In order to identify emerging regional innovation clusters and accelerate their growth, NorTech has created a comprehensive, nationally-recognized Cluster Acceleration Model.
It consists of four major components:
- During the Discovery process, we identify which emerging industries are likely to evolve into regional innovation clusters. We engage with multiple regional constituencies to evaluate the growth potential of an emerging industry and its potential for alignment with regional assets, competencies and strategic partnerships. Alignment is a key indicator of how well the region can support industry growth and how anchored the industry will be in the region.
- InSeven by NorTech® is our proprietary, consensus-based process for developing industry-driven roadmaps designed to position a region to capture significant economic growth within seven years. Each roadmap articulates a shared vision based on the region's ability to leverage existing assets, defines industry-specific services that will promote cluster growth, and forecasts potential job growth over a seven-year period.
- NorTech provides Industry-specific Services to small, medium and large companies in order to accelerate the commercialization of new products and services. Our industry experts work with our cluster members to build cluster-based project teams, develop and execute detailed go-to-market strategies, and identify and access industry-relevant project funding. Our services include the following:
Building Cluster-Based Project Teams Developing & Executing Detailed Go-to-Market Strategies Identifying & Accessing Industry Relevant Project Funding Project teaming by industry experts Path-to-market assessments Providing guidance & assistance on funding opportunities specific to cluster companies Engaging specialized suppliers & partners from the cluster value chain Value proposition training & assistance Leveraging regional partners for general funding opportunities available to cluster members Engaging specialized talent, facilities & services from regional academic/research institutions Market research training & assistance Business opportunity roundtables Voice of the customer training & assistance Cluster resource forums Anchor customer engagement training & assistance Technology exchange forums
- Cluster Metrics are interim and outcome metrics we use to guide the evolution of our industry-specific services. We continually adapt our services to maximize their effectiveness per these metrics. Over time, they will indicate when services are no longer required to drive cluster growth.
Two priorities cut across these four components:
- Strategic outreach is designed to build regional, national and international awareness of and attract resources to the regional innovation clusters. Supporting efforts typically include media placements, presentations, exhibits and events. It also involves engaging policymakers, business leaders, funders and other influencers to position Northeast Ohio as hub of innovation, attract resources and scan for opportunities.
- Inclusive competitiveness involves leveraging the region's diveristy of talent, especially talent residing in socially or economically disadvantaged urban areas. Efforts driving inclusive competitiveness include fostering minority entrepreneurship in the region's emerging industry clusters, connecting minority innovators and entrepreneurs to technology opportunities, expanding the region's pool of technically skilled minority workers, and encouraging more minorities to pursue STEM and entrepreneurship training.
While we currently focus our cluster acceleration efforts on three specific industries in Northeast Ohio – advanced energy, flexible electronics and water technologies – we do not work with them in silos. Quite to the contrary, technologies between the three clusters are converging and companies across those industries are forming strategic partnerships to create new technologies. NorTech has responded to this reality and combined its industry expertise in all three areas under one group called the Cluster Acceleration Team. This allows NorTech's industry experts to work across clusters in the same way technology in the region cross-cuts clusters.