Michael Porter introduced the concept of clusters as “concentration of related companies, suppliers, service providers, industries, and associated institutions (for example universities, standards agencies, and trade associations) in particular fields that compete but also co-operate”.
The Otigba Village in Ikeja Lagos is an example of a cluster but I would call it a “trade association cluster” or “trade district” because it basically a concentration of business people who trade in computer and its related products therefore it is not qualified to be called a creative cluster.
What then is a creative cluster? A creative cluster is new- value creating assemblage of technical innovation, artistic creativity and business entrepreneurship, organized together to create new products. Michael Porter introduced the competitive diamond – made up of four sets of factors namely firm strategy, structure and rivalry; factor conditions; demand conditions; and related and supporting industries. The competitive diamond drives cluster development and a nation’s most globally competitive industries are likely to be ‘geographically clustered’.
It is no longer news that Bells University of Technology Ota, Ogun State, won this year’s Nigeria Universities/Polytechnics Computer Programming Contest out 21 Universities and polytechnics that participated in the competition. The competition organised by the National Mathematical Centre (NMC) had the Federal University of Technology (FUT) Minna and Covenant University, Ota in the second and third place respectively.
Do we have a potential creative cluster in the making in Ota?
It would be nice, if this feat isn’t just celebrated and forgotten but if an innovation centre could be developed, taking advantage of the skills and creativity of these bright and young students. And also taking advantage of the proximity to two universities, a technology/knowledge cluster could gradually be formed, inform of a standard- business park next to a technology campus that would take advantage of the available engineers, research opportunities and programmes for the industries to enhancing their productivity.