For the past 5 weeks, we have been facilitating a cluster training for the CECIL Consortium together, with our partner Oxford Research. The members of CECIL consortium are Madrid Audio Cluster (Madrid), CAP Digital (Paris), Mazovia Cluster ICT (Warsaw), Irish Software Innovation Network (Dublin) and Danish Sound (Copenhagen). The CECIL consortium unites European clusters to drive cluster excellence and provide top professional support services in the digital cultural and creative industries (CCI) sector (ICT for CCI). The training was part of the Cluster Excellence Program that aims at strengthening cluster management to provide professional services to their cluster members.
We have facilitated many trainings before, but for the first time, the training program involved virtual sessions. The first and last weeks were classroom trainings and the middle 3 weeks involved one-on-one virtual sessions with each cluster to ensure these sessions were customized to their respective needs. Dave Feenan From Irish Software Innovation Network said, “Brilliant and timely training as we are in the midst of designing a new strategy and rebranding. The experiences and teaching embraced will definitely enhance the new Technology Ireland Innovation Forum's future framework.”
The training covered diverse and comprehensive topics that included cluster mapping and analysis, cluster economics, financial & cluster business models, stakeholder engagement & membership models, cluster communication and cluster internationalization. Throughout the classroom training, the sessions involved theory, practical and plenty of reflection and discussions from different clusters’ experience, thus enriching everyone’s learning. Additionally, the 5 weeks provided each participant adequate time to evaluate the practical application of the new knowledge and learning, and discuss the different aspects with their colleagues.
Veronica Buey Cieslak from Madrid Audio Cluster noted, “These five weeks, and especially the two weeks spent in Copenhagen, have helped me see things differently in my cluster, and, I am tempted to say, in my professional life as a whole. I now see possibilities where I once saw constraints. And it’s thanks to you (facilitators), not only for the knowledge and experience you have shared with us, but because you have had the intelligence to create a space of continuous dialogue and sharing that has allowed everyone in the room to learn from the others. In essence, you have shown a great ability to listen and to put yourselves in our shoes.”
While it was sad to say goodbye after 5 weeks of intense cluster learning, interacting and having fun together, at the end of the training, every participant felt confident to take their cluster to the next level armed with knowledge and the right tools for support.