NCE Subsea awarded Gold Label of Cluster Management Excellence

- Achieving Gold Label of Cluster Management Excellence is a major achievement and an international acknowledgement of the work performed by the NCE Subsea facilitator since 2006, says CEO Trond Olsen.

Published: 14 August 2013

- As opposed to low hanging fruits, the Gold Label is a comprehensive achievement summing up thoroughly planned and executed efforts over many years. Through long term commitment from cluster members and partners, as well as a team of cluster and subsea professionals, we have provided substantial results contributing to innovation and value creation for the cluster. I am proud and extremely pleased to have been leading this massive effort and achieving this acknowledgement, says Trond Olsen.

A 100 per cent score

The cluster organization NCE Subsea gained 100 per cent of the cluster management excellence score and was therefore awarded the ‘Cluster Organization Management Excellence Label (Quality Label) GOLD’. To achieve a 100 per cent score is very rare, only achieved by a small percentage of the around 20 European clusters awarded Gold Label since 2012.

The assessment report especially emphasizes the NCE Subsea facilitator’s efforts on strategy development. ‘In particular impressing was the way of presentation of the mid- and long-term cluster strategy and the yearly implementation plan based on the strategy, including measurable targets and performance indicators. As well, the process of developing the strategy was considered as very comprehensive and inclusive.’

Download the results of the Cluster Organisation Management Excellence Assessment (pdf)

Benefits the Cluster

Chair of the Board Tove Ormevik has followed the development of NCE Subsea since it was established in 2006. – The Gold Label assessment report confirms that the facilitator has been able to focus on strategically important issues and work closely with stakeholders in the cluster, she says.

Partners and members have also expressed great satisfaction with the work performed in NCE Subsea. – The high quality of work performed by the facilitator provides concrete results which benefits the cluster as a whole. Companies regard being part of the cluster as a mark of quality, and I am certain the Gold Label of Cluster Management Excellence will further strengthen our brand, says Tove Ormevik.

A boost for Norwegian cluster initiatives

- As Program Manager for the NCE program, I am very proud and pleased that two Norwegian cluster initiatives have achieved the Gold Label certification, says Bjørn Arne Skogstad. NCE NODE was awarded the Gold Label in 2012.

- This helps raise awareness about clusters and the NCE program at national and regional authorities, which is important because they set the standards for Norwegian cluster initiatives. The award gives impetus to the NCE program and will give us an extra boost in the ongoing efforts to further strengthen and renew cluster initiatives in Norway, says Bjørn Arne Skogstad.

About Gold Label of the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI)

Since 2009, the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI), initiated by the European Commission, DG Enterprise and Industry, have developed methodologies and tools in order to support cluster organizations to improve their capabilities in the management of networks and clusters. Within this context, 13 project partners from 9 countries – all well experienced in the field of cluster management and support – created a uniform set of cluster management quality indicators and developed a quality labeling system for professional cluster management with the aim to have this methodology and proof of evidence accepted and recognized all over Europe.

The ‘Cluster Organization Management Excellence Label (Quality Label) GOLD’ developed within the ECEI have created an independent, voluntary proof of cluster management excellence which is accepted and recognized all over Europe, or even beyond. It is not only aimed at the distinction between “good” and “bad”, but to motivate cluster managers to take part in an improvement process, to become better by comparing with others and learning from the best. Thus, the elements of “mutual learning” and “mutual benchmarking” play an important role.

A total of 31 quality indicators are assessed by two independent cluster experts by interviewing the cluster manager and relevant staff members. The findings of the interview have to be substantiated by relevant documents provided by the cluster organization. For each quality indicator a specific quality threshold had to be passed. The ‘Cluster Organization Management Excellence Label (Quality Label) GOLD’ is awarded to cluster organizations which gain a minimum of 80 per cent of the cluster management excellence score.

The European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA) has been mandated by the European Cluster Excellence Initiative to organize the assessment process and to award successful cluster organizations with the “Cluster Organization Management Excellence Label (Quality Label) GOLD”.

More information about the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis on