We talked to Michael about Cluster Competitiveness and some of the cases Monitor is currently working on in that domain.
- What is so interesting about cluster competitiveness? “In my mind, the interesting question starts another place. It has always puzzled me why some regions or cities grow and flourish while other – close by and seemingly alike – stagnate or perish. Although the big waves of urbanization dominates the overall picture as well as the dominating growth of Asia, there are many interesting themes below these trends. Why do Denver, San Francisco or the Raleigh area grow and attract high-income citizens while other cities nearby have not seen growth for decades? Therefore, the first interesting question is WHY some areas do better than others do. Moreover – maybe even more interesting – can we isolate these reasons and try to build strategies for regions or cities that will make them grow beyond country or regional average?”
- How do you work with cluster competitiveness? “Actually, this old-fashioned stuff builds upon theoretical ground laid by Michael Porter way back in the nineties. Simply acknowledging that nations and places need to compete much like companies and using that insight to create and live stringent strategies that builds on your strengths. We have developed a solid framework identifying where the real strengths of a region lie. On top of that, we have built a methodology to work with strategic choices at government or local government level, which will enable growth from exactly those strengths.”
- If this is about focus over decades how do you make this happen in democracies, where the focus shifts every 4th year? “In many of the historic cases – that we are all inspired by – strategic choices had very little to do with their success. Rather the co-existence of certain specific elements have proven to be of great importance. Where would Silicon Valley have been without Stanford? And where would Detroit have been 30 years ago without the car industry – which eventually nearly destroyed the city some decades later?”