Archive for the ‘Industry networks’ Category

Sunrise Trade Network – project examples

March 4, 2011

In the last year, SUNRISE member organisations have forwarded numerous examples of projects whose viability and success would be dramatically improved by collaborative initiatives under the Sunrise Program.

What each of these project proposals need to progress them is an engagement mechanism – and this is what SUNRISE offers.

Some project examples are provided below.

Pork, Timber & Clothing – Vietnam, Denmark, Japan, Korea, USA, Canada, Australia, France, Sweden etc.

As part of a recent World Bank aid project in Quang Nam province, consultants (some of whom are Sunrise members) visited a village in the mountains west of Da Nang – an indigenous hill tribe of some 2,000 whose livelihood depends on cassava, maize and rice. Their sunny disposition belies grinding poverty.

The Sunrise Trade Network sees the following opportunities:


The village is extremely keen to establish a garment manufacturing operation to create wealth and jobs and to build community pride.

The way forward might be for a local council in say Japan or Korea to donate 10 sewing machines to the village (cost $US5,000). Road signage would recognize this gesture, and it might be part of a twinning arrangement between the village and the local council. This would provide an angle to attract tourists from Japan/Korea i.e. for a factory tour and luncheon. The Quang Nam provincial government would provide the training to ensure the success of the enterprise.

The friendship and mutual respect thus created could conceivably spin-off in the longer-term into joint venture trade opportunities for both Vietnam and the donor countries.


This example might involve the Danish Pork Association (or its equivalents in Canada or the USA) exporting 30-40 breeder pigs.

The reason these nations are selected is because they are world leaders in pork production technology and marketing. If it was Danske Slagterier (Danish Bacon & Meat Council), the costs including freight of around $US20,000 might be met 50-50 by the World Bank and the Danish Government. A technical expert from Denmark – perhaps an expat Vietnamese – might be assigned for a year as part of the aid project.

This initial aid project might conceivably build a strong bond between Vietnam and Denmark and underpin a range of export and investment deals in pork, dairy, beef, poultry etc.


The critical need is for developing nations to add value to their forestry resource, while protecting their natural environment. The export of technology from nations with strong forestry credentials (US, Canada, Sweden, Australia etc.) could stimulate trade joint ventures right through the supply chain. The shipment of a disused saw mill might also be a wonderful gesture.

Creative Arts – NZ, USA, Canada, Australia, Europe, Singapore etc.

Both Wellington and Sydney have highly-regarded creative arts industries. Their SMEs have a track record in international collaboration and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) recently won the rights from the national government to be the nation’s Creative Industry Innovation Centre. Both cities are keen to build alliances with companies in other locations.

For example, Wellington has a champion in director Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings film trilogy) and he is happy to leverage his relationships with Hollywood. An example is AnimFX, a trade show hosted in NZ that attracts key people from the US digital animation industry.

The opportunity

The Sunrise Trade Network wants to identify emerging ICT and film clusters in north America, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Asia that want to explore an international collaboration platform.

Tulips – Holland, NZ etc.

A decade ago, flower growers in New Zealand reached out to the Holland Tulip Growers Association with a proposal to grow tulips under the Holland Tulip brand during their summer months. As NZ is in the southern hemisphere, tulips can be grown during the northern winter, saving Holland tulip growers the expense of insulating and heating greenhouses. Also, as NZ is close to high-growth Asian markets, substantial shipping cost and time savings for the perishable flowers are a powerful inducement to collaborate. Many tulips worldwide now carry the Holland Tulip brand, but grown in NZ. Holland’s tulip industry receives substantial licensing revenues.

The opportunity

The Sunrise Trade Network is looking to apply more counter-seasonal models between the northern and southern hemispheres e.g. other areas of horticulture, horse-breeding.

Dietary Fibre and Pearls – Japan, Australia, Pacific Islands

The Okinawa – Far North Queensland sister region initiative is going great guns. It was launched by their respective business groups to build relationships and trust, leading to new business opportunities for mutual benefit. While business leads the way, governments work with the non-profits to clear red tape on both sides so initiatives can move quickly. Two examples:

 Joint venture to produce dietary fibre from sugar waste. Pilot factory for proof of concept in Mossman successful. New factory in Okinawa has since commenced, and a second production facility is to be located in North Queensland.
 Joint venture pearl farming, Torres Strait, Australia. Japanese parties have completed a business plan. Further negotiations and site visits have been held and the parties are confident the venture will proceed because the Okinawa company has ready markets.

