Archive for the ‘Mexico’ Category

The power of music (BEST PRACTICE)

September 9, 2010

The Cockatoo Network has numerous members in Canada, and one of them is Barry Critchley, Canada’s leading journo on the corporate sector, bond issues and stuff that makes your head hurt.

Well Barry has forwarded an inspirational video based around a collaborative performance from musicians in New Orleans, Santa Monica, the Netherlands, South Africa and other places. It also sums up a lot of the work that the Cockatoo Network does!

The video is especially significant in that New Orleans used to have a worldwide reputation in jazz, and Cockatoo members (notably Paquita Lamacraft) were heavily involved in the creative arts clusters there.

Since the Cockatoo Network is currently linking clusters across the world as a means of generating trade and investment opportunities, anyone in the creative arts space should be talking to our man in Louisiana, David Dodd at In any case, tell your mates about his video clip!

Addendum – Russ Fletcher (Montana) wrote: Here’s the full story of this great video and what’s it’s fostered in the years since it was filmed.

Universities must engage in regions, says OECD

May 14, 2009

 A very interesting OECD report “Higher Education and Region’ has landed on our desk, written by Cockatoo member and ‘Oz-phile’ Patrick Dubarle, Paul Benneworth et al. It should be compulsory reading for every Vice-Chancellor, university academic and regional development practitioner in the civilized world. It draws on findings from 14 regions across 12 countries.

 The basic message is that higher education institutions (HEIs) must do more than educate and research – they must engage with others in their region, provide opportunities for lifelong learning, and contribute to the development of knowledge-intensive jobs.

 The report synthesizes the main developments, and provides scores of examples of best practice. Some that attracted our attention are:

  • The ‘Knowledge House’ in NE England – addresses the reluctance of SMEs to go anywhere near a university by providing a nifty, common entry point to the five universities in the region.
  • University Jaume I in Valencia – helping to transform the SME-based ceramic tile industry.
  • University of Sunderland – helping to make Nissan’s new plant the most productive in Europe.
  • Provincial University of Lapland – reaching out to remote communities.
  • Aalborg University (Denmark) building its education program around Problem Based Learning.
  • Monterrey International Knowledge City (MICK) in north east Mexico.

 The book can be purchased on-line at the OECD – ISBN 978-92-64-03414-3. Patrick Dubarle is now a freelance consultant, living at beautiful Meudon – contact him at

Rise in R&D tax breaks, says OECD

November 11, 2007

More OECD governments are giving companies tax breaks to drive innovation and cut their direct spending on R&D, while also encouraging public research organisations to commercialise their inventions, according to a new OECD report.

The key findings of the OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2007 are:
·          two thirds of OECD members offer businesses tax subsidies – up from 12 a decade ago.
·          Spain, China, Mexico and Portugal provide the largest tax subsidies.
·          Canada and the Netherlands continue to be more generous to small firms.
·          Emerging economies – Brazil, India, Singapore, South Africa – also offer a generous tax environment for businesses investing in R&D.
·          Sharp rise in globalisation of innovation e.g. international co-authorship of scientific publications.
·          Foreign ownership of domestic patents up 50% between early 1990s and early 2000s.
·          EU countries interact most with each other – less globalised than USA (interesting!).
·          Total gross expenditure on R&D grew 4.6% p.a. in real terms between 1995-2001, but slowed to 2.2% p.a. between 2001-2005.
·          In the USA, 4/5 of researchers work in business sector – in Japan it’s 2/3, and 1/2 in EU.
·          No. of business researchers grew rapidly in smaller OECD countries – NZ, Portugal, Spain, Iceland and Greece (10% p.a. in past decade). In China, 15% p.a.
·          USA has the most biotech firms (2,200), followed by Japan and France (800 each). But biotech patents has been falling – due to more restrictive criteria applied by patent offices, and end of the wave of patenting that followed the decoding of the human genome.
·          80% of Korean households have high-speed broadband access – also has highest surplus in ICT goods trade balance, followed by Finland, Hungary and Japan.

Contact us at for more information.

The semantics of clusters – lessons from Brighton UK

September 18, 2004

Paquita Lamacraft (Cockatoo member) addressed the Creative Industries Conference in Brighton UK in May 2004. She has filed her report.

English is a rich and diverse language. We have several words to denote gradations of nuance in description of a single thing, but other words can mean different things depending on the context. The word “Cluster” fits that category.  

Having worked on cluster development from the practitioner level for 12 years, the truth of this diversity was never more emphatic than at this conference – 300 people attended from 22 countries.

