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School of Business | Department of Management and International Business | International Business | 2013
Thesis number: 13432
The role of cluster in innovation process - Case BioTurku Cluster
Author: Lehto, Kristiina
Title: The role of cluster in innovation process - Case BioTurku Cluster
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management and International Business
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; innovaatiot; innovations; prosessit; processes; verkostot; networks; bioteknologia; biotechnology
Pages: 127
Key terms: cluster; innovation; innovation process; biotechnology
The objective of this study is to examine the role of a cluster in the various phases of an individual cluster company's innovation process in the field of biotechnology. Clusters and various phenomena related to the concept is a well-researched topic in academia. However, research findings that would specifically pinpoint the role of a cluster in a member company's innovation process are scarcely available. The main objective is to identify potential roles in an innovation process for the BioTurku cluster based on existing literature, and formulate propositions for further inquiry and analysis. In order to achieve this, the concepts of innovation and innovation process as well as the cluster entities and the nature of operations among them need to be also examined.

The BioTurku cluster was chosen to be at the focal point of inquiry for this research. A multiple-case study method focusing on qualitative analysis was utilized to study the cluster more closely. A total of ten case companies from the biotechnological industry domains of diagnostics/bioanalytics, drug discovery and development/drug delivery as well as biomaterials were included in the study. A semi-structured interview was conducted in each of the case companies, which together with an expert interview formulated the basis for the empirical findings. A theoretical framework including five distinctive role propositions guided the analysis contrasting the empirical findings and views presented in the literature review.

The conducted research discovered two specific roles for the cluster in the innovation process. In contrast to the original theoretical framework viewing the cluster to be comprised of a single entity, it was found out that there are two different roles: one for the actual cluster agglomeration; and one for the cluster governing organization. Furthermore, it was concluded that the role for the actual cluster did not coincide with any of the propositions hypothesized in the beginning, whereas the role for the governing organization matched well with one of the propositions. As a conclusion, a key takeaway supported by the researched case companies was the idea of moving away from regionally competitive BioTurku cluster to an internationally operative BioFinland cluster.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.