At the fourth ICN Managers Meeting, two new clusters were welcomed into the network, the focus of the network's activities was revised and the managers set tangible targets for their work: to deliver results for local stakeholders at two international platforms in 2012.
On October 26-27, 2011, the ICN Managers group held its 4th meeting in North Carolina, USA. At this meeting, the network was expanded from eight to ten clusters as the French cluster Tenerrdis and the German cluster Renewable Energy Hamburg were welcomed into the group.
More resources, more contacts added to the network
The two clusters each represent hundreds of local companies, a number of universities and dedicated local authorities. Marianna Lubanski, Business Development Director at Copenhagen Capacity and moderator at the ICN meeting, says: "It has been so inspiring to be part of this meeting and as a newcomer to the network, it strikes me what an overwhelming amount of resources that is represented around the table of cluster managers - how many stakeholders we represent altogether. Really, this is a gold mine of contacts! The question which I think is on all of our minds now is how we can orchestrate this so that our local contacts can benefit from being connected through us."
Bilateral activities yield more results
At the meeting, several activities were discussed and successes achieved by the ICN were shared. But also the style of collaboration was brought up for revision.
"I think that an important realization for all of the managers is that multilateral collaboration is not yielding enough results at the moment," Marianna Lubanski says and continues:
"We are, however, seeing how some of our bilateral projects and the work that we do in groups of a few clusters is gaining momentum right now and progressing rapidly. As an example, Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Singapore Sustainability Alliance and has thus committed to an exchange of talent and competencies on several levels. Moreover, OREEC is currently leading a process of applying for EU funding together with a core group of a few ICN clusters. This clearly shows us that we need to focus more directly on how we can connect a few clusters in very specific areas instead of always thinking in broad and generic terms and trying to reach all the stakeholders in all the clusters everytime."
ICN as a brand
Apart from a new understanding of how the ICN can achieve results more efficiently, Marianna Lubanski mentions the growing acknowledgement of ICN as a branding platform: "It adds value to the clusters that we are able to brand ourselves as part of something bigger." And she goes on to say, "There are local advantages to be gained in meeting and learning about one another and further strengthening existing relationships as well as building new ones. We are continuously getting better at finding out how we can deliver results for our local stakeholders by getting more familiar with each of the clusters' competencies."
Major ambitions for 2012
Perhaps most importantly, the ICN has decided to plan (eller host) two international conferences for 2012 that will act as platforms for the ICN meetings and as forums for matchmaking between selected stakeholders from all of the ICN clusters: The Open Smart City Platform in Copenhagen on March 19-23 and The Asia Pacific Sustainability Leadership Forum in connection with the Global Entrepolis Singapore (GES) in November 2012. Marianna Lubanski is looking forward to receiving the ICN managers in Copenhagen: "The Smart City Platform will aim to connect carefully chosen stakeholders from each of the ten clusters in a combined effort to help Copenhagen achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. On our visit to the Research Triangle we experienced truly impressive support from local stakeholders, and we hope in the same way to be able to offer Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster's broad network as an entrance point for business opportunities for the ICN delegations."