I presented a paper on the development of the Music Industry Strategy in New Orleans. It pulled no punches about the reality of grass roots development. Don’t start if you’re not prepared for the community of interest you are facilitating to take you places you may not have expected to go, and often at an uncomfortably fast pace. 

However what fascinated and at first frustrated me, was the use of the term “Cluster”. It was variously used in such contexts as “Brighton City is an example of a Creative Cluster” or “These buildings make a cluster” or “There are twenty businesses in the region that are in the same sector. This cluster has great potential.“

In this last example, discussions followed about what agencies have done to develop the “cluster” and then would come a query of how to engage the leaders of the relevant industry. Being a writer I get excited about semantics. I had to calm down and agree with myself that each of these uses was quite valid. It just illustrated what happens when a useful mechanism for development becomes a by-word and industry panacea. “Cluster development” has become trendy. Add “Creative” and it’s seriously popular.

What struck many attendees from outside Britain was the huge investment being made within Britain in this Creative Cluster Development focus, and the government funds being invested.  

The question that became a focus for several days was “Does a large government investment always require government-led development plans, or can large investments of government funds be more effectively used to enhance industry-led development?”

The Louisiana State experience suggests that it was possible – they augmented the funds of local Development Boards and fast tracked cluster-led initiatives that required government support, guidance, legislative effort or additional funding or influence.  Apart from this differing focus there were some fascinating presentations:
§          Creative London – wide range of programs with focus on Creative Hubs, Showcasing Support, Export, and local networks.
§          Amsterdam – theme of Creativity is doing well there, so why fix it? They are unashamedly who they are. You don’t need a business plan for the idea to get funding – you need to sell it. Emphasis is more on the individual enterprise or project than on a collaborative cluster development. If you live and work in Amsterdam then you are eligible. This attitude draws talent.
§          Austria discussed a network approach.
§          Port Moody in Canada relayed the movement from Mill Town to Arts Enclave.
§          Rural Montana spoke of their Cultural Corridors Cluster.
§          Kiwis spoke on how they’re using The Lord of the Rings to kickstart broader development.
§          Australia – Brecknock Consulting, Larry Quick & Associates – talked about Brisbane and Adelaide.
§          Taiwan has set aside large funding, and is standing at the diving board wondering which steps to climb to get the best result from their splash.
§          Mexico – a story of cultural destruction by Costco and the grass roots development from local artisans to preserve their heritage.
§          Japan – astute assessment of the measurement of success. 
For people who came to learn about creative clusters, the semantics clouded the question: How do you get industry around the table? One answer is someone putting their ear to the ground, finding the key issues, then getting industry to sit down and examine how, through collaboration, they can address the challenges to mutual benefit. Perhaps labeling things a “cluster” is detrimental to the end result.   

The conference outlined the greatest opportunity for all clusters with a strategic objective – export of talent, skills, product and service. There are real openings for inter-regional export in the UK where there is a whole range of export assistance and a great support infrastructure. Effective collaborative partnerships can tap into this. 


Whatever the ultimate translation of the word “cluster” it doesn’t alter the opportunity for international collaboration in this field.

Global Connect

January 23, 2004


International corporations, universities, and research institutions have a powerful new resource to link with emerging companies for partnership and collaboration.

University of California (San Diego) has just launched Global CONNECT to promote technology enterprises and regional innovation worldwide. It’s an international network supporting high technology and life science companies.

It provides entrepreneurs and startups with access to global capital providers, financial markets, research opportunities, corporate partners, and new customer channels. It’s specifically about sharing best practice, resources, improved assessments of innovation capacity, strengthening university/industry interaction. It is thus a natural bedmate for Clusters Asia Pacific. 

Associate VC at UCSD, Dr. Mary Walshok, said that Global CONNECT is the outcome of the new economy that demands regional support for technology commercialization. “San Diego has a long history of successful collaboration and innovation and we are delighted to be the hub for a series of conferences, workshops and exchanges that will link regions with entrepreneurial aspirations and capabilities worldwide,” said Dr. Walshok. 

Sun Microsystems is the founding industry sponsor. Founding members include the Institute for Information Industry (Taiwan), New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, Canadian Consulate General-Los Angeles, Saxony Economic Development Council (Germany), Australian Institute for Commercialization, State Government of Victoria (Australia), CICESE (Mexico), CIAD (Mexico), the Science Center (Philadelphia/USA), DigiPort Technopole Lille-Metropole (France), University of California-Riverside CONNECT (USA), Industrial Research Limited (New Zealand), INTEC (USA), Oklahoma State University Div. Agricultural Science and Natural Resources, South East England Development Agency, Queensland Department of State Development. 

Courtesy of Greg Horowitt at