Rethinking Innovation: Danish Clusters’ Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

Submitted by Alina Danieles… on 29 April 2020

Like the rest of the world, clusters are also affected by the corona crisis. Right now, they are taking action to mitigate the sudden changes which many member companies are experiencing in the current situation. Some services and activities change, new ones are added, and others suddenly become irrelevant. 

At a series of virtual knowledge sharing meetings facilitated by Cluster Excellence Denmark, the Danish clusters have shared national as well as international experiences and discussed how they can support companies in this difficult time. There appear to be four current trends:

  • Clusters are adapting already planned activities to the new situation: The authorities' guidelines are followed. Cluster employees work from home but are available to the members. Activities planned before the crisis are adapted to the situation and the new way of life. Some activities are postponed, others are canceled, and many are digitalized.
  • Clusters develop new activities that can support companies: There is a difference in how the corona crisis affects clusters' ecosystems across sectors. The Danish clusters show agility in relation to the new situation, and together with their member companies they are in the process of developing and implementing new activities that can support businesses: From innovation collaborations with the healthcare sector, over handheld help for troubled sectors to hotlines for entrepreneurs and businesses.
  • Clusters find that companies continue to be interested in innovation: Although there are differences from sector to sector, the clusters generally experience a shift in the mindset of member companies, in terms of readiness for change. Initiatives that have been in the making for a long time are quickly being implemented, and there is still interest in innovation. Some innovation activities are expected to be postponed but not canceled.
  • Cluster services and activities have been digitalized rapidly: The situation has "pushed" the development of clusters within digitalization. Cluster services, as we know them, have changed. The digitalization of cluster services has, for the majority, been done by necessity, but with such large gains that many of them are expected to remain digital.

To find out more about how Danish clusters rethink the innovation toolbox in the current crisis environment read the report here (also attached).

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