Orkestra – Basque Institute of Competitiveness - Coggle Diagram
Orkestra – Basque Institute of Competitiveness
The Origins of Orkestra
In the 1990s a new economic strategy for competitiveness was developed under the leadership of Jon Azua
Together with Michael porter worked to led to the creation of further technology centers, parks, the establishment of cluster associations and the launch of other public-private initiatives.
In 2001, the Basque government launched a new strategy for economic development to move the region to a more knowledge and innovation driven-stage.
The government devoted great efforts to intensify collaboration with Basque universities
New research centers were created in the 2000s with the participation of technology centers, universities and even private companies.
In 2002 Jon Azua presented to the Basque Ministry of Industry a project to teach the Microeconomics of Competitiveness (MOC) Course in the Basque Country.
One of the core motivations for structuring the course in a way that allowed local faculty to teach it was to create local capacity for competitiveness analysis and action.
The Ministry of Industry gave strong support to this initiative.
The MOC Course was perceived as a platform to better connect the network of people and organizations in the region that were essential for competitiveness upgrading.
the School of Business Administration of Deusto University in San Sebastian agreed to serve as the academic partner to offer the MOC Course
Azua pursued his broader idea to create a platform that would also engage in research and policy advice and he approached his former colleague in the Basque Government José Luis Larrea
In February 2005 an agreement was reached between the University of Deusto and the Basque Ministry of Industry
The agreement’s statement of purpose highlighted the importance that the Ministry of Industry and SPRI gave to “cooperation with the university to design and implement a competitiveness policy
SPRI supported the University of Deusto’s initiative to create an institute of competitiveness in the Basque Country
Such an organization should be able to:
Develop rigorous, profound and objective knowledge on competitiveness and its determining factors
Participate in knowledge networks of excellence and in international research programs
Provide impartiality, continuity and sustainability to the strategies that are put in place
The University of Deusto committed to support the Institute for four years and to obtain funding from other institutions to lower the contribution of SPRI to a maximum of a third of the total Budget
All the agreements signed between the Institute and its sponsors stipulated that “if the total amount contributed by the institute’s sponsors was higher than the total spent, the difference would be deducted in the current fiscal year until compensated.”
Moving into Action: Orkestra’s First Years
With legal status and funding secured, it was time to make the Institute operational
Relations between the Institute and other schools of Deusto University were not always easy.
Some of them expressed discomfort with the name chosen for the Institute in April 2007 (Orkestra) and the fact that only the name of Deusto Foundation appeared in the logo, but not the university’s name.
The function of the Advisory Board was to advise the Board of Directors and its Chairman on the review and monitoring of the Institute’s activities.
The Board named Mikel Navarro, one of the ESTE professors involved since its very beginning both in the MOC Course and in the academic design of the Institute.
The Board of Directors named José Luis Curbelo for this position in February 2009.
The Institute’ staff of researchers was initially made up by researchers from the University of Deusto
By the end of 2006, the Institute had a total of 13 staff members, all from the University of Deusto
The number of researchers doubled, some of them from other universities in order to meet one of the objectives laid out in the foundational agreement
The research areas that had been defined in the original academic plan were four:
Competitiveness and innovation
Clusters and regional development
Entrepreneurship and knowledge society
The Institute’s main objectives envisaged in the original foundation agreement were
to be a hub of prospective, research, training, technical assistance, evaluation and knowledge in that field
to generate knowledge on Basque competitiveness, from which policy recommendations could be derived
to be a permanent observatory for the competitiveness of the Basque Country
to foster debate, reflection and shared visions among the main socioeconomic agents around competitiveness
to insert the Basque Country into international knowledge networks in the field of competitiveness
The initial research activities carried out in 2006 and 2007 led to the first Competitiveness Report of the Basque Country and a number of papers and presentations at national and international
There were training courses directed at companies, cluster associations and development agencies and, of less importance, those being directed at other groups
Orkestra’s advisory and external engagement work focused initially on universities, cluster associations and development agencies.
