stackhouse, 2010). Moreover,
34 percent of the state’s MedTech jobs are concentrated in and around Cleveland, located in Northeaast Ohio
(Michaels). This represents a big shift from a region whose employment was previously dominated by the
automobile and manufacturing sectors.
Faced with decades of industrial decline, manufacturing companies in Northeast Ohio have invested in new ways
to grow and sustain their operations by turning to advanced manufacturing. Equipped with the region’s skilled and
eager industrial workforce, companies have successfully transitioned from traditional to advanced manufacturing
in segments such as specialty chemicals and fabricated metals. Year-over-year, manufacturing employments
gained 8,000 jobs, growing by 3.7 percent to now account for 13 percent of all jobs in the region (McFee, 2011).
Northeast Ohio’s manufacturing sector is reportedly growing faster than any other sector in the region and is
outpacing sector growth on a national level by nearly 10 percent (Smith, 2011). This trend of diversification in the
Northeast Ohio region’s manufacturing sector has also helped to fuel its gradual recovery from the 2007
recession, as the benefits have had a multiplier effect in the realms of sales increases, market share growth,
company expansion, employment boosts and continued new-product development (The Plus, 2011).
Many small manufacturing companies have already shifted their focus to include the production of medical
devices and their inputs. Companies such as Astro Manufacturing & Design, Superior Products, and Prince & Izant
Co. are excellent examples. Astro, which primarily produced auto and aerospace components, is now also
producing medical devices and meeting regularly with physicians at the Cleveland Clinic to work on new products.
Sales for Superior Products grew 80 percent in four years, in part by expanding their offerings from valves and
fittings for industrial compressed gas systems to also include products for medical oxygen systems. Sales for
Prince & Izant grew 300 percent in one year, a precious metals company that now also makes platinum
electrodes for implantable medical devices (Cleveland.com, 2008).
Northeast Ohio is also home to well-established companies that solely manufacture medical devices.
U.S.Endoscopy designs and supplies niche diagnostic, therapeutic, and supports accessories used in the GI
endoscopy and urology markets. Founded in 1991, U.S. Endoscopy is a major contributor to Northeast Ohio region’s
medical device sector, employing 362 people, maintaining distributor partnerships in over 50 countries, and
serving almost 5,000 customers worldwide (The Plus, 2011, April). AxioMed is developing a product line to help
restore spinal function to patients with degenerative spine diseases. The company’s first product, the Freedom®
Lumbar Disc, is in clinical trials while their latest device, an artificial cervical spine disc, recently received a
$500,000 state loan. Since being formed in 2001, AxioMed has secured over $34 million in private equity financing
(The Plus, 2011, April).
Not only are there a number of medical device companies that have originated in Northeast Ohio, but ten of the
country’s—and arguably world’s—top eighteen medical device manufacturers have recognized the importance of
having facilities in the Cleveland area. These companies include Johnson & Johnson, GE Healthcare, Philips Medical
Systems, and Steris.
Northeast Ohio can further anchor itself in the medical devices sector by harnessing the $465 million Cleveland
Medical Mart & Convention Center in order to gain global recognition and boost revenues. This showroom and
conference facility is slated to open in fall 2013 and it is the world’s first market facility designed specifically for
the healthcare industry, enabling medical device companies to exhibit their products and services (BioEnterprise,
2. Human Motion & Control
Human motion and control often falls within the orthopedic prosthetics market. The market includes a range of
products and therapies to treat a variety of conditions that primarily concern the spine, such as herniated discs,
spinal deformity, and fracture of the spine. Examples of products include items such as ankle, wrist and back
braces and supports, hip, knee and spinal implants, and upper and lower extremity prosthetic devices. These
specialized devices that directly impact mobility will be a life-transforming element as part of the proposed
The development of advanced prosthetic implants involving better fixation, cementless design, and wear-resistant
material is enhancing growth prospects in the industry (Magaw). Trends in growth can also be attributed to
demographic and social aspects, including an aging global population, rising incidence of degenerative joint
diseases, increase in the rates of road traffic accidents, and the desire to maintain active lifestyles that
increases the demand for less invasive and bone preserving technologies. Research into the normal biology of
musculoskeletal tissues, the diseases and injuries associated with these tissues, and the underlying mechanisms
of musculoskeletal tissue regeneration continue to gain importance as part of the human motion and control
In 2005 the U.S. market for prosthetics, orthotics, and cosmetic enhancement products was valued at $6.8 billion
and was expected to increase to $10.8 billion in 2010 at an average annual growth rate of 9.9 percent (BCC, Inc.).
The global orthopedic prosthetics market is projected to reach $19.4 billion by the year 2015 (Global Industry
Analysts, Inc., (GIA), 2011). The U.S. and Europe collectively account for a major share of the global market.
Developing nations such as India, China, Russia, South Africa, and Brazil offer extreme growth potential for
orthopedic companies due to their steady economic growth and the presence of large elderly populations.
Warsaw, Indiana is described as ―one of the most robust and concentrated medical equipment development
sectors in the world‖ (Stackhouse). This community holds more than half of the U.S. market share and supplies
two-thirds of the world’s demand for orthopedic devices (BioCrossroads - BC Initiative, Inc./CICP Foundation,
2009). It is home to key industry players such as Biomet, Zimmer Holdings, and DePuy Orthopedics. Hanger
Orthopedic Group, Inc accounts for 27 percent of the orthopedic prosthetics patient care market in the U.S. alone.
Hangar Prosthetics and Orthotics also has a partnership with the Wounded Warriors Project to provide veterans
who have lost multiple limbs with secondary rehabilitation for prosthetic care to maximize mobility and help
regain independence (SPIRE is partner of the Wounded Warriors Project). Other well-recognized companies
include DJO Incorporated, Ossur hf., Bauerfeind AG, DeRoyal Industries, Otto Bock, Smith & Nephew, TRS, Wright
Medical, Stryker Corp, Medtronic, and Opto Circuits.