The opportunity

The Sunrise Trade Network sees exciting prospects for an international supply chain that includes the US and Pacific nations in the above two industries. The first step is to identify industry associations in the Asia Pacific that are interested in joint venture opportunities. Other projects would then progress.

Please contact us for more information at


Scientific Hubs

November 19, 2010

AUSTRALIA needs to change the way it invests in science and develop at least five national scientific hubs, each with more than 10,000 researchers, says the chief executive of the CSIRO, Megan Clark.

”Major shifts in how we do science and how we invest nationally are required if we are to remain globally relevant and attract the best and brightest to Australia,” said Dr Clark, who gave the 2010 Lowy lecture at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney on 19 November.

She said Sydney had an opportunity to develop a national precinct in information communication, and Melbourne could build on its strengths to develop one precinct in human life sciences and another in material sciences.

These ”powerhouses of innovation”, bringing together the best researchers from universities and science institutes, would require annual investments of more than $1 billion each and appropriate computing infrastructure. At present, science funding is mainly based on the excellence of individual researchers.

But Australia’s main challenges – climate change, water management and prevention of chronic disease – require multidisciplinary teams, Dr Clark said.

Scientists not only need to understand fundamental aspects of a problem, such as information about temperature, rainfall, wind patterns, ocean currents and ocean acidity, when considering climate change, they also need to understand how all these factors interconnect.

Dr Clark identified Perth as the logical site for a precinct in resource geosciences and space. Canberra could build on its expertise in plant and ecosystem science, and Brisbane on its strengths in environmental science and ecology. ”Adelaide is emerging as a centre for preventative health and nutrition,” she said.

On a world scale, the big problem will be how to do more with less as the population increases.
”Globally we face the challenges of securing our food, water and energy needs in a world of finite resources,” said Dr Clark, whose lecture is entitled Science and Australia’s Place in the World.

She said these challenges would create opportunities for Australia, as a result of its expertise in advanced minerals and energy projects, and in plant and animal science.

Australia leads the world in understanding the genetics of wheat and contributed to the recent completion of the genetic sequence of cattle.

This country also has strengths in astronomy and space science, which could lead to more advances in communication, data handling and computing, particularly if Australia wins the bid to host the gigantic Square Kilometre Array radiotelescope in Western Australia.

In other areas, such as some green technologies and water and environmental services, however, Australia has no special advantages, she said.

The nation would have to compete fiercely, particularly when low-income markets in China and India are driving ”reverse innovation”, with products such as Tata’s $2000 car and cheap, high-quality medical services.

The Cockatoo Network has been arguing for some time about the need for a concerted spatial research framework built around the competitive advantage of regions and stronger collaboration via clustering and networking techniques. We are currently working with David Dodd (DADCONSULT) and other US agencies to link clusters as a means of driving hubs and clusters as alluded to by Dr. Clark.

If you would like more information on how your region can participate, please contact us at

Source: SMH and Cockatoo resources.

The FIVE discovery skills (BEST PRACTICE)

May 9, 2010


A major new study involving 3,500 executives has highlighted the key skills that innovative and creative entrepreneurs need to develop. The research into disruptive innovation by INSEAD professor Hal Gregersen, Jeffrey Dyer (Brigham Young) and Clayton Christensen (Harvard) outlines five ‘discovery’ skills.

1. Associating – creative entrepreneurs ‘connect the dots’ to make unexpected connections. They combine pieces of what may seem disparate pieces of information until “surprise – you’ve got this innovative new idea.” Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, was interested in calligraphy and this eventually led to his company producing user-friendly, graphics-based Macs.

2. Observing – some of the most innovative entrepreneurs are “intense observers.” Scott Cook, the founder of Intuit, got the idea for Quicken software by watching really carefully in terms of how his wife was very frustrated doing their finances.

