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Clusters literature review


Scottish Enterprise (SE) commissioned EKOS to undertake a review of the literature SE holds on the subject of clusters. The aim was to help to identify areas where SE’s cluster evaluation methodology could be improved.


The report takes the form of a literature review which compares cluster evaluation methodologies currently practised by SE with those discussed in the literature on the subject.


The authors drew the following conclusions: a clear definition that is applied consistently is more important than an exact definition; indicators should capture the international perspective of the cluster; cause and effect are key to understanding the difference an intervention makes to clusters; tracking overall cluster performance as well as assessing the impact of a specific cluster intervention are both necessary.


The following recommendations were made: clear and focused objectives should be set for cluster programmes; strategies should not become ‘indicator-led’; a range of quantitative and qualitative measures should be used to evaluate the performance of clusters; the timing of monitoring and evaluation are important, with the former recommended on a more regular basis and the latter on a periodic basis; stakeholders should be involved in the evaluation process; interventions should take account of the stage in the cluster’s lifecycle; and demonstrating the benefits of partnerships to cluster participants should be a key feature of the evaluation process.

Author EKOS Limited
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Sector-level support
  • Innovation
    Business innovation, Innovation system