Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Baccarat jewelry cluster (BEST PRACTICE)

June 18, 2009

Baccarat is three things – a card game, a company manufacturing crystal, and a town in France.

Hervé Novelli, French Secretary of State for Trade, Crafts and SMEs, has initiated work to set up a cluster to promote the jewelry trades in Baccarat, in the Meurthe-Moselle area – 300km due east of Paris.

The project labelled as a “rural pole of excellence” provides € 2.1 million investment, of which 25% is financed by the State.

The aim is to “establish a synergy of development, creation, and partnerships” and to ensure the Meurthe-Moselle area, which is the birthplace of crystal glass-making in France, a “revitalization of the territory in terms of economy, employment and urban planning”.

As a first step, the renovation of two buildings will be undertaken to provide a home for craft works, design and creative agencies, production, as well as research, training and exhibition facilities to the general public.

(This is a model for others, especially Australia, with significant sums being spent on education and training infrastructure, but minimal thought to bringing companies together to leverage this expenditure – Editor)

‘Design’ now all-important

July 24, 2008

Dr John Howard (Canberra-based consultant/policy analyst) says design and creative practice are major components of industry and innovation policy. John has done excellent work in this field, and this month he launched Between a hard rock and a soft space: design, creative practice and innovation.” The international overview is worth sharing:

§          UK leads the world in its recognition of the creative industries. The Cox Review of Creativity in Business examined how to exploit creative skills more effectively (UK Treasury 2005). The Design Council is important – now runs a program ‘Designs of the Time’ (DOTT) and a new program, ‘Designing Demand’ helps SMEs become more competitive – offers flexible, structured processes, using expert Design Associates with business experience.

§ New Zealand has launched a design strategy and is looking to breed a cohort of design-led firms — brand builders based on ideas grown in New Zealand.

§ The German Design Council (Rat für Formgebung) is a world leader in competence centres for communication and know-how transfer in the design field. Runs competitions, exhibitions, conferences, consulting, research and publications.

§ The Swedish Industrial Design Foundation (SVID) improves awareness of the importance of design as a competitive tool, and encourages the integration of design methodology.

§ The Indian Government released a national design policy in 2006. It includes a ‘Mark of Good Design’ – only well-designed products can carry the mark. The aim is to ensure that the words ‘Designed in India’ come to mean good value. India is seeking to become a global design hub. Currently a roll-out of design-led business and academic centres.

§ Taiwan has a robust design policy, supported by a growing number of design schools.

§ South Korean students outnumber all other nationalities in most graduate design programs in the United States, and Samsung is an upcoming innovator.

§ China is shifting its manufacturing base from OEM to original design manufacture and brand-manufacturing operations. In 20 years, China has opened 400 specialist design schools to train designers and build design capabilities.

§ Singapore is creating centres to bring business and design and creativity together.

Thanks to Hari Argiro (Adelaide CC) for pointing us to John Howard’s article.

Hawke’s Bay NZ forestry cluster

April 5, 2008




The first cluster to be established in Hawke’s Bay, a region on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, was the Forestry, Timber Processing and Furniture Manufacturing Industries Cluster. 


Identification of the potential for establishing clusters in the region arose out of an analysis of the region’s key export drivers and ways in which these sectors could grow their markets, product ranges and capabilities. 



The Forestry Cluster was the first to focus on this, and see it through to active cluster behaviour.  Success has now been achieved with the cluster champion, (the region’s seaport) Port of Napier Ltd, funding the cluster as to $100,000 pa for three years.  Within this time frame, growth targets have been set to achieve full self-funding from royalty income on new market opportunities crystallised through cluster efforts.


The cluster contains a diverse range of participants – from forest owners, valuers and consultants, to saw millers, timber processors, solid wood re-manufacturers, furniture manufacturers and designers.  However, they all have one thing in common – they are in a timber processing value chain.


The primary focus of the cluster is increasing the relative amount of value added outputs, both as a logical economic development methodology but also to capture the opportunity resulting from increasing resource that will come on stream from 2003 onwards.  For example, the harvestable volumes of radiata pine will more than double from the current 943,000 m3 to 2.2 million m3 by 2003.  While markets remain strong for commodity type products (logs, wood chips, pulp, sawn lumber) it is the value-added areas of timber processing, re-manufacturing and furniture manufacturing that the cluster is now focussing its activities.


