The South European Cluster of Photonics and Optics (SECPhO), which was co-founded by Radiantis and six other companies in 2009, enjoyed one of its most successful annual events on 7th June this year. Hosted in the state-of-the-art facilities of the Creapolis campus of the ESADE Business School in Sant Cugat, Barcelona, SECPhO welcomed attendees from many of its now 60-strong member companies, to the annual staging of the cluster’s ‘Photonics Marketplace’ event in the morning, followed by its ‘Annual Assembly’ in the afternoon.
The morning was divided into 3 main sessions. The first saw a presentation by networking expert, Mrs Tacca Ganinna, highlighting how networking tactics can help achieve strategic objectives through known contacts. The session culminated in a lively ‘network mapping’ session in which SECPhO members were invited to identify and connect their contacts across different sectors, markets and industries in a combined effort to evolve an improved future strategy, while also allowing members to clearly identify the extended variety of contacts available to them through the cluster. The second of the morning’s sessions was more about practicality than theory however, as members pooled their expertise in an Open Innovation activity aimed at identifying solutions to problems being experienced by companies from other industrial sectors. The sectors seeking advice from the SECPhO members included FEMAC (an agricultural machinery cluster), BDigital (an ICT cluster), RAILGRUP (a railway cluster) and representatives from Centre Mèdic Utset. All of which was summarised by the accomplished illustrator Miquel Gallardo in the form of a mural.
The final morning session centred on European Collaboration, a theme which was introduced by SECPhO project manager Vaclovas Radvilas, who delivered a presentation describing the cluster’s European projects and activities, and their inherent benefits to members. This led to an open discussion in which attendees were able to access three European Photonics cluster managers (Hervé Floch from Route des Lasers, Roberto Pini from Optoscana and Gerrit Roessler from TSB Innovationsagentur Berlin GmbH) to discuss different best practices and examples of the ways in which other photonics organisations successfully collaborate internationally. The session was wrapped up by Mrs Jennifer Ruiz, an R&D service manager at ACC1Ó, with a thought-provoking presentation about the European Commission’s upcoming 80 billion euros research and development initiative, ‘Horizon 2020’.After a networking lunch break, members were invited to attend the SECPhO Annual Assembly which commenced with a presentation by Joan Martí, director of Cluster support agency ACC1Ó, about the governance and strategic planning of clusters. This was followed by a review of the previous year’s activities, the formal acceptance of finances and the presentation of a new board of directors.A SECPhO spokesperson has since thanked the many members who offered their positive feedback about the event and described the day as having passed in a “relaxed and friendly atmosphere that encouraged networking between members”.