Why Industry Clusters take So Long to Develop

relationship-drivenThe dirty little secret about industry clusters is that they take twenty years to development. The reason is that both industry clusters and business ecosystems are relationship driven not data driven. They both require a certain amount of trust.

There are some in the business community who want to imply that data analysis is the key to solving all the world’s problem. In fact, it’s hard to argue with hard data. The problem is that when the data are right it’s all good. When it’s wrong, things can go very bad, very quickly.

Community leaders should be very skeptical of data programs that propose to show the existence of potential or nascent industry clusters. People aren’t random statistics they are people. They don’t co-operate with each other just because some data point says that they should.

In the past, you might have started a strategic network to pull together the people needed to achieve a specific economic development goal. You could have worked your network to find just the player for each position. They wouldn’t have had to trust each other as long as they trusted you.

Now, makerspace development re-frames this situation by providing a practical location for industry cluster empowerment. You start with a makerspace meetup where participants discuss the kinds of projects that they want to pursue. You acquire a physical location after some level of consensus has been reached.

Makerspace Development changes the time frame for industry cluster empowerment from twenty years to three to five years or the same as a start-up. The relationships formed during the meetup phase grow into business relationships. New, relationships develop as projects are completed.

Zachary Alexander