Day 3 will feature interactive breakout sessions delivered by global experts sharing lessons learned, case studies, and stories across TCI 2018's four sub-themes at the Chelsea Hotel Toronto. These sessions are designed to maximize audience participation and interaction. There will also be opportunities for Global Networking and workshops for education and learning. 


Location: Chelsea Hotel Toronto
08:00-09:00 AM - Registration
09:00-10:00 AM - Session 1 (parallel sessions)
10:10-11:10 AM - Session 2 (parallel sessions) & Global Matchmaking Session 1
11:10-11:30 AM - Networking Break
11:30-12:30 PM - Session 3 (parallel sessions) & Global Matchmaking Session 2
12:30-01:30 PM - Lunch
01:30-02:30 PM - Session 4 (parallel sessions) & Global Matchmaking Session 3
02:40-03:40 PM - Session 5 (parallel sessions)
03:40-04:30 PM - Closing ceremony and send-off reception

Click below for a description of the general and academic track sessions, workshops, and meetings you can participate in:

General Track Sessions

Each general track session will fall under a sub-theme featuring 3-4 panelists and a moderator. The sessions will focus on sharing stories, case studies, and best practices and prioritize audience discussion.  All sessions are subject to change.

Designing collaborative networks for innovation

Scaling up within a cluster ecosystem

Regional economic development and inclusive prosperity

Mobilizing talent and diversity

Academic track, workshops, and global matchmaking

Academic track sessions


Global Matchmaking


Designing collaborative networks for innovation

Session A1: How do Cluster linkages feed into cluster growth? 10:10-11:10 AM

Bred for excellence: Growing your cluster with Smart Specialization Strategies (S3) and global linkages

How can we take small clusters from developing regions and nurture them to foster economic growth? What role do global linkages have in the success of nascent clusters? This session will explore the process by which clusters can be fostered using Smart Specialization Strategies (S3) and the role of cluster managers in encouraging cluster growth and success.


  • Joan Marti Estevez, ACCIO, Spain

  • Saskia Bonnefoi, The Cluster Competitiveness Group, United States

  • Reza Zadeh, European Foundation for Cluster Excellence , Spain

Moderator: Jennifer Miller, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Canada

Session A2: Designing collaborative networks to foster trust 10:10-11:10 AM

All hands on deck: Leveraging collective capability for collaborative impact

Universities have a key role, not just in bringing together particular expertise, but also in helping to foster and build collaborative networks. By doing this, they can corral diverse actors to work together to address a common challenge. This panel presents the collaborative journey of the University of British Columbia (Canada), KEDGE Business School (France), and Glasgow School of Art’s Innovation School (UK), sharing how collaboration of like-minded - but different - partners has helped progress collaboration in British Columbia’s wine cluster.


  • Roger Sugden, University of British Columbia, Canada

  • Michael Pierre Johnson, The Glasgow School of Art, United Kingdom

  • Jacques-Olivier Pesme, KEDGE Business School, France

Moderator: Madeline Smith, The Glasgow School of Art, United Kingdom

Session A3: Case studies of collaborative networks in fostering innovation 1:30-2:30 PM

Arm in arm: how collaborative networks translate into even stronger clusters

For what purpose should a cluster strive to build linkages and networks within and between clusters? This session will delve into the challenges and benefits of forging inter-cluster relationships through a proximity model and high-tech adoption to become not just regional players, but global leaders.


  • John Blankendaal, Brainport Industries, Netherlands

  • Gloria Ferrer, The Cluster Competitiveness Group INC, United States

  • Nii Addy, McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE), Canada

Moderator: Paula Kwan, City of Toronto, Canada

Session A4: Mapping as a tool 02:40-03:40 PM

Follow the yellow brick road: how cluster mapping lays the foundation for successful clusters

Understanding how your clusters work and who is involved is the first step in building a strong network. This session will explore the successes of mapping cluster networks, fostering intra-cluster relationships, and how these initiatives are the key in bringing supplies to global markets.


  • Saygin Can Oguz, Izmir Development Agency, Turkey

  • Amit Kapoor, The Competitiveness Institute, India

  • Vincent Dugré, Bivizio, Canada

Moderator: Christian Ketels, The Boston Consulting Group, Sweden

Session A5: Innovation networks & digitalization of SMEs 02:40-03:40 PM

Sink or swim: Supporting SMEs in the wake of the digital revolution

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is expected to remarkably change the appearance of manufacturing and industry of the world. We need to prepare companies – especially smaller and more traditional SMEs – for the impact of digital developments and opportunities to stay ahead of global competition. Four organizations will present their network approaches to support SMEs to remain successful in the future by better preparing them for the digital revolution.