3. Experimenting – when Jeff Bezos, founder of internet retailer Amazon, was growing up, he used to spend time on his grandfather’s farm in the summer. When machinery broke down, grandfather would try to fix it himself, with some help from Jeff. They would “experiment, trying this and that, until it would finally work again.” If the animals on the farm got sick, his grandparents wouldn’t call the vet, but rather experiment and try to fix the problem themselves. So Jeff grew up with that kind of attitude and mindset. 

4. Questioning – We can be observing the world or experimenting, “but if I have no questions in my mind, I’m pretty unlikely to get any observations or insights.” Gregersen says. “And this kind of questioning attitude and mentality is just rampant in these folks.”

5. Networking – Innovators are intentional about finding diverse people who are just the opposites of who they are, that they talk to, to get ideas that seriously challenge their own. Creative and innovative entrepreneurs look for people who are “completely different in terms of perspective” and regularly discuss ideas and options with them “to get divergent viewpoints.”

The five skills, Gregersen says, are ‘a habit, a practice, a way of life’ for innovators. “We each have unique, fixed physical DNA, but in terms of creativity, we each have a unique set of learnable skills that we rely on in order to get to the ideas that will give us some insight.”


US Government gets ready for rural clusters

January 12, 2010

Mark Muro has written a very useful piece. His views broadly supported by other analysts.

Mark Muro, Policy Director, Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program

view bio

With a House-Senate “conference” committee soon to decide to create a truly valuable regional industry clusters initiative, some rurally oriented conferees fear that cluster strategies pertain exclusively to urban development. Others fret that cluster initiatives point exclusively toward high technology growth. However, the sort of cluster program being entertained by the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) conference would be completely agnostic about geography and equally friendly to all sectors, so long as they promised growth.

It’s true that cluster discussions – with their focus on spatial concentrations of related industry activity – have a cosmopolitan, high-tech feel. Clusters have naturally been equated with cities. Likewise, the concept’s original author, Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, has frequently discussed the powerful dynamism of such big-metro innovation communities as Boston’s biotech cluster, Hollywood’s movie cluster, New York’s finance center, and Milan’s fashion concentration.

But the cluster concept has strong rural and low-tech groundings. Porter dwelt on the cluster structure of northern California’s wine cluster, populated by hundreds of wineries, thousands of independent grape growers, and myriad suppliers of grape stock, manufacturers of irrigation and harvesting equipment, producers of barrels, designers of bottle labels, and specialist marketers as well as the viticulture program of the University of California. Likewise, rurally oriented scholars like Stuart Rosenfeld have for more than two decades been producing authoritative reports on rural industry clusters, ranging from auto manufacturing in Northern Alabama to artisan cheesemaking in Vermont, log home production in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, and wind energy in the Texas Panhandle. And economists at the Department of Agriculture (USDA) have conducted research suggesting that rural manufacturing clusters raise workers’ earnings substantially. In this regard, the vision of heightened economic collaboration and cooperation within distinct lines of work and industry has long appealed to rural thinkers.

The strongest U.S. policy precursor is the Rural Collaborative Investment Program, (via the USDA) which has been allocated $135 million and provides a model of how a federal clusters promotion program could be set up. USDA would set up a new rural investment board and a national institute on rural competitiveness, provide technical assistance, and make grants to regional investment boards to develop smart, regionally focused rural investment strategies, cross-sector collaboration, public-private partnerships, interim financing or seed capital, emphasis on collaborative innovation and entrepreneurship.  Source: The New Republic


Dutch knowledge networks

January 12, 2010

May be this dissertation might be of interest for your readers. regards, Johan Visser (Netherlands)

Title: The structure and dynamics of knowledge networks: a proximity approach
Author: Wal, L.J. ter
Year: 2009
Publisher: Utrecht University
Document type: Dissertation


Through the application of social network analysis this dissertation provides an in-depth study on the structure and dynamics of knowledge networks. It analyses how geographical, social and cognitive proximity can explain the evolution of knowledge networks. The effect of geographical proximity on network formation is not constant over time. Longitudinal analysis of the collaboration network among German biotech inventors shows that geographical proximity is most relevant for network formation for young emerging industries where knowledge is predominantly tacit.

