2InS Clusters Integrated Management System and Code of Ethics

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1 2InS Clusters Integrated Management System and Code of Ethics Action 3.3: Design- development of the Management/Operations Tools of the Innovation and Internationalization Clusters (2InS Clusters) and of the Transnational 2InS-Net -Elaboration of their Master Plan 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 1

2 Table of Contents 1. Introduction: Cluster Management...3 Some Definitions...3 Cluster management...5 Measuring Cluster Management Performance Typical 2InS Cluster Structure Alternative cluster topologies The actual structure of 2Ins facilitator cluster(s) today Management System Requirements Management Axes...9 International Management Axis...9 Regional Management Axis...10 Thematic Management Axis Organization and Regulation Code of Ethics Rationale Competition and Cooperation...12 Competition vs cooperation at the facilitator level...12 Competition vs cooperation at the supported SME level Rules of Conduct...14 Corporate Social Responsibility Minimize redundancy between different clusters in the network...15 Minimize redundancies within each cluster...15 Prevent conflict of interests at the level of facilitators...16 Prevent conflict of interests at the level of supported SMEs...16 Prevent conflict of interests between the supported SMEs and the facilitators. 16 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 2

3 1. Introduction: Cluster Management In the new, permanently changing, competitive environment, the role of cooperation between enterprises and other organizations is crucial. In this framework, the importance of clusters as a tool for the promotion of innovativeness and international competitiveness steadily increases. This is particular important in sectors of high technology in which clusters can promote growth, competitiveness, and high quality services. The cooperation of clusters allows them to provide more advanced services. For example, through an one-stop-shop, SMEs may have access to the entire network of innovation and internationalization that offers high value-added services. This network system supports the creation of new enterprises and the application of innovative ideas. It extends the horizon of knowledge with specialised educational programs, via which the members of clusters can acquire new dexterities. It faces weaknesses of domestic technological industry and strengthens action that cultivates powerful bonds with universities. It helps to exploit the results of R&D and to diffuse know-how. In general, cluster networks offer a number of benefits which include: Application of innovative and internationalized processes, Strengthening of the eco-system of innovation, Continuous improvement of competitiveness and acquisition of export advantage, Geographic and sectoral differentiation, Emphasis on viable and sustainable growth, Focus in the human potential and in the Corporate Social Responsibility Some Definitions Clusters should put together the most experienced persons and organizations Clusters should create and act as a club of professionals and institutions to promote cluster management excellence. 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 3

4 Cluster management is a profession at the core of business management. Each Cluster is an initiative with the aim to accelerate the take-up of innovation and growth of cluster SMEs. A Cluster can undertake the design and test of new support tools, but also the experimentation with new forms of cluster cooperation. Cooperation between cluster contributes to better support for innovative SMEs to internationalise and to access excellence available elsewhere. A Cluster must be open for cooperation with other initiatives and to engaging with new partners Cluster partnerships act as laboratories searching for better practice in support of innovative firms. The cluster partnership aims to support innovative industries in their pursuit of growth and internationalisation. It offers specialized support through training, coaching, matchmaking events, voucher schemes, and by leveraging other tools. Mutual cluster visits are organised and internationalisation strategies are developed. It also aims at the identification of cooperation opportunities for exploiting the joint research capacity. A further aim is to refine existing support tools to the specific needs of fastgrowing innovative firms. Cluster firm expansion and partnering is facilitated by matchmaking events, training, technology showcases and supported office space for firms visiting partner clusters. Clusters should also aim to offer guidelines with regards to the exploitation of the joint research capacity. 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 4

5 Cluster management An integrated management system for a cluster partnership should thrive to achieve the following goals: Coordination of growth (size) and evolution (quality) of the clusters Setup of a central management-review mechanism Maximum reuse of existing facilities, human resources, procedures and expertise Organization of events like workshops, training, road shows etc. Joint publicity efforts Detection and dissemination of best practice Promotion of Innovative thought and action Promotion of Internationalization Setup of new support services like e.g. a one-stop-shop and an on-line library The cluster network should avoid being just another layer of government supported bureaucracy. On the contrary, it should offer economies of scale and improved service that would normally incur high costs to isolated clusters. To achieve that, the key idea is not to create a new organization but to allocate special inter-cluster-cooperation roles to persons or units in existing facilitator organizations within the clusters. Measuring Cluster Management Performance The objectives of cluster management performance measurement are to: develop and test the acceptance of a Quality Management Approach for Cluster Management based on mutual understanding of quality indicators and friendly peerassessments develop supporting materials to train cluster managers and help them achieve excellence in the quality indicators selected and defined in the project offer a self-explanatory teaching methodology supported by cases spread the peer-review procedure for the quality label among cluster managers o Based on a modular set of quality indicators and a transparent process o It is voluntary and enables cluster managers to receive proof of their excellence prepare training schemes for cluster managers and develop training materials Existing work on cluster management performance assessment can be used for this purpose with the necessary adaptations to the 2InS network. 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 5

