PhD defence by Frode R. Johansen
Frode Ramstad Johansen will present and defend his thesis The creation of a cluster project – innovation processes in the formation of a cluster project.
From the invitation: "The thesis investigate how clusters become clusters, as ongoing and continuous innovative processes in the interactions between an emerging cluster and its actors. Innovation processes are understood as complex, dynamic and uncertain, and the actors cannot manage and control these, but instead, must navigate through them to succeed. Changes in clusters do not happen by themselves, but are largely a result of mindful deviations by capable actors and, through this, appear as emerging processes.
Cluster development is a national instrument for strengthening competitiveness and innovation in companies and regions. Cluster policy is based on theories and systemic policy approaches on clusters and regional innovation systems, where geography (proximity), dynamic capability (developmental capacity) and learning are considered important. Path dependence, understood as a developmental process relying on past accumulated competencies, is important, both empirically and normatively as a model for the development of clusters.
This perspective is criticized for missing an understanding of the emergence of events and processes in cluster development, but also for missing out on agency, as interactions between actors and artefacts and the influence they exert on each other. Further, it is criticised of a lack of understanding of the role and characteristics of the actors, such as the ability to choose to break out of dependencies, and for seeing cluster development from an outsider perspective.
How clusters emerge are explored in an action and process perspective, where cluster development is seen as emerging processes with temporary stabilizations and destabilizations. The main question is How does the cluster develop as innovation processes?, and the work of the thesis has resulted in four supporting papers."