Current cluster projects include:

§ workforce development (with a dedicated working party delivering solutions to local training and skill needs),

§ aggregated raw material supply and shipping line management for the cluster’s independent sawmillers, and

§ furniture design (with a cluster facilitated furniture design workshop and design incubator focussing on designs specifically for radiata pine).


Cluster facilitator, Ron Dragt provided this material.


South Africa’s design ‘learnerships’

March 18, 2008

Thekwini Further Education and Training College in Durban, the commercial and cultural hub of Kwa Zulu Natal Province, offers artistic community and diploma level craft and design programs.

They target existing artists, and focus on entrepreneurship, marketing development, and product improvement. Beginners can enroll in “Learnerships,” a holistic approach leading to National Qualification Certificates at various levels.  

The college also works on community projects. The Thekwini Cato Manor skills development centre is partnering with Sukuma, a local community organization, on various cultural industry initiatives, including arts & crafts.

At diploma level, they have design programs in Arts, Fashion & Industry. 

Source: CraftNet – an international network of community colleges devising innovative ways through partnerships to develop artisan-based strengths. Projects integrate design, production, technology, marketing, collaboration, and business management skills.

Go to 

Collaborator Profile – Des Adamson (Dunedin, NZ)

November 14, 2007

Who and where are you? 

I am located in Dunedin, a city with a population of 122,000 (25,000 who are students). I have worked extensively in the private and public sectors and currently am employed by the Dunedin City Council’s Economic Development Unit as a Business Development Advisor. Dunedin is an incredible city with a reputation as having NZ’s leading University (University of Otago). The city is home to a growing number of innovative companies and entrepreneurs who have easy access to smart educational personnel and facilities. Dunedin is also the gateway to Central Otago where vineyards flourish in the hot summers and ski-fields ensure fun in the abundant clear winter days.  

What’s your job?

I work as an advocate for business in Dunedin.  The city’s Economic Development Unit assists business through:
§          Helping with business planning, evaluation and mentoring
§          Helping promote skilled employment vacancies
§          Helping  fund market research and new market opportunities including exporting
§          Assisting with linkages to R & D subsidies and potential investors 
§          Helping key industries network to enhance business opportunities e.g. cluster initiatives §          Rates Relief for new or expanding business 

What’s exciting you at present? 

The Economic Development Unit is currently involved in a number of exciting and innovative projects:
§          Innovative on-campus program to assist students with their ideas, start-ups ( Involves collaboration between University Business School and student projects.
§          Collaborative project between the University/Polytechnic/Economic Development Unit and business in setting up a ‘Design Institute’ in the city. Dunedin has a growing reputation as a ‘design’ hub.
§          Collaborative project between the University/Port Otago/Engineering Dunedin and the Economic Development Unit regarding oil and gas exploration in the Great South Basin. 

What are your top 3 tips on how to collaborate?  
§          Integrity in all relationships
§          Listening in all relationships
§          Realism in all relationships  

What collaborative projects do you have to interest Cockatoo readers

 We have a number of clusters (Engineering, ICT, Fashion, Biotech, Food, Education).  Growing or emerging businesses are members of these clusters. They would benefit hugely by some cross pollination with other business clusters. If anyone has ideas and examples that have worked with putting mixed cluster groups together, I would value your opinions. Any other thoughts on collaborative advantages please contact me. 

Email address:  

Investment and innovation? See these EC and Canadian examples

November 10, 2007

From our archives, we have retrieved a very instructive note from Tijs Creutzberg, editor of the slick OREDI newsletter – part of the Program on Globalization and Regional Innovation Systems, Munk Centre for International Studies, Univ. Toronto. He gives some good examples of collaborative industry initiatives in Europe and Canada that could stir the interest of readers.  

Multimedia pole in Montbeliard in Franche-Compte (France) – Over the last decade, a territory better known for its automotive industry has developed competencies and employment in multimedia. Each year, over 150 international designers and artists are hosted in the Montbeliard area to develop their projects. The local universities support developments in the engineering of virtual applications. This is a good example of economic modernisation of existing activities by exploiting synergies.

Global Village in the Arcadian Peninsular (Canada) – the economy of the Acadian peninsula (francophone rural region) depends on seasonal activities. The population lives in small villages with very few services. An ICT-based program offers “intelligent integrated services” concerning the economy, education, governance, health services and francophone networking in Canada and beyond.

