Problem-Solving and the Universal Nature of 14.0

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The process of sectoral expansion would benefit more from adopting the problem-oriented approach. Gathering members around a particular challenge, which is shared by them, facilitates the co-operation among sectors. It is further accelerated by the universal nature of many of the 14.0 technologies, which can, in fact, bind more easily the related sectors and act as a bridge for RV.

HAv has recommended the setting up and implementing of a development platform. It seems to be a tool for collaboration among cluster members. Nevertheless, in the beginning, it was welcomed with much suspicion and scepticism. This platform, however, proves to be the right way to increase business efficiency, which is of utmost importance for small and medium firms. (CC1) ‘We met and spoke for two days on some topics; this close exchange allowed a better intervention, early correction if necessary, to improve the efficiency’. Many of the HAv innovative solutions are, in fact, general-purpose technologies (GPTs), which can facilitate further expansion in related sectors. (CC2) ‘We provide aircraft cabins with human-centred lighting solutions, to positively manipulate an inner clock, so a human can shift easily to other time zones. You can have it in the car, on the ship, but you need it most in the aircraft’.

As put by one cluster expert, the only way to make the local players work together, is to agglomerate around some issue, in order to solve a specific challenge. Collaboration among sectors should happen naturally, come from the business itself, be initiated and implemented by focal players, interested in such co-operation. What can help, however, is a problem- oriented approach. When actors share the same problem or when they face similar difficulties, they are inclined to search for common solutions. (CS2) ‘Solving real problems helps, not artificially aggiegating actors’.

Innovation can happen in new creative digital industries, but also in old traditional ones. Often new ideas are useless, unless put into the actual process or unless applied in a real product. There seems to be too much hype about purely creative digital, thus the need to bring them down- to-earth, to adopt into classic areas, such as the food industry, aviation, maritime, and so forth. Different formats help to open the minds of local clusters. They aim at strengthening this cross-fertilisation like brainstorming sessions, world coffee roundtables stimulating creative thinking. (COl) ‘Groups are set at different tables, dedicated to a certain topic- problem, and they rotate, they think about what the previous group came up with, they change and modify it; in a way, they are jointly learning'. It is not merely a discussion detached from real problems; it is about solving these challenges.


In the opinion of cluster actors, the blending and adding of related sectors, should be regarded in terms of addressing the gl owing need for complementary competences. The sectoral expansion and more diversity in the aviation sector, should duly follow the principle of complementarity, which can then translate into a better defined and more sustainable competitive advantage.

More diversification, more RV or blending, in fact, might turn critical for cluster coherence, and its sustainability in the future, as it can mitigate and neutralise the direct competition.

Cluster films are well aware of the risk of sharing knowledge with rivals, but admit that in such interactions, they can benefit as well, due to the access to complementary competences. There are two sides of this cluster symbiosis. (CE2) ‘In a way, you search to collaborate not with direct competitors, but those with complementary skills and competences’. (CC3) ‘New companies entering HAv, are very much close to the 14.0. We see this process going on; before there have been very specific aerospace companies and products, the new ones joining are very diverse and bring capabilities from other industries’.

Many companies agree that, particularly for small films, it is beneficial to diversify in terms of bringing new skills, new corresponding supplementary competences. (CC1) ‘The bigger the cluster diversification, the bigger the chance you will find someone with complementary capacities’. There is some emerging consensus that, on the one hand, what is needed is a focus on core activities and specialisation, on the other hand, bringing and integrating new businesses, which create a competitive advantage in the future.

Blending, as seen by cluster films, results from digital transformation, as it implies changes in business models, moving away from merely manufacturing simple pieces of hardware to adding sendees, data processing and other features.

88 Cluster -IC, RVand Stretching

On a Final Note

There was the public local government initiative to set up the co-learning space with the ami of fostering cross-cluster co-operation. It brings value and supports the development of RV, but also unrelated variety. Clusters have regular meetings when they initiate R&D co-operation or have common training around topics, such as AI. The idea of inviting new players to the cluster (like leasees, but also including new, related sectors) or the approach to see the HCAT as training and educating, not just for the aviation industry, but rather as a centre of advanced schooling, as diagnosed in a new strategy (55th HAv Fomin, 2019) indirectly confirm the relevance of RV and blending processes.

Clusters can display long-term growth, if they can maintain diversity, and that technological heterogeneity plays a central role in cluster evolution (Menzel & Fomahl, 2010).

The results of an anonymous online survey among cluster experts and cluster firms revealed that 57% agree (strongly agree and just agree) that digital transformation promotes cluster diversification—less sectoral specialisation; 29% remain undecided, whereas 14% do not share this opinion (strongly disagree and disagree).

Governments and public authorities assume responsibility in the implementation of the best business environment for firms to thrive (Tinguely, 2013). For this cluster policy, however, to be successful in the long ran, the government would need to leverage the power of the technology gatekeepers—in particular, design the policies in a way, which allows gatekeepers to translate government objectives into meaningful objectives for themselves (Vemay, D'lppolito & Pinkse, 2018; Jrmgwhth & Mueller. 2014). Cluster policies need to solve co-ordination problems among the cluster members, by creating safety in a highly uncertain world, however, without being captured by any group of interests (Dmanton, 2011; Cantner, Graf & Topfer, 2015). At the same tune, any evaluations of cluster policies should not rely on aggregated statistics that ignore cluster-specific impact (Elola, Valdaliso, Franco & Lopez, 2017).

The results of an anonymous online survey among cluster experts and cluster firms revealed that 77% agree (strongly agree and just agree) that cluster is an instrument of a modem industrial policy promoting the digital transformation; 14% remain undecided, whereas 9% do not share this opinion (strongly disagree and disagree).

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