Cluster Group Development

Cluster Group Development

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3416-8.ch005
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Cluster groups are those organizations or individuals who have similar businesses and relationships. Clusters usually form naturally and organically due to the nature of the economic activity or by disruptive leaders who see an opportunity. Regional and local economies grow and decline based on their ability to specialize in high-value industries and then evolve that specialization over time. Cluster groups aim to embrace advantages of productive, innovative, and creative mechanisms by sharing knowledge, infrastructure, resources, and suppliers. Successful cluster initiatives begin with a combination of data and analysis to identify and prioritize cluster opportunities in service of broader economic development goals. Local and regional leaders identify and prioritize potential cluster group opportunities from geographically proximate organizations in a certain field. Interdependence is complex, and it is important to have the understanding of how to design a cluster group. Cluster groups can be instrumental in developing the creative economy with their uniqueness. This chapter explores cluster group development.
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If you take a galaxy and try to make it bigger, it becomes a cluster of galaxies, not a galaxy. If you try to make it smaller than that, it seems to blow itself apart - Jeremiah P. Ostriker

It is best when cluster groups grow organically. Clusters are a way to understand what matters to specific environments with a goal of creating programs that achieve broader economic development goals, which might relate to overall job growth, innovation capacity, or economic inclusion. The appropriate method to identify and prioritize clusters is organic and morphs according to what a region is trying to accomplish by developing a cluster group.

In Fort Smith, Arkansas, a disruptive leader created a community festival called The Unexpected. This event brought international artists to Fort Smith to create public art. As of 2019, over 30 pieces of public art now exist. The festival is still a major event in Fort Smith. Something unexpected was born from the festival, and now Fort Smith has become a regional center for music. One art form has developed another, a music cluster, where musicians’ across the country are locating and new venues for music have opened. This has given way for more disruptive leaders to create new businesses, and entrepreneurs are coming to Fort Smith for opportunities.

Cluster-based talent development strategies help employers to address specific skills and competencies needed in that cluster. Furthermore, these strategies enable universities, community colleges, and even the K-12 system to develop talent pipelines around in-demand occupations in the cluster. Firm learning is a foundational aspect of clusters, and non-credit classes may fulfill this (Donahue, Parilla & McDearman, 2018).

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