Nowadays, when we talk about business clusters, we usually refer to the Silicon Valley technology industry, the financial sector of London and New York and the car manufacturers of southern Germany. But the most successful and long-lived clusters are not stagnant in time. A retrospective look at these groups of long duration highlights the importance of the ability to adapt to maintain a living cluster and ensure that the catalysts that keep it in motion.
An example of those who have avoided the blocking syndrome is Bologna, in Italy, one of the most outstanding and lasting clusters in history, since its genesis is in the middle ages with the silk mills of the Tuscan town of Lucca in the thirteenth century. Although many people know him for his machinery and packaging group, they may not realize the deep historical roots of this industry or how much it has evolved over time.
As with many clusters, there is a university at the core of the Bologna cluster. Founded in 1088, the Studium in Bologna is one of the oldest academic institutions in the continent and was the biggest educational innovation of the second millennium in Europe. The most important packaging industry in the world is located in the area of the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region. To get an idea of its importance, the packaging district generates 15 thousand jobs through the 222 companies that comprise it with a total estimated turnover of 7 billion euros.