Building a food cluster in Oregon

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Food processors in Oregon are starting to form a cluster, but I'm not sure they're going about it in the right way. One of their first steps: Find $279,000 for a study of the cluster. Read more.

First of all, that's a lot of money for any kind of study. Second, it's not clear to me that studies are the way to start. Clusters are networks, and to form networks you first need to identify nodes and then you need to build links. Often, people don't know all the potential nodes. So, for example, in Northeast Ohio, we are spending a lot of time identifying the potential participants in different networks, like clean energy. To identify the nodes, we create events in which people can self-select to become part of a network.

We are then using social network software to understand the linkages. To surface the network and build the linkages, we move toward action steps quickly. Building trust and connections, takes action, not words.

posted by Ed Morrison |

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