Northeast Ohio has various companies committed to furthering adaptive technology and exo-skeletal research in
the human motion and control market. Such companies include Prosthetics Design Inc, Acor, Inc, AcuTemp, AMT
Systems Engineering, Inc., AxioMed Spine Corporation, and Ace Prosthetics. WillowWood, located in Mt. Sterling,
Ohio, is an industry leader in the design, manufacturing, and distribution of prosthetic products. In addition,
located just east in Elyria, Ohio, is Invacare, a major manufacturer of homecare products that keep consumers
active in their own homes and communities (INVACARE). Ashtabula County may be considered the epicenter of the
reinforced fiberglass composite industry in the U.S. as companies within it produce more polymers and plastics
per capita than anywhere else in the country (Getchey, 2010). Reinforced fiberglass composite materials could
play a major role in adaptive equipment production and exo-skeletal research and development, positively
impacting the lives of members of the adaptive community.
Ashtabula County is also home to the SPIRE Institute, one of the largest indoor, multi-sport, training and
competition complexes in the world. SPIRE has fostered an alliance with Parker Hannifin, a Fortune 500 company
headquartered in Cleveland, to study human motion control technologies. Parker Hannifin is known for its
engineering of motion and control technology for machines, but its interest in exploring human motion control
makes SPIRE an ideal partner as the institute offers a venue where both able-bodied and para-athletes will be
training, rehabilitating, and learning. Parker Hannifin can observe these athletes and create products from their
studies for SPIRE and global athletes to use, as part of the Adaptive Cluster. SPIRE also has a plan to create a
comprehensive rehabilitation center, which will incorporate the latest technology in prosthetics and robotics
research. It is a possibility that Parker Hannifin will establish their human motion and control R&D center within
SPIRE to take advantage of the opportunities to study and test how to apply their technology to humans.
The public sector has also helped to promote research and development that has resulted in new technology,
benefitting members of the adaptive community. The most recent example is the National Science Foundation, who
just finished building the world’s fastest two-legged robot (National Science Foundation, 2011). This breakthrough
will help to bring exo-skeletal technology one-step closer to reality for many people who are in the adaptive
Because technology innovation is at the forefront, the human motion and control market tends to favor large,
established companies with ample money to spend on R&D, production, FDA approval, commercialization, and the
legal protection of products once developed. Historically, stringent U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations
make for an approval process that can take years to complete, which could delay production and expansion.
Manufacturing must take place rapidly as this market has extremely short lead times, which can be as short as
60-90 days. Due to these unique circumstances, the orthopedics and prosthetics industry rarely sees newcomers
enter the market. When those newcomers do enter the market, they are often not start-ups but companies that
are well established in another market segment, like Parker Hannifin. With the plan for an Adaptive Cluster,
existing players in the market may gain greater agency to expand their operations.
The success of the human motion and control market as part of the Adaptive Cluster would most likely depend on
its ability to attract existing companies more so than focusing on incubating start-ups. The economic cluster will
need to create advantages for companies, such as helping to mitigate costs or supplying needed resources. The
cost of doing business in Northeast Ohio is already lower than most major urban areas, mainly attributed to
cheaper real estate, lower cost of living, and central proximity to North American markets, which reduces
shipping time and rates. The region’s ports, railroad, airport, and highway transportation systems offer a robust
logistics infrastructure, while continuing state tax advantages and government incentives for specific locales will
offer incentives for productivity.
3. Adaptive Sports Equipment
The adaptive sports equipment market includes products such as a golf clubs made shorter for a person in a
wheelchair, wheelchairs enhanced for racing, or a sled modified for ice hockey players. The goal of the industry,
and thus for the proposed Adaptive Cluster, is to adapt existing sports equipment for use by members of the
It is presumed that the biggest driver for the sale of adaptive sports equipment is that the adaptive community
seeks to join or reengage in a physically active and fit lifestyle. Participating in sports is a great way to enjoy
socializing with friends, teammates, and competitors while also building physical strength, resilience, and self-
confidence. The majority of adaptive sports products and technologies are currently being used by a variety of
people with backgrounds, ranging from the novice athlete to gold medal-winning Paralympians. Interestingly, the
Internet has also aided in the adoption of adaptive sports equipment by adaptive demographics, such as children,
wounded veterans, and para-athletes, by making information available on various equipment manufacturers and
sporting facilities that make participation.
Today, the rate of veterans with similar injuries has increased due to recent wars. And their eagerness to return
home to an active lifestyle has led to an increased demand in grants, donations, athletic training, and publications
regarding the adaptive community and has augmented the demand for adaptive sports equipment. The Wounded
Warriors Project is probably the most recognizable entity that provides goods and services to disabled veterans
to help them move beyond rehabilitation and toward a full and productive life. In doing so, the organization
provides programs focused on physical health and wellness. It has strong partnerships with high quality,
specialized disabled sports providers, making year-round sports and fitness programs available in snowboarding,
skiing, bicycling, golf, fly-fishing, rafting, camping, and the like (Wounded Warrior Project, Inc.).
Athletes with disabilities have experienced great inclusion within the Olympic arena as well. The origin of the
Paralympic games has its roots as a sports competition involving World War II veterans with spinal cord injuries,
which was hosted in Stoke Mandeville, England in 1948 (Paralympic Games). The number of athletes participating
in the Summer Paralympic Games has increased from 400 athletes from 23 countries in Rome in 1960 to 3,951
athletes from 146 countries in Beijing in 2008 (Paralympic Games). The USOC and Team USA athletic organizations
have formed partnerships with companies that produce adaptive sports equipment to create endowments for the
advancement of American Paralympic athletes. This partnership allows athletes to receive the training and
equipment that they need to compete at a reduced cost or for free. In return companies get exposure by
marketing globally via the Olympics.
The adaptive sports industry is unique to North America, with most manufacturers of this technology based in
either the U.S. or Canada. Corporate innovation has provided many opportunities in the fields of engineering and
sports science. Many well-established companies are already committed to providing the next wave of technology
for the adaptive community. Some of the major players are Invacare, TRS, Spokes N’Motion, and Enabling
TRS has a Sports and Recreation division that unveiled products designed to duplicate the flexion and extension
characteristics of the hand and wrist with a scoop shaped palm surface to enhance bi-lateral ball handling, which
is excellent for contact sports (TRS, Inc., 2011). Spokes N’Motion is a specialist in the production of sleds for
adaptive cycling, sailing, and team sports like hockey and rugby, in addition to numerous other all-terrain
applications. The company is also one of the top producers of sports-specific devices for adaptive skiing (i.e.
monoskis, bi-skis, dualski, superlite outriggers) and accessories, in addition to a full range of equipment for use
by stand-up and sits down skiers (Spokes 'n Motion). Enabling Technologies, located in Denver, Colorado, is a
premiere design and manufacturing company of adaptive recreational equipment for the physically challenged.