  • Rasmus C. Beck, Business Metropole Ruhr, Germany

  • Tim Daniels, Brainport Industries, Netherlands

  • Christoph Matthias Reiss-Schmidt, Business Upper Austria, Austria

Moderator: Ifor Ffowcs-Williams, Cluster Navigators Ltd, New Zealand

Session A6: Case studies of building competitive collaborative networks 2:40-3:40 PM

All paths lead to prosperity: Collaborating to keep your cluster one step ahead

A method to ensure that your cluster stays ahead of the pack is to take pre-emptive steps in a constantly changing global environment. This session will focus on how three clusters used novel collaboration methods to innovate and generate solutions that otherwise would not have been possible.


  • Ricky Chan, Ontario Brain Institute, Canada

  • Cecilia Carrillo, CLELAC, Mexico

  • Adolfo Leon Moreno Gallego, Medellin Chamber of Commerce, Colombia

  • Nathalie da Silva, Steinbeis 2i GmbH, Germany

Moderator: Scott Savage, Deloitte, Canada

Scaling up within a cluster ecosystem

Session B1: Improving smart specialization strategies 09:00-10:00 AM

Smart smart specialization: Using S3 strategies the right way.

Smart specialization” has become the new buzzword among cluster circles. How has S3 lead to the development of successful large-scale clusters and the past? How can lessons learned be used today for regional and economic development? This panel will look at these ideas and how to implement them in real-world scenarios.


  • Bernhard Grieb, VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH / ClusterAgentur Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany

  • Mirjana Prica, Food Innovation Australia Ltd, Australia

  • David Fernandez Terreros, SPRI-Basque Country Business Development Agency, Spain

Moderator: Merete Daniel Nielsen, Cluster Excellence Denmark, Denmark

Session B2: Growing regional cluster ecosystems 11:30-12:30 PM

From regional to world dominance: strategies to make your cluster an international player

Innovation begins at the cluster stage and grows as intercluster ecosystems become stronger and more diverse. This session will go in depth into how the regions in Italy, Norway, and Austria have built strong reputations as global innovation hubs and the policies and strategies used to achieve this standing.


  • Andreas Winkler, IDM Südtirol, Italy

  • Werner Pamminger, Business Upper Austria, Austria

  • Anne Cathrine Morseth, Innovation Norway, Norway

  • Lars Albaek, Baltic Sea Cluster Development Centre, Denmark

Moderator: Manuel Montoya, Automotive Cluster of Nuevo Leon, Mexico

Session B3: Raising competitiveness through models of cluster organizations 01:30-02:30 PM

Play your cards right: Models of cluster organizations for competitiveness

If clusters are the heart of cluster ecosystems, then cluster organizations are the brains behind the operation. A solid organizational structure can be the difference between mediocre clusters and truly international structures. This session will look at what it takes to set up robust cluster organizations and offer first hand models of international best practices.  


  • Merete Daniel Nielsen, Cluster Excellence Denmark, Denmark

  • Cecilia Johansson, Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, Sweden

  • Mike Baker, Bluewater Wood Alliance, Canada

  • Nicolai Rottbøll, Quercus Group, Denmark

Moderator: Frédéric Miribel, Invest in Lyon, France

Regional economic development and inclusive prosperity

Session C1: Developing clusters 09:00-10:00 AM

 Et voilà! What are the secret ingredients needed to establish a cluster?

 What does it take to grow a cluster from the ground up? These panelists will share their clusters’ stories of how they formed under different circumstances but all with the same goal. The roles of government, businesses, and good cluster leadership to foster innovation and nurture collaboration for success will all be discussed during this session.


  • Tyler Rice, Margaux Resources Ltd, Canada

  • Martin Webber, J.E. Austin Associates, Inc., United States

  • Zeljko Erkapic, Klaster poljomehanizacije (Agricultural Equipment Cluster), Croatia

  • Juergen Wengel, BMBF - Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany

Moderator: Victor Severino, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Canada

Session C2: Regional cluster competitiveness strategies 10:10-11:10 AM

Winning strategies: Overcoming regions’ unique challenges

Every region faces unique hurdles that they must overcome to develop their clusters. From a lack of data to the encouragement of technological adoption to smart specialization, the panelists will give insight into their particular challenges and the strategies they used to overcome them.