In 2007 Orkestra started a project of cluster mapping of the 20 counties and 250 municipalities of the Basque Country on behalf of the Basque Government’s Ministry of Industry.
The launch of the first Competitiveness Report of the Basque Country offered an academic analysis of the competitive performance of the Basque Country over the previous 25 years, along with an evaluation of the government’s policies.
The original design of the project combined a quantitative methodology with a series of qualitative cases, and responded to a classic research model
Orkestra and the Ministry of Industry agreed to launch a “pilot project” presenting the results to local authorities and other stakeholders such as country development agencies and a cluster association.
This new approach was also visible in Orkestra’s evaluation, specifically the role of cluster associations (CAs), which was going on at the same time.
One CAs was selected due to the great interests of its managers and to the project’s synergies with the strategic reflection that was taking place within it.
The project’s results were intensely discussed with the project partners in the government and the cluster organization, but also produced a number of scientific publications
The experience of these projects ended up transforming Orkestra’s approach to research.
The work performed jointly with clients and the results obtained through the cogeneration of knowledge helped its scientific value and its usefulness for the region to be recognized
The Next Phase: Orkestra Maturing
Many stakeholders acknowledged that Orkestra had helped to create a “shared language” on competitiveness and a “common and shared view” on the competitive challenges of the Basque Country
It was able to provide impartiality, continuity and sustainability to the strategies of the government
Within the Basque region, Orkestra had been able to firmly establish itself as a key resource for competitiveness analysis and action
Orkestra’s international positioning improved due to:
its participation in various international research projects
the signing of new collaboration agreements with universities and foreign research centers
its integration in international networks
The ratio of publications per researcher almost doubled between 2008 and 2012 notably outscoring that of the University of Deusto as a whole.
Around half of Orkestra’s publications were articles in national and international scientific journals
The platform created a network of 35-40 affiliated business angels, organized an average of 5-6 forums each year and an annual training, as well as several taxation workshops.
In 2010 Orkestra launched a new project for supporting entrepreneurs
The advisory and engagement activities carried out with universities continued from 2010 onwards, but those carried out with cluster associations and local development agencies were reduced considerably.
The new group was located on Deusto’s Bilbao campus, which meant extending the presence of Orkestra outside of San Sebastian.
Orkestra was able to raise further sources of finance thanks to competitive projects and consulting and other services
Orkestra managed to renew its collaboration agreements for the years 2010-2013 with the Basque Government and the firms Repsol-Petronor, Euskaltel and Kutxa.
By October 2009, the Vice Minister for Technology made “a clearly positive evaluation” of the Institute’s work and expressed the government’s support
The project was launched without the final decision being made, with an intense shared working dynamic which allowed for the initial mistrust to be overcome.
Many of Orkestra’s researchers wanted to focus primarily on analysis while the Ministry would lead on the policy design.
The approaching renegotiation of Orkestra’s collaboration agreement with the regional government would be a sign of how this would play out
In May of 2009 the Basque government changed
Orkestra in 2013: A New Team and New Challenges
At the end of 2012 José Luis Curbelo’s announced his departure to take up a senior position at CAF
The functions of the Managing Director were passed to Ibon Gil de San Vicente
Whether this internal solution was to be temporary or permanent remained unclear.
In the meantime Orkestra had to face important challenges:
Financing and sponsorship agreements that expired in 2013 had to be renegotiated when a severe and enduring economic recession with substantial budget cuts weighed on Orkestra’s existing funders.
A new government, again led by the Basque Nationalist Party, had considerable sympathy for Orkestra but little money
Pressure was rising to show direct, short-term benefits to the economy and individual companies
But any new activities in this direction would reduce the capacity to conduct research
A new Dean of the Deusto Business School had come, and a new president of the University of Deusto was to be named
Orkestra and the DBS, along with the University of Deusto, saw potential benefits in a closer collaboration
But there was no clear path forward