Their skis, outriggers, and crutches are sold throughout the world and are recognized for their durability,
versatility, and superior workmanship (Enabling Technologies, LLC, 2011).
Invacare, located in Elyria, Ohio, is one of the biggest manufacturers of adaptive sports devices, generating $1.8
billion dollars in revenue in 2010. Invacare’s Sports and Recreation Rehab Division, known as Top End, has been
making sports and recreation products since 1986, first specializing in racing chairs then in sport-specific chairs
designed for basketball, quad rugby, and tennis (Top End).
Advances in adaptive equipment technology have greatly enhanced the performances of athletes with disabilities
off the field, too. Cycling research has been applied to wheelchairs and as a result wheelchairs are lighter and are
much easier to transport. Changes in wheelchair design have also been impacted, with innovations in wheel sizes
and hand rims so that individuals can be more comfortable in everyday activities.
Just as with the human motion and control market, the majority of adaptive sports device manufacturers are not
located in Northeast Ohio, so there is work to be done to attract these companies to the region. Unlike the human
motion and control market, the barriers to entry are much lower for new companies looking to either make
products or provide adaptive sporting venues. Northeast Ohio’s geographic landscape is also an opportunity to
become a destination for members of the adaptive community to take part in outdoor sporting activities—living
the adaptive innovation born in the region.
The goal of the adaptive clothing market is to engage entities in the research, education, innovation, design,
development, and manufacturing of adaptive clothing for individuals who live without the use of an extremity, a
prosthetic device, or a device to aid in mobility. This may include clothing for sports, recreation, performance,
fashion, and work.
Adaptive clothing is defined as ―clothing specially designed for people with physical disabilities, the elderly, and
the infirm who may have difficulty dressing themselves due to an inability to manipulate closures, such as buttons
and zippers, or due to a lack of a full range of motion required for self-dressing.‖ Adaptive clothing can also be
specially designed and made to suit seniors, handicapped, hospital patients pre- and post-surgery, rehabilitation,
or patients with temporary or permanent disabilities (Disabled World).
There are several reputable companies that make adaptive clothing for children and persons with special needs
using the following adaptations: flat seams to reduce friction, discrete adaptations to make the clothing look as
normal as possible, easy access with snaps, the use of Velcro and stretchy fabric, roomy bottoms to
accommodate diapers for all ages, longer rise in the back to accommodate sitting in wheelchairs, elastic waist for
increased comfort and ease in dressing, and meeting safety through flammability standards. In addition, the same
companies can also make custom clothing tailored for specific needs of individuals.
Companies are beginning to realize that creating clothing for the adaptive community is profitable and worthwhile.
Quick Change Clothing is an innovator of design and manufacturing of adaptive clothing. Other examples of
companies that make clothing for children with special needs include: Mini Miracles Children's Clothing,
Adaptations by Adrian, Talon Clothing, The Callhans, and Silverts.
The global apparel industry’s total revenue in 2006 was $ 1,252.8 billion and was predicted to reach a value of
$1,781.7 billion by the end of 2010 (Fashionproducts). The Asian Pacific region constitutes the largest amount of
production and trade in the apparel industry worldwide (35.4%), followed by Europe (29.4%) and then America
(22.3%) (Fashionproducts). It’s clear that adaptive clothing can easily fit into the industry’s massive scale of
There are two existing models for product delivery in the clothing market: the buyer-driven and the producer-
driven. Firms that fit the buyer-driven model, including retailers like Wal-Mart, Sears and JC Penney, athletic
footwear companies like Nike and Reebok, and fashion-oriented apparel companies like Liz Claiborne, Gap and The
Limited Inc., generally design and market—but do not manufacture—their products. They are ―manufacturers
without factories,‖ with the physical production of goods separated from the design and marketing. Unlike
producer-driven chains, where profits come from scale, volume and technological advances, buyer-driven chains
profit from combinations of high-value research, design, sales, marketing, and financial services that allow the
retailers, designers, and marketers to act as strategic brokers in linking overseas factories and traders with
niche products in targeted markets. Clothing design and manufacturing in the Adaptive Cluster would most likely
follow this buyer-driven model, vertically integrating all steps to deliver products to the adaptive community.
Clothing is arguably the one product of the Adaptive Cluster that will require the greatest number of resources to
make a reality. According to the Career Guide to Industries 2010-11 Edition report for the State of Ohio, there are
currently seven clothing manufacturers and 332 textiles companies—but few adaptive clothing companies. Given
the propensity for clothing to be produced in the Asian Pacific region, even if the manufacturing itself does not
occur in Northeast Ohio initially, there is opportunity to influence the buyer-driven model of product delivery
where the focus is on high-value research, designing, marketing, and manufacturing. The economic cluster can
try to produce a new brand of clothing line for the adaptive community or could create one within an established
company’s brand. Either way, clothing could be tested and developed based on research that could be gathered
from interacting with participants at SPIRE Institute’s comprehensive rehabilitation center.
In order for the proposed Adaptive Cluster to be successful it must identify and bring together potential
participants and other stakeholders. The business, philanthropic, government, academic, sports, and medical
entities below are in the position to collectively lead the development of the vision, strategies, and tactics to
create an Adaptive Cluster. When this community is convened it will also lay the groundwork for two important
tenets of the economic cluster: collective knowledge and regional proximity. In the same way, pooling the
collective knowledge and bringing all the stakeholders together benefits everyone involved, including the
companies and people in the Northeast Ohio region.
