Over the past few decades, clusters and cluster initiatives have become a key component in utilising the strengths of regional and national competitiveness strategies. Today, cluster programs and initiatives are established in all developed and a multitude of developing countries
Clusters are businesses with common interests and complementary capabilities collaborating to solve challenges within the market. They are concentrations of interconnected companies and institutions in a particular field. Organisations come together to both collaborate and compete in a co-opetition model. Clusters also often extend downstream to channels and customers and laterally to manufacturers of complementary products and to companies in industries related by skills, technologies, or common inputs. Their development is all about understanding and building on a region’s fundamental strengths.
Clusters are made up of governments and other institutions, such as universities, standard organisations, think tanks, vocational training providers, and industry associations that provide specialised training, education, information, research and technical equipment. The objective of Resources cluster is to bring all this capability together, to realise a greater collective potential and deliver clusters with capabilities, capacity and visibility beyond the sum of its parts.
Queensland is home to clusters of companies that have developed world leading capabilities to deliver solutions for the resources and energy sectors around the globe. This concentration of industry leading innovators is complemented by renowned education and research institutes that collectively provide the products and services and ideas that will continue to deliver innovative solutions for our future industry challenges. As a result of the knowledge, skill and capability in Queensland and more broadly in Australia, there is a significant natural competitive advantage.
Connecting cluster participants with funding sources to support collaborative technology developments is also an important role of the cluster. The cluster aims to connect individual companies and partnerships with appropriate state and federal government grants and funding schemes. Participants can share experience and provide support on preparing successful submissions.
Clusters have seen huge success across the world in a variety of fields, ranging from Silicon Valley in the US to cutting edge energy innovations in Scandinavia. That success comes when companies that are often located together start working together, to expand their research, their ability to scale and their opportunities to grow. Their success requires the group to build relationships and develop a level of trust. Companies must let go of a degree of competition, self-protection of ideas and continuous pursuit of commercial advantage and learn to cooperate and contribute openly. It is when this tipping point of trust and credential building is reached that larger opportunities start to materialise.