Increasing Competitiveness of the Construction Sector by Adopting Innovative Clustering
Companies in today's world need to become and stay competitive. This means, among other things, that they have to create new ideas and turn them into innovative products and processes. Appropriate innovation management strategies, including creation of various kinds of alliances with other business entities, need to be adopted within the company. Clustering is one of such possibilities. The paper discusses the main features of clusters and the benefits for their members; in addition, it identifies specific features of the construction sector that require specific approaches to establish a cluster. The methodology Innovative Cluster Model with 3x3x3 mail elements (ICM333) is proposed and used to initiate and develop a cluster in the construction sector. In the cluster development three stages are identified: emergence, development and maturity of the cluster. Actions associated with these three stages tackle four areas (in each stage): rationale, organization, resources, and implementation. All areas are thoroughly elaborated and discussed in the paper. In the first step, the emerging cluster, the key element is identification, assessment and dissemination of development opportunities. It can run parallel with the cluster initiation, which is followed by the operation. Within the steps to be taken in the stage of the developing cluster, visions nad the goals have to be defined first, followed by the definition of the cluster organisation. The mature cluster stage has to focus on performance measurement and management, and take appropriate measures to garantee its sustainability and adequate innovative character. Implementation of the proposed cluster development methodology has the potential of greatly facilitating the betterment of a construction sector in a particular country. It can be a valuable tool, when available to policymakers, chambers of commerce and trade, and other stakeholders that wish to foster the development of such clusters. The paper reports on the results of the 7th Framework project FP7-REGIONS-2007-1 RegCon – Support Action for Innovation Driven Clusters in Construction.