1. SPIRE Institute
SPIRE Institute is one of the largest indoor, multi-sport, training and competition complexes in the world. With
more than 750,000 sq. ft. indoors and acres of outdoor facilities, it has the unique capability to simultaneously
host clubs, leagues, tournaments, and championship events no matter the season. Every consideration has been
taken to create an unparalleled experience for the athlete, coach and the spectator. Moreover, SPIRE exists to
―unlock the full potential of the human spirit…[it] is for high achieving athletes training to reach their peak, but it
is just as tailored to high school students and active seniors, Paralympians and Special Olympians, Wounded
Warriors and weekend warriors.‖
But SPIRE is more than a facility; because of the relationships that it has already fostered within and outside of
the region, it has the potential to be the home base for the incubation of the proposed Adaptive Cluster.
The economic cluster can use SPIRE’s momentum of mission, programming, innovation, publicity, multiple
partnerships (i.e. philanthropists, educational institutes, students, sports associations, professional athletes,
veterans, local government, Georgetown University, Parker Hannifin, and other local companies), and facilities for
convening users and suppliers of medical devices, clothing, adaptive sports equipment and human motion and
control devices. In this sense, the Institute becomes a true ―living learning laboratory,‖ where ideas aren’t just
produced but lived.
SPIRE could play host local medical exhibits, conferences, trade shows, and seminars relevant to the adaptive
community. Adaptive sports equipment and other adaptive devices could be tested and further developed based
on research that could be taken from observing naturally able-bodied athletes at the Institute’s facilities. SPIRE
also has a plan for a comprehensive rehabilitation center, which will incorporate the latest technology in
prosthetics and robotics research. Moreover, SPIRE will assist the women and men in uniform that return home
wounded by offering rehabilitation and therapeutic services and educational programming on site.
2. Georgetown University
Georgetown University is one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions, offering a unique
educational experience that prepares the next generation of global citizens to lead and make a difference in the
world. The University is a vibrant community of exceptional students, faculty, alumni, and professionals dedicated
to real-world applications of our research, scholarship, faith and service. Established in 1789, Georgetown is the
nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university. Drawing upon this legacy, the University focuses on educating the
whole person through exposure to different faiths, cultures, and beliefs. Moreover, its programming aims to fulfill
the University’s mission of creating ―women and men in the service of others,‖ with a focus on social justice and
intercultural understanding that impacts the world.
In early 2011, Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies entered into a relationship with SPIRE Institute
as the official educational partner to provide resources, faculty, and curriculum for new multidisciplinary
programming. The relationship demonstrates the joint commitment to creating innovative programming that helps
students of all ages maximize their potential for future achievement. This partnership is designed to connect the
educational expertise of Georgetown SCS with the state-of-the-art capabilities of SPIRE, to create a ―living
learning laboratory‖ for high school summer curriculum, prep year, post-secondary and non-degree programs.
The goal is to help students apply theory to practice, resulting in the development of essential skill sets like
leadership and creativity.
The federal government is using economic cluster theory as a framework for job growth to help get the economy
back on track. President Obama's 2012 budget proposes a competition to identify 20 potential clusters that would
then receive a share of $2.5 billion in funds‖ (Leonard, 2011).
Northeast Ohio’s government has also recognized the region’s opportunity and stepped into its role as a catalyst
of economic activity by providing financing and encouraging high levels of synergy amongst the public, private,
and non-profit sectors. A recent example is the Ohio Third Frontier, a $2.3 billion public-private partnership aimed
at stimulating the economy through investment in new tech-based industries. The initiative has contributed $235
million into biomedical research and start-ups in Northeast Ohio since 2002 (Davidson, 2011).
The Innovation Ohio Loan Fund, administered through the Ohio Third Frontier, was created to assist existing Ohio
technology companies to develop and commercialize next generation products and services by financing the
acquisition, construction, and related costs of technology, facilities, and equipment. The Fund attempts to combat
companies’ difficulty with securing financing from conventional sources due to technical and commercial risk
factors associated with the development of a new product or service (Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber).
The JobsOhio Network is referred to as the Kasich Administration's private-sector response to the state's
economic challenges. It is a web of regional economic development groups supporting a statewide jobs agency
with the goal of ―crafting regional economic strategies and ink deals with companies arriving, expanding and
staying put in the state‖ (McFee, 2011). The Ohio Department of Development looks to local partners like Team NEO
(one of the state’s six JobsOhio Network regional partners) via JobsOhio to increase Ohio's ability to keep
companies there and help them grow, something the Department acknowledges that it has never been able to do
effectively on its own (McFee, 2011).
In 2011 the Ohio Third Frontier also provided a one-year, $4.1 million grant to Team NEO to operate a regional
JobsOhio office in Northeast Ohio and fund proposals from groups in the region for initiatives that would create
more jobs, increase capital investment, and boost some of the region’s competitive strengths (Baker, 2011). The
Adaptive Cluster will look to local, state, and federal incentives to help put the plan in action.
Northeast Ohio has the benefit of having a business ecosystem that includes non-profits as major contributors to
supporting business incubation and workforce and entrepreneurial training that advances economic development.
The Fund for Our Economic Future is a collaboration of philanthropic organizations and individuals that have
united to strengthen the economic competitiveness of Northeast Ohio through research, civic engagement, and
grants. Its main goal is long-term economic revitalization that strengthens the region’s core cities, encourages
inclusion, and enhances the region’s quality of life (The Fund for Our Economic Future, 2011).
Launched in 2007 by the Fund for Our Economic Future, Advance Northeast Ohio creates the region's economic
competitiveness agenda. It articulates a vision for the region by establishing a set of values and beliefs that guide
how the region will act and specifying strategic priorities and goals to make the region more competitive in the
global economy. Partners in Advance Northeast Ohio are from all sectors of the region and use the agenda to
shape the regional collaborations that promote more business growth, strengthen talent development, encourage
inclusion, and promote more efficient, effective government.
Team NEO advances Northeast Ohio’s economy by serving as the 18-county region’s private-sector economic
development hub. It builds collaboration among the region’s economic development organizations, attracts new
businesses from around the world, and connects the region to the state’s JobsOhio program. Since 2007, the
organization has attracted new company operations, 4,800 new jobs, and almost $173 million in annual payroll to
Northeast Ohio, leading to a total annual regional payroll benefit of $281 million (TeamNEO, 2011).
