Colin Barry

Dutch flower cluster (MOC, Monday, Week 5)


The Dutch flower auctions are ridiculous feats of human ingenuity.

Flower growers own the auction houses = really, really smart.
==> Price discovery, feedback on products, visibility into customer decision-making.
==> Enables survival even after economics make it unfavorable to grow certain flowers in Netherlands...because now the Dutch can export services, expertise, maintain auction as hub, etc.

Although obviously a great example of a successful cluster, I am less sure about any real take-aways.
First-mover seemed to matter a lot. Government did not appear to be very active in cluster development --- if anything, Dutch gov't seems driven by interests/desires of large players in cluster.

It seems hard for governments to actually do anything to encourage cluster formation, and much harder to figure out how they should spur cluster development. Picking winners is probably not the right answer.