The aim of the Basque Government in convening this meeting of clusters is to reflect on the key issues in their mission to improve competitiveness through cooperation. Basque Cluster Day is the platform on which the Basque Government has based the start of an annual reflection concerning key issues so as to boost the dynamism of the clusters in their mission of improving competitiveness through cooperation, especially in the role that Basque clusters should play in the RIS3 smart specialisation process. If you were not able to attend, all the key points are here.
The address by Michael Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at The Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, based at the Harvard Business School, and his acknowledgement of the Cluster initiative in the Basque Country, at the opening ceremony of the event.
Alexander Arriola. SPRI Group General Manager
Alexander Arriola explains the background of the cluster initiatives in the Basque Country, highlights the key milestones and the lessons learnt in recent years; at the opening ceremony of the event. Moreover, he states that the cluster policy “has been one that has enjoyed greater stability and has been consolidated in recent years”. SPRI Group General Manager stresses that cluster initiatives evolve and mature over time. “They do not remain stagnant. The cluster policy also needs renewing and adapting to this evolution and particularly to the new challenges posed by the smart specialisation strategy.
Arantxa Tapia, Basque Government Minister for Economic Development and Competitiveness
Arantxa Tapia emphasises the importance of new challenges in industrial policy: Smart Specialisation Strategy – RIS3. Renewal of the cluster support policy and alignment of clusters with the Smart Specialisation Strategy RIS3. Key factors for the future and their effect on the economic development of the Country. The Basque Government Minister for Economic Development and Competitiveness considers it essential to have competitive clusters so that the Basque Country remains among the European regions with the highest GDP: “We know that having competitive clusters (which means innovative and internationalised) is essential for economic growth, to create quality employment and remain among the 5% of European regions with the highest GDP”. The Minister urged that "certain inertia be broken" and revealed that the new regulation will facilitate the creation of larger clusters and associations, as well as intercluster working. “We will have to go beyond the limits of our natural clusters and sectors and work in intercluster mode, combining and adding capabilities, setting up shared projects, converging in activities and achieving an optimal dimension to tackle the global opportunity niches that have been identified”.
Christian Ketels, Harvard Business School and President of the TCI Network
Christian Ketels, Harvard Business School and President of the TCI Network, shares his perspective of where we are going as regards Clusters with all attendees. The President of the TCI Network at Harvard Business School highlights that in the past “people said that it was the old economy and we had to go to services. It was a decision that has made it possible to enter new sectors”. “Where there are strong clusters, there are high salaries, more resistance to recession, more start-ups and companies are more successful”.
1. How could diversification towards higher value-added activities be boosted and what new working models would have to be developed for this purpose in clusters?
2. In addition, how are cluster strategies connected with other Basque Country strategies, for instance, with the RIS3?
3. Finally, what key factors would you highlight to continue improving the performance of cluster associations to respond to the current competitiveness challenges of the Basque Country?
Participants: Arantxa Tapia, Basque Government Minister for Economic Development and Competitiveness, Alexander Arriola, SPRI Group General Manager and Christian Ketels, President of the TCI Network.
Jon Azúa, former Vice President and former Minister for Industry of the Basque Government
Participation of Jon Azúa in the round table discussion “The 25-year experience of Basque clusters” after receiving recognition of his work in implementing the Cluster Policy strategy in the Basque Country from Minister Arantxa Tapia.
The “true power is the 2,500 persons involved in clustering” in the Basque Country. He remembers that the first cluster project, 25 years ago, was for the value-added steel sector “but it didn't come off; we did not have the support of the companies and institutions”. He argues that "you don't have to put a cluster in your life, but to clusterize the economy. We should be involved in a permanent process of competitiveness”. About the future, he believes that we should do away with “the government silos that exist. Every day that passes they will have to be part of many clusters. And governments need to equip themselves with more powerful structures”.
James Wilson and Mikel Navarro, ORKESTRA, The Basque Competitiveness Institute.
José Esmorís, CIE Automotive (ACICAE)
Tomás Iriondo, GAIA
Eduardo Jiménez, HABIC
Antxón López Usoz, DANOBAT (AFM/HEGAN)
Xabier Caño, SADER
Xabier Ortueta, AFM
Juan Pedro López Araguas, Basque BIOcluster
Jose Ignacio Hormaeche, EVE
Javier López de Lacalle, FMV – FORO MARÍTIMO VASCO