Jumpstart is a non-profit venture capital organization that directly invests in and assists entrepreneurs leading
high growth companies in Greater Cleveland. It also exists to grow and strengthen the region’s entrepreneurial
ecosystem by raising funds for other organizations and by managing a network of 20 incubators, accelerators,
and investors (JumpStart, Inc., 2011).
BioEnterprise Corp is described as Northeast Ohio’s medical device industry’s ―nerve center.‖ It is a non-profit
that fosters the creation and growth of healthcare and bioscience companies in the region by recruiting medical
firms to the region, helping start-ups obtain venture capital and state money, and matching manufacturers with
suppliers (Davidson). The founders and partners are the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Case Western
Reserve University, Summa Health System, and BioInnovation Institute in Akron. Additional technology partners
include the NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland State University, NorTech, and BioOhio.
BioOhio is a non-profit organization designed to build and accelerate a globally competitive bioscience industry,
involving innovation, research, and education in order to drive economic growth and improve quality of life in Ohio.
BioOhio has partnered with top pediatrics, cardiology, and teaching hospitals, is the largest global contract
research organization, is a member of Fortune 35 companies, and is a nationally ranked institution (BioOhio,
The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, Ohio has a Medical Device Development Center, which is a
collaboration of Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron General Health System, Northeast Ohio Medical University
(NEOMED), Summa Health System, and The University of Akron. This strategic alignment of institutional, state,
federal, and philanthropic support, accompanied with Akron’s rich legacy in industrial and materials science, is
working to pioneer the next generation of life-enhancing and life-saving innovations that will transform Akron and
the surrounding region into a model for biomedical discovery and enterprise (ABIA).
An organization that helps to plan the Adaptive Cluster could also be its own 501 (c) 3non-profit. For example, at
Research Triangle (RTP) in North Carolina, the actual park was originally developed as a private, profit-seeking
entity, while the Research Triangle Council was a ―non-stock, non-profit‖ entity (Schalin, 2011). Although the
origins were modest, the RTP organization spun off various entities over time to effectively manage new ventures,
making that biopharmaceutical cluster the success it is today.
5. Medical Institutions
Northeast Ohio boasts a large concentration of hospitals, including University Hospitals, MetroHealth Medical
Center, Summa Health Systems, the Veterans Hospital, Geneva’s local hospital, and the renowned Cleveland Clinic.
Medical institutions’ role in the Adaptive Cluster can be categorized as providing medical services, conducting
independent and joint ventured research for the advancement of medical science, and purchasing disposable and
durable medical equipment. For example, to expand on their role as a major medical equipment purchaser, in
2005 the national health expenditure for durable medical equipment and non-durable medical products was $67.6
billion and reached $78.1 billion in 2009 (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2011). In 2009, the national
health expenditures for these same categories were projected to be $83 billion in 2011 and reach $127.4 billion by
2020 (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). The annual spending for fixed and movable equipment was $12.4
billion in 2001 and increased to $15.9 billion in 2007 (Schuhmann, 2009). Such large-scale spending is due largely
to needing to replace dated equipment caused by rapid advancements in scientific and medical research.
The Cleveland Clinic is ranked as the number one cardiology and heart surgery hospital in the world (U.S. News &
World Report). It is number two on the list of the top 100 grossing hospitals in America as of August 29, 2011,
reporting $9.14 billion is gross revenue (Oh, 2011). In 2010 roughly $275 million of Cleveland Clinic’s revenue was
generated from grant, contract, and federal research investment in the Clinic (The Cleveland Clinic, 2010).
Cleveland Clinic Innovations, the Clinic’s technology commercialization arm, maintains the Global Cardiovascular
Innovation Center, which incubates startups focused on the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
The Cleveland Clinic’s concentration on treating heart disease was instrumental in spurring 16 cardiovascular
companies to move to the region since 2008. Furthermore, the Cleveland Clinic has just launched an Aquatic
Therapy Program that is focused on aiding rehabilitation for the adaptive community.
6. Academic Institutions
Higher education and access to world-class universities play a big part in the sustainability of any economic
cluster, and will play an important role in the Adaptive Cluster. Academic institutions really have an opportunity to
spur the development of the Adaptive Cluster by providing R&D and innovation, encouraging human capital
development via curriculum, and attracting knowledgeable workers who want to extend their study. There is a
large concentration of academic institutions in Northeast Ohio: 14 public universities, 24 branch campuses, 23
community colleges, and more than 120 adult workforce education centers and training programs, many of which
are known for their achievements in scientific research, innovation, and application.
Universities are often responsible for the research and development of new technologies that directly impact
industries. Moreover, there is demonstrated growth in the demand for educated and certified individuals in the
healthcare field as it requires the attraction and retention of talented individuals to fill technical roles. For
instance, the physical therapist industry in the US is expected to grow to $26.9 billion of revenue in 2011
Many universities in the Northeast Ohio region also have robust engineering programs with a focus on new
technologies, helping to train the next wave of innovators. Cleveland State University, home to the Fenn College of
Engineering, offers a specialization in Applied Biomedical Engineering in conjunction with the world-renowned
Cleveland Clinic Foundation. The Ohio State University has the top ranked engineering program in Ohio, which is
also among the top 20 public engineering programs in the U.S. Other local universities like Youngstown State
University are investing in interdisciplinary science programs. Youngstown State University (YSU) is the first
university in Ohio to create a College of STEM –science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Case Western Reserve University ranks 12th among private institutions and 24th overall in federal expenditures
for science and engineering research development. Moreover, the Case Western Reserve University School of
Engineering ranks among the nation's top 50 graduate engineering programs by U.S. News & World Report, and
top 10 in biomedical engineering (Case Western Reserve University, 2011). Case Western Reserve University and
the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation have created a $20 million endowment that is aimed at translating biomedical
research into commercial products and clinical practices.
Cuyahoga Community College began offering a course to supply area firms with more skilled workers by
educating out of work line manufacturing workers who aspire to learn computer-controlled milling for medical
device production (Davidson, 2011). The Department of Labor provided a grant that afforded free classes for
people who wanted to attend.