6 2. Typical 2InS Cluster Structure 2.1. Alternative cluster topologies There is not a single universally accepted cluster topology. Different needs or different historical background of various clusters allowed the evolution of a plurality of schemes. To categorize these although this is not a strict categorization we identify: Star topology, where a single organization is the coordinator and the facilitator channel for all other cluster members. Tree topology, where a root facilitator can support other facilitators, which in turn can support others and all cluster members in a well structured hierarchy. 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 6

7 Ring topology, where all facilitators are more-or-less at the same hierarchy level, each one supporting a number of cluster members. Mesh topology, where a member can be linked to more than one facilitator and the facilitators are also connected in a non-hierarchical way. In practice, a cluster will have a combination of the above mentioned schemes; it is important to be able to recognize the existing topology as this will lead us into suggesting a management structure that will be effective with minor distraction. 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 7

8 2.2. The actual structure of 2Ins facilitator cluster(s) today The current status in the regions that are in the scope of the 2INs project depicts a clusterof-clusters topology, which can be described using the following diagram: There is a number of regional clusters which communicate with each-other using ad-hock methods or -in some cases- having relationships established through cooperation in EU funded research projects. In one sense, the topology can be recognized as a ring of clusters, each cluster having an internal ring structure. For specific services offered to the members, some nod might be more suitable; these support requests are forwarded to the appropriate facilitator in the network. Some nodes may also have special resources allocated for the operation of the 2INs network. Two such examples are: The One-stop-shop, a reception service which can accept requests for support by cluster members and provide guidance, as well as forwarding to the appropriate facilitator. The library, where cluster members can search for documents, reports, best practices and other information that can help them resolve an issue. Other special resources can be added to the network as it matures and grows. 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 8

9 3. Management System 3.1. Requirements The integrated management system of the 2INs network is designed on the following requirements: Maximize the efficiency of already existing facilitation organizations and clusters. Enhance coordination between clusters, nodes and cluster members. Minimize the distraction that will occur on existing mechanisms by adoption of the proposed integrated management system Enable the one-stop-shop and library services and make them available to all members of the network's clusters Require a small -yet efficient- number of resources through already available staff and infrastructure wherever this is possible. Accommodate for both the regional nature of existing clusters and the international scope of the network Management Axes The system is managed at three axes, which are complementary to each other. Each axis deals with different types of support requests and provides for different types of services. Every node in the system may be part of the management of one or more axes. International Management Axis At the international level, the 2INs network has to coordinate the following activities: Network Growth and Evolution Further Integration of the various clusters into a super-cluster with closer interaction between members Adoption of new management tools Dissemination of Best Practices 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 9

10 Availability of Specialized Resources The international coordination is achieved at the decision-making level through regular meetings of the top management from each cluster and at the implementation level through special workshops and day-to-day interaction via phone and . Each regional cluster could appoint a management representative to handle coordination with the others. Regional Management Axis At the regional level, the cluster operates as it used to operate with two main improvements: The closer cooperation between facilitator nodes and the more formal handling or best practices. The management representative can also handle regional cluster coordination, whilst facilitator node staff are in charge of implementation. The activities at the regional axis are: Forwarding to specialized nodes, e.g. for incubation Case-by-case handling for each one innovative SME that is supported Intra-member dissemination of best practices Provision of resources for consulting etc. Thematic Management Axis In some cases, a thematic management approach must be followed. For example, if two or more regional clusters have great concentration of members that deal with agricultural technology, then it makes sense to appoint a specialized management representative for this topic. This representative will not be linked to any regional cluster but will be able to coordinate activities like: Educational Workshops Organization or participation in trade fairs and exhibitions Cross region business trips and road shows Theme specific best practices 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 10

11 Mechanisms to facilitate the creation of complete value chains with enterprises from the cluster members. Coordination between the academic members for alignment of curricula to industry needs. Etc. These three axes can be served by a very simple management chart with only one level between existing top management of regional clusters (who will now form an informal board of managers for the 2INs network and the staff members from the facilitators. The new level is the management representative who can be an existing high-ranking staff member or a new hire, depending on each nodes capacity: 3.3. Organization and Regulation Detail of the organization and the regulation that come out of the aforementioned integrated management scheme are described in the second part of the 3.3.A deliverable, i.e. report 3.3.A.2: Organization and Regulation. 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 11