In many other contexts, geographical proximity between firms does not result in the formation of local knowledge networks. In particular, social proximity is more important for local knowledge networks to emerge. The research demonstrates that a lack of social proximity might prevent the emergence of networks of local collective learning in clusters despite geographical proximity.


Newfie in the frame

August 20, 2009

 Hi Rod,

For my sins I’m now the ANZRSAI Council member for South Australia and editor of the Newsletter.

My collaboration project is for a network of regional practitioners and researchers for ANZRSAI in SA which chews the fat 4-5 times a year and develops projects.

I’m hoping to engage EDA, local government, the RDAs, consultants and State government. We’ve just had an excellent seminar from Professor Rob Greenwood (Harris Centre at Memorial University Newfoundland who spoke to us courtesy of Professor Neil Otway at University of SA’s Centre for Regional Engagement.

 A possible project which arises from my network-building talks is a state-wide community of practice for practitioners to build local skills in regional development.  I’ve got some ideas on how this might work based on my own experience in facilitating best practice conversations across industry. Just in case my infallible instincts have for some reason failed, can you point me to examples elsewhere? (Can u help Tony?)

 Your INSEAD notes on networks are important for building and sustaining a strong and durable local constituency for regional development capable of winning battles with the powers in Canberra and other capitals. However, important to remember

1. that the opportunities which strong local networks must convert into growth flow through weak linkages to the external world, and

2. the strong local network also has the capacity to resist change and destroy local networks of change-makers. It’s all in the local governance.

 Kind regards, Tony O’Malley OAM

Outlook Management, Henley Beach, SA 5022



Networking – the pros and cons

July 16, 2009

Networking is not all that it’s cracked up to be – in fact it can even be downright harmful, says Martin Gargiulo, associate professor of organisational behaviour at INSEAD

“If your network is composed of people like you, people who all talk to each other – the literature calls it a “dense” network – you’re pretty sure you understand what’s going on in the rest of the organisation, but in fact you’re recycling the same information … The illusion of multiple views confirms your own views.

But, at some point, you find to your surprise that what you thought was obvious to everybody, is only obvious to you and the people you talk to.”

 Strong versus weak ties: One key to making networking work for you, according to Gargiulo, is to differentiate between what network scholars call “strong ties” and “weak ties”. “I like to use the metaphor that networks are like electrical wires. The thicker the wire, the more power it carries – the more you can help people, the more people will be willing to invest time and energy in helping you out.”

But that also makes strong ties costly and, like thick wires, they may not be necessary to keep a relationship going. Gargiulo cautions against having a wide network because maintaining all those relationships detract from the ones that truly matter. He recommends distilling one’s network to a core group of “between 20 and 30 …and sometimes even smaller; 15 or 20” depending on how sociable the person is. These people may change over time, but there’s always a core network that matters, and you should nurture those ties.

Contributed by INSEAD, Paris


ICT business networks – getting people connected

August 26, 2008



Dear Cockatoo – I have now completed my PhD and I think that it could be interesting for your newsletter and blog.

The aim of my research was to contribute to the understanding of how ICT can facilitate knowledge sharing and innovation in regional areas.


My primary goal was to understand the value that ICT-based business networks can provide in regional areas. In pursuing this it was important to see the issues through the eyes of  the business owners, and to incorporate the views of others in the regions.


My focus has been Australia, not just because that is where I live but, as an isolated continent, Australia has much to gain from strong locally-based regions with global access to ideas and stimulation. Because Australia provides a good example of the issues, I hope that the conclusions of this research will be useful to people in other countries.


The main contributions to knowledge from my research were:


– new insights on the business practices of regional SMEs and the concepts of Community of Enterprise (CoE) and  Virtual Community of Enterprise (VCoE) to capture the special nature of business networks in those regions and the focus of their knowledge sharing. This concept extends the (Virtual Community of Practice (VCoP) concept on which it is based, but distinguishes the focus of online knowledge-sharing in the two contexts, resulting in greater conceptual clarity. The VCoE concept is particularly relevant to business networks in multi-industry contexts.


– new perspectives on how value can be derived from knowledge-sharing in SME-based networks in regions. It showed that social capital is an essential pre-requisite for accessing the value of intellectual capital. This has significant implications for the ways that CoEs and VCoEs are developed and managed. It underlines the significance of face to face interaction. The findings strongly reinforced the importance of trust (both institutional and knowledge-based) which is a central dimension of social capital.


