MINNEAPOLIS—Michael E. Porter, Harvard’s Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, based at Harvard Business School, launched the new U.S. Cluster Mapping tool this morning in Minneapolis as part of a two-day conference called Mapping the Midwest’s Future and held by the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
The conference hosted over 150 business leaders, policymakers, economic development officials and academics from twelve Midwest states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) and four Canadian provinces (Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan).
Based on path-breaking research led by Professor Porter, the U.S. Cluster Mapping tool provides detailed data on the presence of “clusters” -- regional concentrations of related industries such as aerospace and defense in Kansas and recreational goods in Wisconsin – and regional economies throughout the United States. It is useful to view economic development through the lens of clusters rather than specific types of companies, industries, or sectors, because clusters capture the important linkages and potential spillovers of technology, skills, and information that cut across firms and industries. The cluster perspective provides a powerful understanding of the specific profile and industry dynamics shaping a regional economy and highlights opportunities for coordination and joint action.