7. For-Profit Companies and Manufacturers
In order to innovate in the growing field of adaptive equipment, for-profit companies and manufacturers need
talented people. The 2010 Fund for Our Economic Future Dashboard of Economic Indicators stated, ―For
companies, human capital is likely the hardest factor to move and to find. The quality of the workforce, as well as
quality of capital (such as sites, buildings and access to technology), all lead to a company’s ability to produce,
compete and survive. In both earnings and unemployment, education and training matter.‖ Northeast Ohio offers a
solid, available workforce with experience that is relevant to the task of creating the Adaptive Cluster—the
challenge is to get the region’s companies and manufacturers on board by supporting the local workforce and
building inroad with partner organizations.
Capital is mobile—companies will invest where they can get the most return. Commodity products that use low-
skilled labor cannot be produced as cheaply in Northeast Ohio or the U.S. as they can be produced in China and
throughout the Asian Pacific region. To paraphrase a former chief economist for a major automaker regarding
global competition: ―People all over the world want to work, and can be trained to do the work we need.‖ When
competing in a global economy, Northeast Ohio workers need to create products that are differentiated with a
greater return or higher ―value added.‖ The Adaptive Cluster is an opportunity for the region to compete in a
global market by forging partnerships with area companies who already have deep ties on a global level, and to
reinvigorate and evolve existing manufacturers into makers of new technologies.
IV. Benefit and Risk Assessment
Part of developing a strategy that will ensure the long-term growth and success of the Adaptive Cluster is to
focus on opportunities that will minimize risk and maximize benefits. City Lab had created the following principles
to ensure the success of the new economic cluster:
Focusing on targeted markets through aggressive marketing
Differentiating the products through exclusiveness and brand awareness
Developing strategic partnerships with both industry leaders and competitors
Building a relationship-oriented business that fosters long-term seller-customer relationships, not just
Fostering social responsibility through a commitment to programs that transform lives (i.e. SPIRE
donates 5% of all proceeds towards "Feed the Children" and other charities)
With the implementation of any new business plan comes inherent risk; but it is the potential benefits that
outweigh perceived threats. We have identified two categories or entities—contributors and government—that
will be essential for the creation and success of the Adaptive Cluster. The following sections articulate identifiable
risks while also anticipating impactful benefits and, in certain cases, the control and mitigation that will be used to
negotiate a constructive and productive balance between the two. These are strategic points of importance that
will be used to convene these entities and begin conversations about how they can constructively contribute to
the creation of the Adaptive Cluster and maintain involvement over time.
1. Local Public Sector: Geneva, Ashtabula, and the Greater NE Ohio Region and Its Politicians
Public investments of local/state/federal dollars do not produce anticipated returns—the money is
considered ―lost‖ or ―wasted.‖
Elected officials are attacked for supporting the Adaptive Cluster, either based on financial
considerations or quality of life issues such as increased congestion/infrastructure needs, higher land
and real estate prices/taxes, and how cluster development affects local quality of life.
Economy of local area flourishes as new local businesses are created.
Tax revenues increase allowing for better public schools, infrastructure, parks, etc.
New jobs created for those currently unemployed or underemployed with the promise of job growth.
Businesses from elsewhere establish relationships with the Adaptive Cluster that will further create
jobs in the local area.
New training programs in academic institutions that raise the skills and educational achievement of local
people so that they are more employable for the 21st
Northeast Ohio becomes home to a thriving economic cluster (i.e. Research Triangle in North Carolina).
Private investment from SPIRE shares funding burden
Manage expectations from the beginning. The project should not be ―oversold‖ to begin with –anticipated
results should be discussed in advance of decisions to finance.
The Adaptive Cluster should be presented as a reasonable investment, given what is known and can be
Facts in the form of regular progress reports that can support positions taken with regard to use of
public monies should be part of an ongoing communications program.
Less favorable facts must be communicated in the appropriate context before they are characterized by
others to the detriment of the cluster.
While public investments may exceed anticipated results, it is wise to restate that this is a long-term
investment. The comparable cluster Research Triangle, which was only one of the three best known
clusters to have been ―created‖ rather than grow organically, is thriving today—but it was a very
modest effort 50 years ago that grew steadily rather than exponentially.
2. Parker Hannifin, Invacare, and Other Corporate Partners
Investments do not pay off in corporate strategic planning time frame.
Stock prices negatively affected where publicly traded companies are involved.
Research done at SPIRE does not lead to innovative strategies to meet market needs.
Work force needed for onsite tasks associated with research at SPIRE is not available or properly
SPIRE facility means lower upfront costs for corporate research.
The Geneva/Ashtabula County area offers significant cost benefits in terms of location over Colorado
and Georgia, home to Olympic training facilities, and over Massachusetts and California, home to Route
128 and Silicon Valley. Geneva/Ashtabula County has lower cost of living, affordable real estate, less
congestion, and is located within two hours of major transportation hubs Cleveland and Pittsburgh and
within five to eight hours of the entire eastern seaboard.
Ashtabula County is the cradle of the reinforced (composite) industry in the U.S. and produces more
polymers and plastics per capita than anywhere in the country.
The adaptive sports industry is unique to North America, with most manufacturers of this technology
based in either the U.S. or Canada. The Geneva/Ashtabula County location of SPIRE provides prime
access to both able and disabled athletes for research and development of new
products/technologies/protocols for the adaptive community.
Adaptive Cluster provides for cross-fertilization among companies which stimulates more creative
output and faster development of new products and services.
Marketing to present the myriad assets currently associated with partnerships in the Adaptive Cluster
should be ongoing and should include events that allow company representatives to interact with local
officials and business owners.
Targeted and free media outreach to create ―buzz‖ so that the cluster establishes a leading presence in
the adaptive arena and becomes the de facto geographic location for all things adaptive.
Convene conferences/meetings at SPIRE to address issues associated with adaptive community in
order to capture the knowledge and create repositories of expertise.
Work with firms to understand and meet their needs.
3. USOC, Veterans Administration, Department of Defense, and Other Medical Partners
Tax dollars and private contributions could be invested in projects that do not work out (i.e. Solyndra).