ICT for development of peripheral regions (Denmark) – the Danish Ministry for Science, Technology and Innovation launched the “North Digital Program” to develop the ICT industry – 89 projects have been selected, covering digital administration, e-learning and qualification, culture and multi-media, industrial development. The program has helped make the region a dynamic learning territory.

Naval industry, Haute-Normandie (France) – 24 vertically linked enterprises decided to join forces following the loss of their principal client company in 1999. With the support of the trade unions and public authorities, they created the Industrial and Naval Centre of Normandie. The collective structure allows them to exploit the knowhow acquired by their employees.

Biotech cluster (Germany) – in 1996, the Federal Ministry for Research launched the Bio Regio program, and the Rhine Neckar triangle (Bade Wurtemberg Länder) has benefited. On the basis of its scientific resources and of existing enterprises, this cluster has now become one of the most creative in the field of biotechnology.

Mechanical sector cluster – transnational partnership between Tunisia & Languedoc Roussillon (France) – cooperation is underway between enterprises in the Metal Alliance Club for Industrial Development (CAMDIB) of the Beziers Region and some Tunisian SMEs. Mutual advantages derive from the sharing of markets and through the development of new opportunities on emerging markets.

See Tijs’ newsletter at 

Contact us at for further information

Bungendore the Brave

November 5, 2007

David MacLaren, a native of New York, arrived in Australia in the late 60s to study philosophy and literature at the ANU. He was young and freewheeling, and developed a strong interest in woodworking at a time when arts and crafts were beginning to enjoy a strong growth phase.  

In 1983, he opened a Wood Works Gallery in the quiet, rural village of Bungendore, 25km outside Canberra. It was then a humdrum town with a few old buildings, a pub and a handful of shops where travellers might stop for a coffee or an ice-cream.  

But David MacLaren saw its potential, and he wanted a rural lifestyle with somewhere to display his furniture. He had a strong interest in connecting with his peers, so a second aim was to provide a quality outlet for furniture made by others in the region and beyond.  

The growth of his business led to a move in 1994 to a bigger building on the opposite corner. It now sells furniture crafted by 200 artisans as far afield as WA and Tasmania, and it is a ‘must see’ for tourists and homemakers. My South Aussie in-laws were genuinely impressed when they recently visited it.   

What was the secret of success? David explains that his overriding philosophy was to develop a business that injects city sophistication into country style living. As he says ‘Living rural does not give us an excuse to be slack, or sloppy or second rate. That is true of our galleries, food places and accommodation.’ In this vein, he has worked tirelessly to support art and design activities across the region.  

An early stimulus was the winning of the National Tourism Award for tourism retailing in 1991 and 1992. Follow-up feature articles in the Canberra Times assisted in raising local awareness.  

The business has grown further since then, and has leveraged off other businesses, and vice versa. While it is generally acknowledged that it and the classy, historic Carrington Hotel have ‘made’ the town, David and Toni Dale (of the Carrington) always agreed that people need a number of good reasons to visit a village like Bungendore. Hence they had to their vision to others in the village.

The population of Bungendore has grown steadily to around 2,000. The upgrading of the Carrington Hotel and the small businesses selling food, arts and craft, saddlery goods etc. has triggered a clustering effect, and Bungendore has reinvented itself. A tourism brochure, extolling its virtues of over 30 tourism businesses in the Village and 10 wineries nearby, is reprinted every 12 to 14 months – 30,000 copies are placed in tourism and accommodation facilities, mainly in Canberra. This is an initiative of the local chamber of commerce. The ‘Country Muster’, a C & W festival held the week after the Tamworth Festival, and the Annual Rodeo reinforce the image and brand. 

The next phase of Bungendore’s growth is possibly to form part of a regional network of lifestyle hubs based on natural tourism alliances. A precedent exists in the Ballarat region where outlying lifestyle towns, especially Daylesford, have been incorporated in the regional tourism product.

David says that a distinctive and under-sold feature of Canberra and the wider region is in fact its ‘good life’ features. ‘Don Dunstan, SA Premier in the 70’s when launching the Adelaide Arts Festival, said that the aim of government is and should be the attainment of the ‘good life’ for its citizens – a truly civil society. I think Canberra embodies that ideal, and it should brand itself that way. The good life encompasses all the strong points of Canberra.’ he said.

