K.U.Leuven - Departement toegepaste economische wetenschappen
DTEW Research Report 9714 pages:1-17
In this article, the relevance of cluster policies to stimulate technological innovation is examined. Cluster policies have emerged in many industrialized countries to complement the classical sector-driven innovation frameworks that have been in place for several decades. The hallmark of a cluster-based innovation policy is (or should be) its emphasis on fostering the creation and the diffusion of lateral inter-organisational networks between actors belonging to different sectorsof the economy (e.g. universities and companies). An empirical study in Flanders'highlights the motivations and the experiences of firms that engage in innovation clusters. Although the firms' perceptions are in general positive and supportive of the cluster concept, the field research suggests that the formation of inter-organisational networks will necessitate a sustained and intense effort of the different actors involved. In the absence of the network development effort, cluster policies are undoubtedly doomed to fail. These findings, of course, point to the more fundamental question : how and when does one define a cluster ?