Future Collaboration for the Marine Sector in Devon – Pulling Together

McKinley, E. Future Collaboration for the Marine Sector in Devon – Pulling Together. Project Report. University of Chichester.

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The following report highlights the main findings from a maritime cluster facilitation workshop run by the University of Chichester at the Devon Pulling Together event held in February 2012. The event was held in collaboration with Devon County Council, as part of the Interreg IV A Channel Arc Manche Integrated Strategy (CAMIS) project.
The primary objective of the Pulling Together event was to encourage collaboration within the maritime sector in Devon, with the University of Chichester working to evaluate the potential for a maritime cluster in the region. The event followed on from the University’s earlier research into how the development of business clusters could benefit the maritime sector.
Delegates were introduced to the benefits of clustering and knowledge exchange activities for the Devon maritime sector and were asked to consider three questions in preparation for the workshop session. Analysis of the answers indicated support for a South West regional maritime cluster, encouraging better relationships with neighbouring counties rather than limiting a cluster to Devon. Given this, four main areas of interest were identified and used to direct the workshop sessions. The workshop evaluated these in the context of success, required actions, and consideration of the potential barriers and their solutions.
Analysis of the workshop discussions identified a range of key findings:
 The overarching theme identified throughout the workshop was that of communication. The importance of effective communication both within and about a South West maritime cluster was viewed as being integral to its success.
 In order for a maritime cluster to be successful an effective leader would need to be identified.
 A South West Maritime cluster would be an opportunity for maritime industries in the region to be represented nationally.
 It was observed that there was a limited sense of awareness and understanding of the maritime sector in the region, with delegates expressing support for the development of a South West maritime directory.
 It was felt that coupled with the development of a directory, a regional maritime cluster could serve to promote the South West as a brand, acting as a representation of quality standards.
In addition to suggestions for the development of a successful cluster in the region, delegates were asked to discuss potential challenges and their solutions. The most common barrier to a cluster was the perception that working closely with other businesses could result in a loss in competitive advantage. The successful development of a cluster could address this, and the lack of trust between businesses, by encouraging collaboration, providing networking opportunities and promoting the benefits of working within a cluster.
Following the event, analysis of the workshop session allowed a number of recommendations and action points to be proposed. These include the development of a South West maritime directory, identification of an effective cluster leader, improved communication within and about the sector, determination of the geographical scope of the cluster and evaluation of wider collaboration opportunities. In order to achieve these, there are a number of proposed action points that Devon County Council should consider:
 Firstly, rather than proposing a complete reinvention of a maritime cluster in the region, it is recommended that existing relationships and infrastructure (e.g. BMF, TYHA, DCC) be used more effectively to encourage the development of a successful maritime cluster;
 It is also recommended that a comprehensive directory of the maritime industries in the South West region be developed. It may be possible for Devon County Council to utilise the existing CAMIS database;
 As Devon County Council recognise the benefit of a maritime cluster for the region, it is possible that they could work with regional stakeholders to identify an appropriate leader for the cluster;
 Given the importance attributed to effective communication throughout the workshops, it is also proposed that Devon County Council work to develop innovative and inclusive methods of communicating with cluster members.
 Finally, it is proposed that Devon County Council should develop an action plan that will encourage the development of a cluster in the region and promotion of the South West regional brand, addressing the issues identified throughout the workshop.
The University of Chichester are working in conjunction with Devon County Council to generate an action plan that will facilitate the development of a maritime cluster for the South West region.

Item Type: Monographs (Project Report)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Academic Areas > Business School
Depositing User: Emma McKinley
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2016 13:54
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2016 13:54
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/1742

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