Why clusters?

Phil Jackman, 4th February 2021

Initiating, developing and supporting clusters is one of the cornerstones of Dynamo’s work. From fairly humble beginnings a few years ago we now have several active clusters supported by our cluster managers. Each of them is at a different stage of development, with some partnered with commercial organisations and each supported by the Innovation SuperNetwork.

You may be aware that I lead on CyberNorth, the cybersecurity cluster partnered with Accenture and Dynamo’s aim is to continue to grow these clusters as opportunity, resource  and demand allows.

But why are clusters relevant to what we are trying to do? I am sure there are many more but here are four reasons why clusters make sense:

Regional recognition – Firstly, setting up a cluster allows people in business, public sector and academia to come together to share experiences and address common issues. It gives people working in the sphere the opportunity to collaborate with others while still allowing for a competitive framework. It also builds the region’s belief in its ability to deliver in that particular sector.

External recognition – Secondly, clusters and their subsequent promotion makes it much easier for government bodies, both local and national, to work with the specific industry. It is much easier for them to address groups of businesses rather than individuals. Such an approach makes public funding and other initiatives more deliverable. Having clusters also promotes the region as a place to deliver the services on offer, putting us on the map and making people outside the region aware of the region as a possible place to invest in or do business with.

National picture – Thirdly, having been involved in developing a cluster, I have come to realise that there are many other similar clusters across the country, each with like minded objectives yet different offerings. Working with other groups means that the region can draw upon the national skills yet carve out a niche for itself, with specific aims in a wider UK offering.

International exposure – Fourthly, similar to external recognition, building clusters allows for easier recognition overseas, supporting export growth and possible inward investment.

They are also interesting to be involved in. I have been working closely with the UK Cybersecurity Clusters group to forge strong links, learn from others and raise the profile of the region. Later this month we will be holding a joint event as part of Scotland Cyber Week to talk about this very thing ‘Why the focus on cyber clusters?’ You can register for the event here.

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