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Prof. Dr. van Eenennaam and Prof. Michael Porter, experts on the competitiveness of clusters

Since 1998, The Decision Group has extensive expertise in projects on Clusters and Competitiveness. Clusters are geographical concentrations of companies in a sector. The characteristics of clusters result in competitive advantages for the companies in the cluster. The Decision Group has helped monitoring clusters success, developed strategic plans and scenario’s and is active in association management. Our work in clusters has academic grounding through Prof. Dr. van Eenennaam’s connects to Harvard’s Microeconomics of Competitiveness course and international network.


The Decision Group’s aim is to help our clients take better business decisions. Some examples of decisions clusters, cluster management organizations (CMOs), trade organizations and associations can be confronted with:


    • How to translate the long-term vision into tangible elements?
    • How to deal with or reduce uncertainty?
    • What kind of policy instruments can be used to get the cluster forward?
    • How to deal with policy and regulation in the sector?
    • What services add most value to our members?



The consultants of The Decision Group have made significant contributions to Association Management Programs (Verenigings Management) of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam from the founding of the program to the present day. Contributions to leading books, public addresses as well as creation of learning materials for the above program are part of our heritage.


    • Strategic agenda setting to get from vision to reality.
    • Developing scenarios and scenario planning to deal with the uncertain future.
    • Strategies on finding and retaining members.
    • Creating a strategic dialogue between stakeholders.


As part of a lobby process it can be helpful to monitor cluster success and analyze what’s going on in the cluster.


A very powerful tool for associations and others is conjoint analysis. Conjoint analysis is a multivariate research technique used for measuring, analyzing and predicting members’ responses to products and/or services. The technique is based on the premise that members evaluate the value of a product or service by combining separate amounts of value provided by each attribute. Therefore conducting a conjoint analysis amongst its members enables an association to develop services at an individual member level.


Our tool to help take decisions and build consensus in a group setting, The Decision Lab can help set an agenda of items (open), determine the most important items that are relevant to all participants (focus) and help consensus building on the actions to be taken next (close).


Gaining strategic insight, alignment, establishing growth, innovation and renewal, analytic tools for functional and process areas, decisionmaking and scenario analysis are just a few of the tools we incorporate in our consulting projects.


Recent key projects are:

For the Dutch Lifesciences Cluster and it’s cluster management organization, we developed an Outlook, a monitor of the cluster’s success. In the Dutch Life Sciences Outlook, the cluster’s performance and progress is measured with a set of performance indicators.

An association’s ambition was to become more active for its members and generate more member involvement. The first step was made by restructuring the governance relation between the supervisory board and the employees of the association. This new way of working was started in a strategic dialogue on the future direction and goals.

A group of regionally concentrated and interrelated companies felt the urgent need to increase the value generated by their chain in order to survive. The Decision Group was asked by the industry association to make a quick scan of the situation, present the results and facilitate a discussion with the representatives and members. Building a competitive cluster was one of the solutions presented by The Decision Group as a starting point for a strategic dialogue. Cutting-edge knowledge on cluster theories and the latest insights from best practices worldwide were used. Examples are, among others, the Dutch flower cluster, the California wine cluster, the Finish mobile telecommunications cluster and the Nelson seafood cluster.

An association asked for a public address and discussion on the potential future of its sector during its annual meeting. The Decision Group analyzed the industry and chaired the discussion with members of the association and other experts in the sector.


If you are interested in our work on clusters and competitiveness, please visit the Netherlands Institute for Competitiveness www.netherlands-competitiveness.nl