Funds appropriated are subject to congressional action and may not be reliable or sustainable.
Funds from the USOC are subject to their fund raising process and also may not be reliable or
Contracting process for federal dollars is long and arduous, further imperiling time lines and stability.
Criticism of public investments and of agency management of the contracting and oversight process.
Possible need for bricks and mortar federal facilities at SPIRE raises costs to unsupportable levels.
Public requirements for transparency, accountability, and public participation may clash with private
corporate proprietary information preferences and intellectual property protection.
For relatively small investments the Department of Defense, the VA, the USOC,and medical partners
obtain access to first-rate facilities at SPIRE that can provide them with valuable applied research
Partner organizations can test and prototype rehabilitation strategies at SPIRE, gaining valuable data
for better design of future products, and can work collaboratively as part of the Adaptive Cluster.
This public investment pays off much better than anticipated in terms of knowledge gained and advances
for the adaptive community.
Other federal agencies might want to become associated with SPIRE on behalf of other target
populations (i.e. Heath and Human Services, MediCarre, etc.)
Can complement efforts at SPIRE by increasing demographic spread covered by observation/recording
of performance data from partner organizations.
Federal requirements for public participation, transparency, and accountability for public involvement
and funding can help to mitigate any criticisms.
Detailed record keeping of monies, jobs, program management, and public outreach in a timely fashion
and on a regular reporting basis can address criticisms effectively.
4. Georgetown University, Case Western Reserve University, Kent State University, and Other Academic Partners
University reputations and prestige at risk in any new venture
Criticism about academic relevance of involvement in the cluster
Use of scarce university resources for project
No student or alumni interest/support for outreach programs
Cluster success adds to reputations of participating universities and schools.
Cluster demonstrates value of university outreach programs in terms of knowledge gained and
management of resources.
Knowledge gained about sociology, economics, and business management of formation and operation of
public-private endeavors to solve real world problems.
Academic disciplines related to bio-mechanical engineering and design, robotics, electronics,
healthcare, physical rehabilitation, and art/aesthetics/fashion gain experience and expertise in real
world applications of knowledge and knowledge development.
University students get opportunities to work on cutting edge science and technology with companies
leading change in the adaptive world, perhaps leading to jobs after graduation.
5. SPIRE Institute
SPIRE becomes overcommitted too soon, losing focus, and is not able to maintain the intensity needed
over time to make the Adaptive Cluster a success.
Unable to secure adequate funding in a timely fashion and/or on a long-term basis.
Unable to attract students, workers, experts to its facilities.
From the SPIRE Mission statement: ―SPIRE Institute exists to unlock the full potential of the human
spirit…SPIRE is for high achieving athletes training to reach their peak, but it is just as tailored to high
school students and active seniors, Paralympians and Special Olympians, Wounded Warriors and
weekend warriors. Our only criteria for acceptance are a love of sports and a desire to strengthen your
mind, body and character.‖
SPIRE’s mission statement ties directly to the idea of an adaptive community.
SPIRE facilities will be maximized for optimal use through Adaptive Cluster ventures.
SPIRE has already established partnerships that will mitigate the risks potentially associated with
development of an Adaptive Cluster.
Associations with Parker Hannifin, the VA, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and
Georgetown University lend credibility, which lend stability over time.
The partnerships established to date speak highly of SPIRE and plans associated with the organization.
This means that other government agencies, non-governmental organizations, companies, and
universities will be more likely to join and participate.
Political/personal agendas of career politicians
Slow and manual government processes and procedures
Government budget cuts and low human capital
Response to community’s distrust/unrest/frustration/issues
Cultivate individual relations with the people and community. The role of the politician is to represent the
people and what they want. If the cluster gains the approval/acceptance of the people, then the ―career
politician‖ will have to follow suite.
Gain a clear understanding of the process and procedures and plan transactions and application
packages accordingly. If it is a known fact that the local government takes three months to approve a
certain item, then allocate four to five months within the timeline of all projects.
Identify early on which government entities (i.e. Ashtabula County, Geneva-On-the-Lake, Harpersfield
Township, etc.) are involved or required to execute the project.
Plan ahead to allow time to accommodate government approvals and processes.
Must deliberately communicate with the community and anticipate how the government will respond to
people. If you reach the community first, the government should follow.
Rules and regulations need to accommodate the adaptive community
See if government can offer incentives or have programs that would decrease (if not alleviate) certain
Identify the zoning requirements up front and determine if they are appropriate for the particular
project. If not, work with government and communities to see if re-zoning can take place.
Offer incentives that would help alleviate government burdens (i.e. develop additional water/sewer lines
between spare locations at no cost to the government/taxpayers).
Identify what permits are required to implement projects and place that application process within the
project timeline with room for flexibility and error.
Know your business and customer in addition to the laws and rules already established.
V. Communications Plan
By developing an innovative Adaptive Cluster, a unique opportunity is presented to revolutionize and revitalize
both Northeast Ohio and the adaptive community. A clearly identified brand, consistent messaging, and dedicated
partners will aid in shaping the Adaptive Cluster by communicating the economic cluster to a wide set of
1. Colleges and Universities
Northeast Ohio has 29 colleges and universities, many with thriving programs committed to the exploration of
applied sciences and technologies that can support the Adaptive Cluster in the Northeast Ohio region (U.S. News &
Cleveland State University is home to the Fenn College of Engineering, which offers a specialization in Applied
Biomedical Engineering in conjunction with the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic Foundation, a non-profit academic
Youngstown State University is investing in interdisciplinary science programs. According to a recent study,
―Youngstown State University (YSU) is the first Ohio University to create a College of STEM – science, technology,
engineering and mathematics – that led to YSU being designated by the Ohio Board of Regents as ―urban
research‖ university.‖ (Getchey & McCartney, 2010)
Case Western Reserve University, located in Cleveland, Ohio, ranks 12th among private institutions and 24th
overall in federal expenditures for science and engineering research development. Moreover, the Case Western
Reserve University School of Engineering ranks among the nation's top 50 graduate engineering programs by U.S.
News & World Report, and top 10 in biomedical engineering (U.S. News & World Reports).
