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. 

Full list of panelists and moderators will be released in Summer 2018. In the meantime, see a list of the breakout sessions that you can participate in. 

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. 

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?

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.

Session A2: Case studies of building competitive collaborative networks

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.

Session A3: Case studies of collaborative networks in fostering innovation

Arm in arm: how high-tech 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 high-tech, inter-cluster relationships to become not just regional players, but global leaders.

Session A4: Mapping as a Tool

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.

Session A5: Innovation networks & digitalization of SMEs

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.

Session A6: Designing Collaborative Networks to Foster Trust

All hands on deck: Leveraging collective capability for collaborative impact

Universities have a key role, not just in bringing particular expertise, but also in helping to foster and build collaborative networks, corralling 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 our collaboration of like-minded but different partners has helped progress collaboration in British Columbia’s wine cluster.

Scaling up within a cluster ecosystem

Session B1: Growing regional cluster ecosystems

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.

Session B2: Diagnosing Strengths

The ties that bind us: The past, present, and future of clusters and its implications for today’s economy

Clusters develop over time and play to regional economic strengths and yet are increasingly incorporating cutting edge technology. This session will explore how clusters have evolved, the role of technology in competitiveness, and how cluster linkages foster stronger economies.

Session B3: Incubators & Accelerators for Scaling Up

Jumping over the innovation valley of death: Using collaborative university networks and incubators to scale cluster growth

The panelists will explore how incubators and accelerators not only belong in the cluster discussion but are the key role to growing start-ups and diffusing knowledge between clusters.

Session B4: Raising competitiveness through models of cluster organizations

Play your cards right: Models of cluster organizations for competitiveness

Summary: 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 models of international best practices.  

Regional economic development and inclusive prosperity

Session C1: Closing the skills gap for inclusive prosperity

Back to the future: Re-investing in human capital in a digital world

Technological advancements are a boon for clusters and have the potential to provide opportunities that were unimaginable just a few years ago. The challenge now is ensuring that clusters have the appropriate skillset to thrive in a technologically driven world. This session will explore the challenges faced in attracting international talent with the necessary hard and soft skills, as well as retraining today’s workers to bridge the talent gap.

Session C2: Smart specialization for cluster development of smaller regions

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.

Session C3: Smart specialization for cluster development of city regions

It’s all in the data: Overcoming cities’ unique challenges

Every city faces unique hurdles that they must overcome to develop their clusters. From a lack of data to the encouragement of technological adoption, the panelists will give insight into their cities’ particular challenges and how they are overcoming them.

Session C4: Firm growth and inclusive prosperity

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.

Session C5: Nascent Clusters

 Circular causality: Can we make clusters respond to a need or is it the need that responds to 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 opposing circumstances: one in response to local and international demand and the other spurred on by an excess supply of mining waste.

Mobilizing talent and diversity

Session D1: Gender Diversity and Cluster Competitiveness

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 cluster innovation ecosystem. A healthy gender 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 having a conversation about how to incorporate gender and diversity within cluster strategies.

Session D2: Talent Attraction

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.

Academic track

Session E1: Scaling collaborative works for cluster growth in Canada

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?

Session E2: Measuring and Mapping Clusters

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).

Session E3: Structures of Collaborative Networks

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.

Session E4: Governance and tech for cluster effectiveness

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.

Session E5: Improving Smart Specialization Strategies

Smart smart specialization: Using S3 strategies the right way

“Smart specialization” has become the new buzzword among cluster circles but unfortunately it is not a silver bullet that can solve all problems. This session will look carefully at problems that clusters face and how S3 should be used to tackle them head on for optimal results.


We are offering workshops on cluster evaluation, cluster policy, among others. More coming soon!

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.

Click here to go to the Global Matchmaking page.