  • Rob McMonagle, City of Toronto, Canada

  • Ruben Dario Cadavid Marin, Medellin Chamber of Commerce, Colombia

  • Sandy Baruah, Detroit Regional Chamber, United States

  • Malavika Kumaran, MaRS Discovery District, Canada

Moderator: Marco Llinas, Bogota Chamber of Commerce, Colombia

Session C3: Smart specialization for regional cluster development 11:30-12:30 PM

From A to Z: Evaluating outcomes of S3 strategies

This session will look at the end-to-end process in developing regional cluster policies through Smart Specialization Strategies in the Swedish context and ways to accurately evaluate outcomes of cluster strategies.


  • Ewa Andersson, Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, Sweden

  • Emily Wise, IEC AB and Lund University, Sweden

  • Mats Williams,, Sweden

Moderator: Örjan Sölvell, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden

Session C4: Firm growth and inclusive prosperity 11:30-12:30 PM

Money isn’t everything: When cluster growth makes everyone a winner

What if clusters can do more than just improve a region’s economic output? This session will look into ways clusters can and have changed societal outcomes for their participants; improving not just the economy but health, education, the environment and overall sustainability while having a positive effect on the local economy.


  • Rocio Prado, Universidad Popular Autonoma del Estado de Puebla AC, Mexico

  • Sofia Norberg and Moa Eklund, Vinnova, Sweden

  • Alberto Pezzi, ACCIO, Spain

Moderator: Guenwoo Ryu, TCI Network Asia Chapter, South Korea

Mobilizing talent and diversity

Session D1: Gender diversity and cluster competitiveness 09:00-10:00 AM

Untapped potential: Incorporating gender and diversity talent in cluster ecosystems

A lack of gender diversity results in unused resources and a loss of market potential within the innovation ecosystem cluster. A healthy gender and diversity mix at all levels (company, cluster, policy) is decisive for inducing innovation. This session will feature global perspectives and is open to all individuals who are interested in discussing how to incorporate gender and diversity within cluster strategies.

The panelists will contribute to discussions with the participants. Besides sharing knowledge on existing initiatives and approaches, the session also identifies the need for concrete actions from the cluster perspective, such as building awareness (including at the policy level), statistical data, exchanging best practices, building capacity, and mentoring SMEs, in order to put the theme on the cluster agenda.

Opening remarks: Ulla Engelmann, European Commission, Belgium


  • Nathalie da Silva, Steinbeis 2i GmbH, Germany

  • Tracy Scott-Rimington, Regional Development Australia - Brisbane, Australia

  • Anna Falth, UN Women, United States

  • Mirjana Prica, Managing Director of FIAL, Australia

  • Jonas Bergholm, Development Manager of the Region of Skane, Sweden

Moderator: Lucia Seel, Lucia Seel International Consulting, Austria

Session D2: Talent attraction 1:30-02:30 PM

I came, I saw, I stayed: The secret to talent attraction and retention

What methods are there for not only attracting top-level international talent but keeping them in the local economy? Our panelists will look into these questions based on their own experiences and compare these methods to successful international examples.


  • Marcus Andersson, Future Place Leadership, Sweden

  • Jagdish Yadav, City of Toronto, Canada

  • Melissa Pogue, MaRS Discovery District, Canada   

Moderator: Tracy Scott-Rimington, Regional Development Australia - Brisbane, Australia

Academic track

Session E1: Governance and tech for cluster effectiveness 10:10-11:10 AM

Up, up, and away: Building the best cluster structures

This session will look at what it takes to design a cluster network that can increase cluster competitiveness, reach critical mass, and ween rentier states from resource dependence. Methods on cluster evaluation best practices will also be discussed.


  • Alan Cheib, Federation of Industries of the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil

  • David Adkins, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom

  • Malida Mooken, University of British Columbia, Canada

Moderator: Damian Dupuy, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Canada

Session E2: Scaling collaborative networks for cluster growth in Canada 11:30-12:30 PM

Rags to riches: Scaling clusters across Canada

Canada’s clusters have been given new life under the federal Innovation Supercluster Initiative. With new funding and renewed interest, how can these superclusters scale up to become international centres of innovation?


  • David Wolfe, University of Toronto, Canada

  • Peter Phillips, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

  • Darius Ornston, University of Toronto, Canada

  • Ray Gosine, Memorial University/University of Toronto, Canada

Moderator: James Wilson, Orkestra-Basque Institute of Competitiveness, Spain

Session E3: Structures of collaborative networks 01:30-02:30 PM

Under the microscope: Building strong cluster governance structures from the ground up

Clusters are only as strong as their weakest link which is why structural organization is just as important (if not more so!) than the firms that make it up. This session will look at successful applications of technology and governance structures used to revitalize clusters.


