About this Guideline

CADIC focused on the development and testing of services and tools that support the enhancement of the so called “soft” success factors in small- and medium sized enterprise (SME) collaborations and networks. During the project, five SME networks from France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and UK tested and evaluated different tools and services. Moreover, three transfer clusters were supported in Greece, England and Scotland. The networks were different in terms of sector, size and maturity; some were just initiated at the beginning of the project, others had a long-history of collaboration and redefined their focus, again others were expanding etc. Short profiles of each SME network and an overview of their activities during the project can be found at the CADIC project website.

This guideline summarizes the results and experiences made by the cluster teams during the project lifetime. Via the menu at the left you can navigate through the CADIC TOOLBOX easily. The tools and supporting methodologies are of various nature and complexity. Some are quick and easy tools, some are more profound processes guiding the network through a whole process of collective learning and discovery. These latter aspects stand on the essence of inter-firm collaboration and network capacity building. Promoting them in diverse and innovative ways should be of major concern for the team facilitating the implementation process. 

All tools are described in detail, complemented by in-depth explanations, checklists, templates and toolboxes which can be downloaded to support CADIC IC management for SME collaboration.

One of the major results of the project is recognizing the great importance of the external advisory team guiding the SME network through its development process. The so called cluster facilitation teams turned out to be the key success factor: triggering activities and pushing the development forward, offering support and consultancy upon request from SMEs. A description of the approach and experiences made can be found in the next section CADIC cluster facilitation approach. It describes the roles and responsibilities of facilitation team members based on the experiences from the project teams throughout two-and-a-half years of bottom-up SME network support.

Additionally, case studies and references to more supporting material have been collected. The section CADIC in practice presents selected case studies in different formats like short reports and video case studies. You will also find a link to the project homepage reporting on the particular cluster initiatives in more detail.