TCI2013 Clusters and innovation from a Nordic perspective

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By Arne Isaksen, University of Agder, Norway, presented at the 16th TCI Global Conference, Kolding 2013.

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TCI2013 Clusters and innovation from a Nordic perspective

  1. 1. Clusters and innovation from a Nordic perspective Arne Isaksen Cluster Development in Times of Change 5 September 2013
  2. 2. Clusters and innovation from a Nordic perspective TCI Conference, Kolding, September 5, 2013 Professor Arne Isaksen, University of Agder
  3. 3. Unemployment rate, Q2, 2013 Norway Sweden Finland Denmark Island EU27 3.5 8.9 8.0 6.8 5.8 10,9 Source: Eurostat 3
  4. 4. Global Competiteness Index 4
  5. 5. Well-functioning Nordic economies •Nordic economies perform well. Why so? •Macro factors, e.g. the Nordic model, often highlighted •But micro foundation of innovation also important – and often not assessed 5
  6. 6. Learning organisations •Relatively many learning organisations in the Nordic countries •Varied work tasks •Decentralisation of decision-making •Initiative ‘on the shop floor’ •Learning and improvements as part of the work 6
  7. 7. Examples of broad participation • Producer of mining equipment, locally owned firm, 150 employees: • ‘If a drawing includes errors, an engineer can be sure that within two minutes a worker will come and tell that this does not work’ (CEO) • Aluminium smelter, part of a MNC, 300 employees: • ‘It is most fun when I am in other factories of the MNC. If you look at those named on patents from our factory you often find operators. Then they look at me.’ (Global project manager) 7
  8. 8. High trust societies 8
  9. 9. Characteristics of the Nordic innovation mode •Broad participation and ‘cosy relations may stimulate: •More of the same – better and more efficient, rather than •radical renewal and creation of entirely new industries 9
  10. 10. Role of cluster projects •Are clusters better suited to •improving firms’ productivity (and securing ‘more of the same’), rather than •generating renewal and new path creation? •Need to supplement cluster thinking with e.g. the innovation system approach 10
  11. 11. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION 11

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