  • Luz Mercedes Mejia Lopez, Medellin Chamber of Commerce, Colombia

  • Jacques Bersier, HES-SO//FR Haute école d'ingénierie et d'architecture Fribourg, Switzerland

  • Bryndis Einarsdottir, University of Monaco, Iceland

Moderator: Harald Bathelt, University of Toronto, Canada

Session E4: Measuring and mapping clusters 02:40-03:40 PM

The best of everything: A comprehensive session that covers all subthemes!

This session will focus on specific regional measurements to increase competitiveness in clusters across the four sub-themes of the conference (scaling up within a cluster ecosystem, regional economic development and inclusive prosperity, mobilizing talent, and designing collaborative networks for innovation).


  • Teresa Verduzco-Garza, University of Monterrey, Mexico

  • Margaret Dalziel, University of Waterloo, Canada

  • John Hobbs, Cork Institute of Technology, Ireland

Moderator: Rob McMonagle, City of Toronto, Canada


Capacity enhancement for cluster support organisations 10:10-11:10 AM

What kind of capabilities do Business Support Organizations (BSO) need to promote clusters?

For many BSOs cluster development is an opportunity to expand their service offer to their members and other local enterprises. Based on the experience in several Caribbean countries, a participatory methodology to identify success factors and performance indicators will be presented and experienced.

 Analyzing cluster support ecosystems

Cluster promotion is usually not done by one organization alone. There are different forms of stakeholder mappings to identify relevant partners to develop a Cluster Ecosystem. Using the example of Caribbean economies we will show participatory mappings "on the floor" and also formal mappings like Social Network Analysis. These visualizations help to understand and shape relationships and flows between firms, organizations and other entities in financial, implementation and learning networks.

The audience will receive hands on experience how local organizations can manage and promote clusters, especially in small nations and regions.


  • Martin Dellavedova, SISTME Monitoring & Evaluation, Argentina

  • Ulrich Harmes-Liedtke, Mesopartner, Argentina

Clusters and internationalization 11:30-12:30 PM

Going global: The role of clusters

In a very wide sense, a cornerstone of many clustering initiatives is internationalization. Encouraging the growth of SMEs by facilitating international trade is necessary for a cluster to generate large firms. It is only then that benefits such as robust employment and wages will begin to emerge. There are, however, challenges both for firms and clusters on the path of scaling up that must first be overcome. This interactive workshop will explore the different aspects of internationalization and the difficulties faced on this important journey.

Facilitator: Ifor Ffowcs-Williams, Cluster Navigators Ltd, New Zealand

Evidencing the benefits of cluster programmes – towards a framework of effects 01:30-03:40 PM

Since the 1990s, regions and countries around the world have employed cluster-based programmes as part of their industrial, innovation and regional development policies. Cluster-based policies are expected to deliver not only strengthened knowledge sharing and collaboration resulting in new products, processes and business models for firms, but also more efficient and competitive regional innovation systems. 

Although the use of cluster-based policies is widespread, there are no recognized norms for evaluation of cluster policy. Many evaluation approaches focus on firm-level benefits and fail to capture the added value of collaboration that is so fundamental to the cluster concept which limits understanding or acknowledgement of the benefits they might yield. 

This workshop will introduce cluster programme impact analyses that have already been used in several countries. This will enable participants to identify direct effects on collaborative dynamics and innovation, as well as indirect effects on firm-level economic performance, regional competitiveness, and broader system-level impacts.


  • James Wilson, Orkestra-Basque Institute of Competitiveness, Spain

  • Emily Wise, IEC AB and Lund University, Sweden

  • Madeline Smith, The Innovation School at the Glasgow School of Art, United Kingdom

Meeting: Smart digital Ecosystems through Clusters 08:00-10:00 AM

This is the TCI Learning Group Digitization "Smart digital Ecosystems through Clusters" second meeting. There are two objectives of the Learning Group:

  • Create evidence-based awareness-raising on the issue as well as identify digitization initiatives, strategies and policies that can be evaluated and benchmarked to increase our mutual knowledge on the topic.

  • Share best practices and ideas on digitization issues to maximise its potential in cluster context and to promote collaboration between the associates to improve their digitization strategies trough the involvement of clusters and regional innovation ecosystem.

If you are a TCI Network member looking to be part of this group, join Vincent Dugré, Bivizio and Antonio Novo, Spanish Federation of Clusters at this meeting.

Global Matchmaking

We are offering 1-1 meetings between individuals interested in meeting someone in the same cluster in another region or from another cluster. This is an opportunity to connect, develop partnerships and relationships to help meet your business objectives.

There are 3 one-hour sessions:

  • Session 1 - 10:10-11:10 AM

  • Session 2 - 11:30-12:30 PM

  • Session 3 - 01:30-02:30 PM

Click here to go to the Global Matchmaking page.