2. Companies: Northeast Ohio
There are several corporate leaders in the adaptive technology and XO skeletal research in Northeast Ohio.
Parker Hannifin, a Fortune 500 company known for the engineering of motion and control technology, recently
announced an alliance with SPIRE Institute to study human motion control technologies. WillowWood, which is
located in Mt. Sterling, Ohio, are an industry leader in the design, manufacturing and distribution of prosthetic
products. In addition, located just west of Cleveland in Elyria, Ohio, is Invacare, a major manufacturer of homecare
products to keep consumers active in their own homes and communities. Recently, Invacare has expanded into
the service industry, focusing on a wide range of programs like interior design, injury reduction and facility
Also, located in Ohio are the following companies that are vital to the future of a Adaptive Cluster in Northeast
Ohio: Prosthetics Design Inc., Acor, Inc., AcuTemp, AMT Systems Engineering, Inc., AxioMed Spine Corporation, and
Ten of the country’s top 18 medical device manufacturers currently have facilities in the Cleveland area, including
Johnson & Johnson, GE Healthcare, Philips Medical Systems, and Steris. Additionally, medical device–related
employment is growing statewide, as reflected in an almost 20% growth in bioscience jobs from 2000 to 2009.
34% of the state’s medtech jobs are concentrated in and around Cleveland.
3. Companies: External
Outside companies with parallel industries that cross-promote the ―adaptive community‖ market include health
care, alternative health care providers, elderly and disabled services, health clubs, specialty hospitals, sports
coaching, adaptive and sporting equipment, transportation/mobility, medical devices, athletic wear, and sports
teams are prospective targets for supporting the creation of this the economic cluster.
4. Medical Community
Along with the strong potential for corporate innovation and opportunity, Northeast Ohio has a significant amount
of medical innovation that is also applicable to the Adaptive Cluster. The world-renowned Cleveland Clinic is
ranked as the number one Cardiology and Heart Surgery Hospital in the world (U.S. News & World Report). In
addition, the Cleveland Clinic has just launched an Aquatic Therapy Program that is focused on aiding
rehabilitation for the adaptive community.
Geneva, Ohio is serviced by UH Geneva Medical Center, a Federally-designated Critical Access Hospital, part of the
University Hospitals healthcare system associated with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. This
center serves a 20 mile radius in Northeast Ohio.
5. Government Agencies
Northeast Ohio benefits from local access to Federal government agencies such as NASA’s Glenn Research Center
that is committed to scientific research and exploration. Also, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has
dedicated resources to the exploration of robotics and XO skeletal technology. Most recently, the NSF just finished
building the world’s fastest two-legged robot (National Science Foundation).
Other government agencies have committed significant resources to the adaptive community:
The Department of Veterans Affairs (Veterans Health Administration) awarded $7.5 million to the United
States Olympic Committee (USOC) to provide community-based recreation and sport activities for
disabled Veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces. The SPIRE Institute and USOC are
currently working towards an alliance, and SPIRE held several sporting events featuring athletes with
disabilities, including the U.S. Olympic Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Department of Defense’s innovation engine
tasked with maintaining the technological superiority of the U.S. military, funded the creation of a
robotic exoskeleton suit to aid paralyzed people to walk.
The Rehabilitation Services Administration under the Department of Education provides leadership and
resources to assist state and other agencies in providing vocational rehabilitation, independent living
and other services to individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment, independence and
integration into the community and the competitive labor market.
6. Local Region
The Northeast Ohio region consists of 16 counties with a population of 4.1 million people. The area’s $170 Billion
economy places it in the top 25 nationally and at number 42 globally. Residents maintain jobs primarily in the
services, manufacturing and retail industries (Cleveland Plus Business). The recent success of the healthcare,
manufacturing, aerospace and energy technology industries in Northeast Ohio owe their success to the areas
long history of innovation and entrepreneurship (Northeast Ohio Trade and Economic Consortium).
7. Adaptive Community
The adaptive community is rooted in three main categories: 1) technological advances in adaptive resources
focused on athletics and soldiers, 2) inclusivity in educational equity, and 3) accessibility in work places and public
spaces. Innovative leaders in embracing the spirit of adaptive and inclusive practices historically have been the
sports and recreation industry, the natural resources industry, and the technology industry.
It is important that the Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County be the first step in this communications strategy
is to create a branding campaign for this community/cluster. It is recommended that it use the following key
frames to align its position:
The brand will need to evoke an image separate from the current perception of the Northeast Ohio ―Rust Belt‖,
but rather align with the SPIRE Institute mission to ―to unlock the full potential of the human spirit via athletics,
academics and service.‖
The Adaptive Cluster in Northeast Ohio is without competition in the world. The opportunities presented to our
Key Publics are wide open.
The Adaptive Cluster has aligned itself with extremely credible partners including SPIRE Institute, Georgetown
University, Michael Johnson, and Aimee Mullins.
The Adaptive Cluster in Northeast Ohio creates opportunities to increase the quality of life of not only those in the
adaptive community, but also those who live in the Northeast Ohio region, and organically to everyone who
identifies with the adaptive community.
City Lab Mission Statement
Pioneer the development of a sustainable Northeast Ohio economic cluster that attracts connects and creates
entities, which generate the research, products and opportunities to serve the stakeholders of the adaptive
1. Considering the history of the adaptive movements and recent technological advances, a Adaptive Cluster is
ready to convene.
2. Innovative leaders in embracing the spirit of adaptive and inclusive practices historically have been the Sport
and Recreation community, the Natural Resources community, and the IT community. These movements have had
varying degrees of success through disparate efforts globally. A centralized geographic location to organize
efforts, messaging, and research has been missing to propel this movement forward. Currently there are no
competing economic clusters focusing on the adaptive community in the world.
3. Recent technological advances in motion technology and biomedical engineering have made inclusivity in
physical activities for those in the adaptive community possible in ways never imagined before. In Northeast Ohio,
partnerships between companies like Parker Hannifin, the industry leader in the development of motion and
control training since the 1970’s, and SPIRE Institute are forming.
1. An Adaptive Cluster would boost national and regional economy, as well as support and magnify national and
regional character and innovation.