12 4. Code of Ethics 4.1. Rationale A network organization, like the proposed 2INs network of innovation and internationalization facilitator clusters, is a complex ecosystem where common interest is not always obvious. There might be cases where conflicts occur, especially when we take into account that the end goal is to provide support towards highly competitive enterprises. A code of ethics is not a hard-lined set of laws, after all the market is open and competition is the name of the game. It is more like a rules of conduct text, which describes the potential risks and suggests accepted fair play levels Competition and Cooperation Competition and cooperation are -at first approach- contradicting terms. To make this more specific, we will here examine the relationship of these terms when the involved entities are the facilitator nodes in a clusters and when the involved entities are the supported SMEs. Competition vs cooperation at the facilitator level. Some examples of conflict are given here: When a facilitator has created innovation that is directly competitive to the innovation created be another facilitator or by an SME supported by the other facilitator. In this case, there is the risk that the SME (or the other facilitator) does not want to disclose detail about their invention. When two facilitators compete against each other for a service, e.g. when two banking institutes that offer seed financing both address the same SME in a cluster. When a facilitator having an established relationship to an SME is asked for some support that can be offered internally but may also be offered via forwarding the SME to another facilitator, e.g. in the case of incubation. When a facilitator with specialty in one thematic area is asked to provide service to an SME that would be better served by another facilitator with more specialized expertise. 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 12

13 Competition vs cooperation at the supported SME level Some examples at the SME level include: When two SMEs with competitive products approach the same facilitator for service that might include sensitive information like customer names or product roadmaps. When an SME is provided seed financing by a facilitator who has also provided financing to a competitor. When two SMEs in different points on the value chain are guided to cooperate by a facilitator even if their cooperation is not the best option for both (e.g. a purchasing SME is guided to choose a supplier from the cluster, even if this is not the best supplier this might not be necessary a problem if the purchasing SME is informed and still chooses to cooperate with a fellow SME expecting not direct but indirect benefits through the empowerment of the cluster. 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 13

14 4.3. Rules of Conduct The code of ethics will be structured, as shown in the diagram, at three levels. Level 1: At the level of aims the rules will define three main targets: Corporate Social Responsibility. Minimization of Redundancy Conflict Avoidance Level 2: At the level of scope, the rules will try to: Minimize redundancy between different clusters in the network and within each cluster. Prevent conflict of interests at the level of facilitators, at the level of supported SMEs and between the supported SMEs and the facilitators. 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 14

15 Corporate Social Responsibility. The clusters must take actions to prevent activities that harm the local community. All members must take into consideration the social conditions of the region in which they operate. Efforts by the supported SMEs or the Facilitator nodes that return benefit to the local community should be encouraged and disseminated as good practices throughout the entire 2INs network. All parties should have plans for enhancing their environmental footprint. Wherever applicable, organizations should install environmental management systems according to ISO Socially responsible practices like fair trade, ethical consumerism, community educational initiatives etc should be encouraged. The network should include training and consulting on social responsibility in its offerings towards SMEs, informing them on the benefits to the company like: Brand awareness. Human Resourcing. Minimize redundancy between different clusters in the network An SME should approach the network through its regional (or thematic if there is such a case) cluster and appropriately forwarded. Network-level services should be cooperated and resources centrally, even if they reside physically in one cluster. No two clusters should offer competing reception service structures but all clusters should offer a single distributed reception structure. Minimize redundancies within each cluster. Facilitators should focus on their core competencies and forward SMEs to other facilitators for their other needs. 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 15

16 Access to tangible support like incubation and seed financing should be offered -if the SME wants- with consulting support by a non-involved facilitator. An SME should approach a single facilitator for a single support case. This does not hold for tangible support where the SME can ask many so that they can choose what is best for them. Prevent conflict of interests at the level of facilitators Facilitators should not provide support that involves sensitive information to an SME whose innovation has been fostered by another facilitator, at least not without consent of the other facilitator. A facilitator that provides incubation and/or financing should not be the same who provides consulting on choosing incubator and/or investor. A facilitator should not use its relationship with an SME to guide them away from getting services from another facilitator. Prevent conflict of interests at the level of supported SMEs Two SMEs with competing products should be informed by a facilitator if they both ask for support, so that they may choose to switch to another facilitator. Two SMEs at different point in the value chain should be presented with all their options before being consulted to cooperate. If -accidentally- sensitive information like product road maps or customer lists or internal price lists become known to staff in a facilitator that also consults a competitor SME, the first SME should be notified and the option to change person should be offered. Prevent conflict of interests between the supported SMEs and the facilitators. When an innovation with high potential is detected by a facilitator, the SME should be informed about it and a memorandum should be signed setting out expected rights from exploitation. 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 16

17 Patents and other intellectual property owned by an SME that have been created with the help of a facilitator should return to the facilitator either in the form of payment or in the form if equity. Non-disclosure agreements and other forms of securing against spreading of sensitive information are highly encouraged. To the extend possible, examples of such cases should be recorded and maintained in the 2INs network library for reference by facilitators and SMEs. 2InS 3.3.a Part 1 IMS and Code of Ethics 17

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