Yesterday I had the pleasure of delivering a cluster business model workshop to clusters from the MENA region and France.

Part of a 2 day cluster booster program I was filling in on the exchange of building out the business model. This was not an easy subject. The participants were coming together from 7 different countries and with basically 3 different kinds of industry as leading strategy.

We could divide them into Agri/Food, Natural resources and Electronica/Mechatronica. Not at first sight the most comparable types you would think.

I tried to teach a lot into 4 hours, but even more so I learned a lot from those 4 hours of teaching. First on the subject of cluster business models. This is still an area to be discovered by a lot of cluster managers.

One of the discoveries I made myself is that you can also over prepare. There was just too much information to be shared in the short period of time. In reflection with the different stakeholders I admitted that I tried a way too steep learning curve with the group as I was pushing them through the ecosystem/supercluster theory as well as the MIRO board collaboration for specific canvasses we selected in bringing the Cluster Business Model forward. And all this within a 4 hr time frame. Not so smart maybe.

The other thing we learned was that maybe we should have just pushed for more one-on-one intake and workshop forms to deliver results before we would try and bring it all together. You need to know what the connection will between the participants in the workshop. I had different user groups setup for different sorts of industries and even for cross-overs between them, but in the end the group was not made up from the information we had received from the registration. Such last minute changes are not easy to iron out minutes before the start of the workshop.

What I would do differently next time for sure is the division between explanation and action. Some of this stuff is really only by experiential learning that you get the point across. The tool set is there. It just needs to be used in order to bring any sort of result. That result can then be analyzed and discussed for further learning. The approach that some participants used a shared document in the process was not beneficial to the learning process of the other team as they could not bring together the different outcomes and results.

What where some of the things you learned when you delivered a workshop and what would you do differently next time?