 But while the current tourism marketing emphasis of Canberra is on the national galleries, monuments and wineries, he believes that much more tourism product can be tapped in the small towns ringing the national capital – like Bungendore, Braidwood, Gundaroo and Murrumbateman. However cross-border cooperation tourism product would be essential to deliver on David’s vision. Other regional champions like Ken Helm, who has put the local wine industry on the map, might link up to ensure that it happens. 

Finally, David asked the seemingly pertinent question ‘why do cities get planned, but never small towns?’ Interesting point. Could our readers shed more light?


‘Creativity just as prevalent in rural communities’ – US expert

October 18, 2007

Stu Rosenfeld wrote a great piece on creative enterprise clusters, appearing in the northern summer 2004 edition of the US Economic Development Agency magazine. Excerpt follows.

Many small cities and towns can and do cultivate creative and cultural environments. But location matters, and the most successful of these are near enough to recreational or historic areas to attract tourists, seasonal residents, and urban expatriates. 

More isolated rural communities have a much harder time building and benefiting from their cultural assets.

There is an expanded view of creativity, however, that allows even out-of-the-way towns to benefit. This is creativity as an economy’s engine (not frame) driving the design, packaging, marketing of goods and services to increase their competitiveness. Creativity becomes not a type of place or class of person, but the defining characteristic of a specific kind of enterprise.
§          Plumbing fixture giant Kohler Corporation (Wisconsin) has internationally-recognized artists and employees working in long-term residencies, leading to its successful ‘Artists Edition’ product line.
§          ACEnet, in Athens, Ohio, helps local food processing companies design imaginative labeling and tell stories about their products to create brand recognition and get higher prices.  

Creativity and talent are just as prevalent in rural communities as they are in cities, but are not as evident when measured solely by advanced degrees or patents. Creativity defines a type of cluster composed of companies and entrepreneurs that take their principal competitive advantage from a distinctive appearance, form, content, or sound that they embed or embody in their products or services. 

The Creative Enterprise Cluster involves people or companies:
• whose product is art or design e.g. potters, writers, jewelers, web page designers.• in which art or design provides the distinguishing feature e.g. designer home furnishings, CDs.
• defined by art or design e.g. ad agencies, landscapers and architects.
• that sell, supply, or contribute to art or design-dependent products or services e.g. galleries, craft and supply distributors, and arts councils, arts or craft schools and art foundries. 

To access the article, contact, or

UNESCO Creative Cities

October 17, 2007

Paquita Lamacraft (Milton Keynes, UK) has been in touch on some global development issues. She passes on some interesting news. 

Check out the UNESCO Creative Cities site – it’s set it up so cities with like strengths in particular areas – cuisine, design, literature, cinema, music, folk art, IT & media arts – can link to share opportunity, expertise and resources in an effort to counterbalance effects of globalisation. Some quotes on the website are: 
§          Culture is the quick way to connect because it is about identity and passion of interest and these know no colour, race or creed.
§          Unlike ‘Capital of Culture’ – which is a ‘one winner only’ competition – this is a designation that a city has to sustain by providing evidence of collaboration.

The goal is for the developed and developing worlds to connect in different ways. I hope many more cities join this link to share opportunities – cheers, Paquita

Money doesn’t buy results in innovation field, say US experts

October 16, 2007

A Booz Allen Hamilton study of the world’s 1,000 biggest R&D spenders suggests that non-monetary factors may be the most important drivers of a company’s return on innovation investment.

The major findings:
§          Money doesn’t buy results. There is no relationship between R&D spending and the key measures of economic or corporate success i.e. growth, enterprise profitability, and shareholder return.
§          Size matters. Scale leads to advantage. Larger organizations can spend a smaller proportion of revenue on R&D than can smaller organizations, and take no discernible performance hit.
§          You can be too rich or too thin. Spending more doesn’t necessarily help, but spending too little hurts.
§          There isn’t clarity on how much is enough. Instead of clustering into any coherent pattern, R&D budget levels vary substantially, even within industries. This suggests that no single approach to spending money on innovation development is universally recognized as the most effective strategy.
§          It’s the process, not the pocketbook. Superior results, in most cases, seem to be a function of the quality of an organization’s innovation process — the bets it makes and how it pursues them — rather than the magnitude of its innovation spending.
§          Collaboration is key. The link between spending and performance tends to be strongest in those areas most under the control of the R&D silo, such as product design, and weakest in those areas where cross-functional collaboration is most difficult, such as commercialization. 

Source: National Dialogue on Entrepreneurship.