Article from the Office of Innovation and Creativity - Dénia Ciutat Creativa UNESCO de la Gastronomia
Tots celebrated that the vulgar “normality” installed among us. Costs are so simple with a café mentre saludem als que passengers, have lunch at a bon vi in the region and the six corresponents cacauets, buy als mercats de carrer or veure turistes de nou, they will be nostalgic for becoming quotidian. Eixes escenes, enyorades in any of the nostres poblacions, ens show dues realitats ben different and highly related. For one band, our economy is highly dependent on the serveis sector, especially related to tourism and restoration with hem conegut fins ara. The other realitat is that surely there will be modifications that can be accelerated by those who have ventured to a time and will carry no scenes, such as the way in which they relate to food, gastronomic or tourist experience. Canvis that plows in will suggest some adaptive processes that the Marina Alta is possibly prepared to face.
To help us to interpret all this reality, and they are opportunities, this is the opinion of all those who can contribute. After analyzing the agri-food and gastronomic system, and the impact of this on tourism, in the diagnosis and strategic writing of the I + C Office, it will be detected that, in a prestigious gastronomic territory with the Marina Alta, it created 'An innovative cluster in the agri-food / gastronomy sector could be an opportunity to create a connection environment, to create companies and business models linked to the territory, to create a true circular economy, complete and sustainable for the Marina Alta. We thought that it could be moment d'anar plantejant-ho.
Hem demanded the collaboration with José Luis Hervás-Oliver, Professor of Innovation of the Universitat Politècnica de València, who has worked on projects of industrial and agricultural structures in different Valencian regions because it describes what a cluster consists of and what avantatges could it provide to companies in our territory?
José Luis Hervás-Oliver's opinion - "The Marina Alta agri-food cluster: a necessary project for the competitiveness of the territory"
How can a small business be competitive? The answer is double and simple. First of all, the answer is innovation on all its fronts: products, processes, organization, marketing, different business models, etc. The second, perhaps, a little less known: through cooperation, with other SMEs and organizations, through clusters.
Actually we are talking about the same thing: innovation is not an individual action of a company, let's say that it increases research for the development of a new product, but it is systemic. That is, it is based on interaction, which means that in order to develop said new product, it needs the information and assessment that the client or distributor provides it, normally in a co-creation process; you need the supplier of raw materials or supplies, as well as that of machinery, to be able to successfully carry out the new product or process; perhaps you need the advice of a consultant, the transfer of knowledge from the University or even cooperation with the competition to prepare a regulatory framework conducive to launching the new product on the market. Innovation is, in itself, systemic and is based on models of cooperation between the agents of the value chain (suppliers, clients, competitors, consultants, etc.) and the national, regional or local system of innovation (universities, institutes technology, local development agencies, etc.).
Going back to the beginning question, how can a small business be competitive? Innovating and cooperating with the local / regional innovation system, that set of agents and institutions that are so necessary for the company to get the most potential. A cluster is, therefore, a territorial agglomeration or concentration of companies and institutions that cooperate with a common objective: to improve the competitiveness of the territory and its companies. The companies in the cluster compete with each other, but they also cooperate in those areas that are a meeting point and a lever of common profit. The cluster must integrate the territory, position it, act as a lever to improve competitiveness and serve as an umbrella for the formulation of collective initiatives that pursue the common benefit. The cluster vertebrates the territory socially and economically, positions it before the market and achieves the recognition of the different administrations, also serving as a forum for reflection for local entrepreneurs to draw up future strategies that make companies more competitive, more sustainable to the territory and Ultimately, they strengthen the social fabric with more and better jobs. The clusters have a public-private component, but it is the business fabric that has to lead and articulate it, integrating the different local / regional sectors that will cooperate to find successful strategies that benefit everyone: it is intersectoral and therefore seeks creation of synergies between the different subsectors or activities of the territory. Fortunately, in the Valencian Community we have many success stories (such as the Automobile cluster, or the Container and Packaging cluster, among many others), being necessary to extend the model to those regions that are specialized in agri-food and / or services.
Let's get back to the point: how can the Marina Alta be more competitive through an agri-food cluster? Dénia, and the region, as a top gastronomy destination is a consolidated reality, with one of the highest concentrations of restaurants on the entire Mediterranean coast, a purely local value chain that brings the freshest products directly to the countryside and the sea. tables. Not in vain has it been declared a Creative City of Gastronomy by Unesco. The territory not only presents an exceptional coastline and weather, but also combines different sectors: agri-food, fishing, tourism and catering, the latter being the spearhead that can act as a tractor or drag element for the rest. In addition, there is a catering sector that works in tandem with tourism, but with a great difference: it has the potential to deseasonalize demand, preserving it throughout the year and, therefore, pulling the rest of the local / regional sectors. Likewise, there is a recognized “brand” of quality in catering, high knowledge, experience and work culture in business units, entrepreneurial capacity and adaptation to change, as well as an excellent reputation for quality products, especially those who it comes from the Llotja and the field.
For the formation of the cluster it would be necessary to integrate all the links in the territorial chain and to work on key aspects such as raising awareness of the importance of collaboration and cooperation. It would be necessary to activate new sustainability formulas (proximity channel products, bio, online channels), as well as promoting the connection between the agri-food sector and that of experiences (tourism, gastronomy, leisure, etc.), seeking synergies for a common benefit . And finally, raising awareness of the need to innovate in the company and in the value chain: raising awareness of the need for strategic change.
The creation of a backbone agri-food cluster, integrator of the different sectors and enhancement of the image that improves the competitive position of the companies and allows a sustainability of the territory is, in my opinion, a future opportunity to manage with long-term criteria the Marina Alta as a source of wealth, cohesion and as a place of welcome to live better.