– the key elements that need to be addressed when establishing and maintaining VCoEs e.g. the mix of applications and the management of the networks and their online activities. 


Prior understanding of a region’s cultural context is essential for developing online initiatives in order to stimulate value through knowledge sharing. The participating SME owners were reluctant to share specific business knowledge and were particularly averse to doing so online – thus many value opportunities are lost both for SMEs and their regions. This research highlighted the reasons behind that reluctance.


Regards, Cecily Mason, Lecturer, School of Management & Marketing, Deakin University, Geelong


(This is VERY timely – and we agree wholeheartedly about the need for trust and F2F agendas.
We too are interested in knowing what works best in getting connectivity. e.g. dinner functions, network advisers, personality matching, mentoring etc. – Editor)



The Age of Collaboration

April 11, 2008


In the 1970s, trade and transport issues were a key focus for government policy in the OECD area.  On the trade front, the driver was the need for OECD nations to emulate Japan’s export push. On the transport front, many OECD nations had a lot of overhang on their freight and passenger transport systems. Industry policy was in its infancy.


In the 1980s, the emphasis moved to ‘positive adjustment policies’. This essentially involved the replacement of negative measures (import tariffs, import quota, subsidies) with so-called positive measures (R&D incentives, export facilitation). This decade also saw a phalanx of analysts studying ‘just in time’ inventory models, science parks, productivity determinants and management-employee relationships. The Swedish model was in vogue in numerous countries, together with accords and agreements, and the integration of planning systems.


In the 1990s, globalisation issues and supply chains came to the fore. The term came to be described as activities within organisations as seen by the customer – looking back from the end-user on the chain. Academics were keen to complicate things – hence demand chains and value chains became part of the debate.


In this decade, supply chains and value chains are still central to the economic debate. Value chains, by the way, focus on all the things that add value, including inter-organisational activities and knowledge exchange.


As the decade has progressed, the exploitation of information has been an increasingly important theme – a key part of this have been efforts to capture synergy between economic and social actors. Concerns about missing the globalisation boat and competing with China and India has also fed this emphasis on access to information. But almost everyone has access to information these days – success is increasingly determined by how and with whom you use this infomation.


We are thus moving, at least in the economic development context, into the Age of Collaboration. The OECD and the UN agencies have been at the forefront of explaining the benefits of collaboration. The buzz words now are Free Trade Agreements, joint ventures, networks and clusters and collaborative programs.



Talk about collaboration is of course anathema to some – they have been brought up on cut-throat competition, going it alone,  and the ‘greed is good’ mantra. 


For further reading on the principles of collaboration, you might visit and – or read other articles on our blog.




Spilling the beans…says Stu Rosenfeld

March 5, 2008

Dr. Stuart Rosenfeld, of RTS Inc. in the USA, is the author of one of the best, most readable book on clusters – ‘Industrial-strength strategies: regional clusters and public policy’. There may still be copies available.

Stuart has published more than 100 books and articles, on topics such as:
·        Competitive manufacturing: new strategies for regional development.
·        Smart firms in small towns.
·        Exploring the potential for manufacturing networks
·       Overachievers – business clusters that work
·        Skills for an Information Economy. 

Stuart Rosenfeld argues that the most common advantage in locational decisions is access to intelligence – companies can source inputs from anywhere, but they need intelligence. Governments don’t give much attention to clusters in the context of labour markets, but they should because the development of clusters addresses all aspects of an industry.

The dynamics of clusters can be appreciated in terms of:

·          the flow of information – better knowledge of markets, labour markets, technology.
Clusters lead to people ‘spilling the beans’ (a brilliant insight!)
·          ideas – the diffusion of innovation.
·          people – especially increased experience. ‘People meet in taverns’.
·          goods – the strengthening of value chains.
·          services – expanded expertise.
·          capital – support for plant modernisation and start-ups. 

The mapping of information and skills can be a valuable way of identifying the source of ideas, learning of opportunities, finding how to get assistance to address problems, and generally knowing who to call. 

Contact Stuart at