AGGREGATION - TALKING IS NOT ENOUGH
Industrial districts, company networks, clusters, temporary associations of firms, consortia, joint ventures, supply chains, corporations, participatory foundations, associated studios, confederations... these are only a few of the words most used to define an activity performed by multiple economic, social and cultural actors that have as a common goal the completion of a new project which alone they would not have been able to achieve.
Whether that project is a short-term one, as with the participation of two firms in a promotional event, or a longer-term one, as with the creation of manufacturing structures in new countries, in each case it is necessary to start from a shared will to reach a goal that is clearly-defined from the beginning of the project.
Meeting many European cluster managers, at some point in the conversation one punctually hears the sentence “…in my country it is impossible to get the companies to work together...”; whether one meets with colleagues from Italy, France, Serbia, Poland or other countries, this affirmation is reported as a common feeling on the part of all the principal operators who, in any case, seek to favour the collaborative efforts of the single firms. And yet, there are many cases of successful cooperation.
But what are the main characteristics needed to make a project among numerous firms work? Where to begin to set a valid path that leads to a useful result for all participants? Probably we might begin with a concept taught to me by a wise person who had spent their entire life as a top international manager: “Aggregation is comparable to a marriage where both spouses are aware they must lose a part of their own autonomy and independence, to build a bigger project that might lead to benefits which alone they might never achieve”.
Beginning from this point of view, we understand right off that the path necessary to construct a common project is neither easy nor immediate. Nevertheless it is possible only if the parties involved in the project are aware right from the beginning of the advantages and disadvantages that derive from the aggregation process.
In the magazine’s next issues, I will try to illustrate some experiences of cooperation that represent interesting cases of success, both national and foreign, from which to learn from your own aggregation projects.