Principles of creation and types of clusters

The core principle of participation in a cluster is voluntariness.  Each participant decides independently whether to join or leave a cluster. Moreover, it is possible to participate in several clusters simultaneously. In a number of foreign clusters, membership is formal and, as a rule, other than paying membership fees, members have no other obligations. But it may also be the case that the membership poses an accompanying obligations, and the leaving procedure involves the fulfillment of the obligations agreed in advance for such a case.

The main condition for a cluster creation is the trust among the members and common interests. A cluster is created and developed if its members have coinciding or complementary problems, needs and goals.

The main feature of the cluster is that the members are not bound by property rights and the possibility of direct external control of their activities.  They retain financial and legal independence and continue to compete with each other.

At the same time, they can delegate the implementation of individual tasks to general management structures, if this leads to additional benefit from participation in the cluster.


The Triple Helix Principle

Modern clusters in the developed countries are created in accordance with the «triple helix» principle (network interaction of the State, Business and Science). It is believed that the paired relationship format (each with each) is no longer sufficient. Making optimal management decisions requires the interaction of all three actors (Government, Business, Science) in a network mode, i.e., the formation of a full-fledged triple helix.

In the framework of the «triple helix» mechanism, these actors not only actively cooperate, weaving connections, but take over functions inherent to each other, and this ensures the effect of continuous updates and innovations.


Cluster types

  1. Porter proposed the following cluster types:

Vertical clusters are the companies linked by a buyer-seller relationship in a value added chain (VAC) in adjacent stages of product production.

Horizontal clusters are the companies that can share common product markets, use similar technologies, workforce comparable in professional qualifications and skills, and other common resources.

Modern science provides many other types. The following cluster types are the most common.

Innovation clusters are the innovative companies (start-ups, research organizations, etc.) concentrated in one sector and region, aimed at stimulating innovative activity, cooperate with each other — exchange of knowledge, competencies, create cooperation networks, etc.

Regional clusters — geographically concentrated companies (the territory does not always coincide with the administrative boundaries of regions) from one or related industries and supporting institutions.  In the case the synergy is achieved through competition and cooperation between participants.

Industry clusters — industry and adjacent sectors companies based on cooperation and competitive ties. This cluster type is distinguished by the ability of companies to mutually enhance competitive advantages through a synergistic effect.

In Kyrgyzstan different types of clusters have been developed. The High-Tech Park of the Kyrgyz Republic can be classified as innovative cluster — this is a zone with the High-Tech Park regime for legal entities and individuals — residents of the High-Tech Park. It contributes to the favorable development of the IT business. However, in most cases, these are initiatives to create regional clusters of enterprises and individual entrepreneurs that form a value chain.


Cluster creation options

There are three main cluster creation options. The first is when the initiative comes from the economic entities themselves and the cluster is created as a result of their efforts. It is an ideal option for the cluster competitive advantage implementation. In the foreign practice of clusters creation, this option is called «bottom up». However, this path is not always possible, since the cluster creation activity requires a certain investment of time, money as well as the involvement of qualified specialists. It’s not always easy.

The second option for a cluster creation is performed with the help of targeted economic policy of authorities. For example, within the framework of regional policy. This is so called «from up to down» approach. It allows to attract external resources from various sources. However, the participation of authorities may be subject to some additional requirements, for example, the certain social issues that are not entirely acceptable for the cluster members.

Finally, there is a «mixed» one that combines both of the previous options.

An assessment of the cluster creation practice in the Russian Federation showed that every third Russian cluster initiative comes from regional authorities (33% of clusters). Most often, the decision is made jointly by the authorities and business (51%). And only every sixth cluster was created on a private initiative without participation of authorities (16%)[1].


[1] Kostenko O.V. Russian experience in building a management system for an economic cluster. Vyat State Agricultural Academy, Kirov, Russian Federation.