Dipl.-Kfm. Sven Clasen: Success through competency clusters

Cities and regions are facing ever-in­­creas­­ing competition for investors and employers. The location and structural conditions – for example, a company’s given cooperation possibilities – represent a key competitive factor. The presence of network structures has been gaining increased importance over the past years. The economic development as­­­sociation “Wirtschaftsförderung Wies­ba­­den” was quick to recognize and pri­­oritize the opportunity. The goal is to im­­­ple­­ment a variety of measures to sup­­port the cooperativeness of companies and to promote networks.
Besides classic economic promotion tasks such as acquiring new settlements, main­­taining existing ones and marketing the location, initiating and supporting network- and cluster-forming processes have become a main focus of the Wirtschafts­för­­derung Wiesbaden.
While the spatial conditions for cluster formation previously were determined by natural resources such as mineral de­­pos­­its and coastal location, nowadays those factors tend to play a more secondary role. Today’s favourable factors include the presence of skilled workers, universities, research facilities or specialized serv­i­­ce providers. Supporting the cooperative­­ness of companies through cluster pro­­motion makes the location attractive for further settlement in sectors and value-added chains. According to the results from several cluster studies, companies stand to profit from the excellent reputation of their location and to develop more dynamically in comparison with other locations.
Cluster and network formations can be influenced considerably by municipal economic policy, as is clearly evidenced by Wiesbaden’s activities in the consul­t­­ing and logistics sectors. The state cap­­ital has acquired a transregional re­­pu­tation as a competency provider for service clusters and has distinguished itself in a cluster competition organized by the state of Hessen.
The consulting competency network KNC has been around for several years now. Consulting is one of the key growth sectors in Wiesbaden. The city offers ex­­cellent conditions for the formation of clusters in that branch, thanks to the region’s supply and demand structure, the po­­ten­­tial of skilled workers, the broad landscape of universities, and the outstanding transpor­­tation infrastructure with fast connec­­tions to anywhere in the world.


KNC is now an affiliation of consultants on a local and regional scale.
Its origin dates back to the results of the 2001 analysis of the economic location of Wiesbaden. It promotes the cooper­a­­tion between larger consulting firms and smaller specialized providers. The co­­op­­eration partners include companies and institutions such as the European Busi­­ness School (EBS), Arthur D. Little, Plenum AG, network consulting Rheinmain e.V., and the start-up agency EXINA e.V. The Wirt­schafts­­förderung Wiesbaden is in charge of the entire Rhine-Main region, as com­­missioned by the regional confer­­ence.
The master plan that was set up for Wies­­baden served as the base and provided the know-how transfer. The regional part­­ners – Frankfurt, Bad Homburg and Esch­­born – have developed their own location-specific initiatives.

The consulting competency network KNC has achieved an impressive number of goals: 600 registered members, regular local and regional meetings as well as a chair of consulting at the European Busi­­ness School. KNC is a success story and has contributed vastly to the interconnect­­edness of the sector.

Wiesbaden has also set the course for the future in the logistics sector: At the behest of the Wirtschaftsförderung Wies­­ba­den, the Supply Chain Management In­­stitute (SMI) of the European Business School has been devoted to the theme of logistics since 2005.

Wiesbaden is a particularly strong service location. The focus is clearly on knowl­­edge-oriented services. They play a spe­­cial role in connection with the increasing significance of logistics, purchase and supply chain management in global pro­­vision, production and distribution networks. The strategic positioning of Wies­­baden through the combination the two growth fields “logistics” and “knowledge”, thus, suggested itself.

To that effect, the setup of the “Logistik RheinMain” initiative was combined with an innovative labour market project. The human resources for the office of Lo­­gis­­tik RheinMain were provided by means of project funds for the integration of the unemployed in the primary labour market. The SMI is in charge of the sci­­entific aspect.

Wiesbaden is a crucial component of the logistics location of the Rhine-Main re­­gion. Since 2007, support has been given to the setup of the multi-state clus­­­ter ini­­tiative Logistik RheinMain, which reaches from Frankfurt to Wiesbaden and Mainz to Darmstadt and Aschaffenburg. The goal is to distinguish the region as a lo­­gistics location of global significance.

The current launch of the new House of Logistics and Mobility (HOLM) represents another clear signal for the region. The HOLM – established at the Frankfurt air­­port – is set up as a unique cooperation model between universities, businesses and the public sector. The tasks will in­­clude application-oriented research and pro­ject work in connection with logistics and mobility. The state capital of Wies­ba­­den is a founding member of the HOLM.

In order to systematically explore and expand the existing strengths of the state capital and Rhine-Main region in the field of industry and service clusters, Wiesbaden plans to join forces with the Supply Chain Management Institute of the European Business School to set up the Center for Clusters and Com­pe­ti­tive­ness (WI3C).

The practice-oriented research of the WI3C, training and further education as well as initiatives, projects and events in future-oriented sectors such as lo­­gistics, health care, creative economy and professional services are to strategically position Wiesbaden and the Rhine-Main region and to increase their com­pet­itiveness for the long term.

The success of the consulting competency network KNC and Logistik Rhein­Main confirms the leading role of Wies­­baden when it comes to developing net­­work structures. Positive effects are also expected in terms of employment, wheth­­er through successful employment pro­­motion measures within the framework of a project or through settlement ef­­fects. In the long term, Wiesbaden is investing in a future-oriented way of securing last­­ing economic power and employment.

2406_Herr-Clasen_-NEUThe author was born in 1963. After train­­ing to be a hotel clerk, he studied eco­­nomics. After various positions in the private sector, at the university hospital of Gießen and in the Hessian Min­is­try for economic affairs and the arts, he has been leading the office for econom­ic affairs and real property of the state capital of Wiesbaden since January 2008.