Innovation Clusters

Regional Innovation Clusters

In the region’s economic development ecosystem, Team NEO is taking the lead in targeting regional innovation clusters. Team NEO’s Innovation Clusters Team uses its industry expertise to provide companies, academic and research institutions with opportunities to collaborate and take advantage of new technologies that build on the industrial, organizational and workforce strengths of the region.

Team NEO currently focuses its innovation efforts on Smart Devices & Systems, Additive Manufacturing and Energy Storage. Below you will find additional information on each of these focus areas. While we are dedicated to growing these clusters, we are constantly scanning for other emerging technology opportunities in the region, as Team NEO serves as the driver for the region’s economic competitiveness strategy.

Cluster Core Competencies

Team NEO’s Innovation Clusters Team uses its industry expertise to assist companies in new business development through innovation of new products, markets, processes and business models. Our value proposition to cluster members focuses on facilitating “Seeker – Solver” networks, in which we fill innovation gaps identified by driver industry market leaders by matching them with small/mid-size technology companies. We also assist in building out competitive regional supply chains, assemble cluster building project teams, identify and solicit federal, state, and local funding, brand and market the cluster, generate “knowledge building” events and tools, conduct technology scouting, and deliver “member customized” market research & analysis.

Smart Devices & Systems Cluster (formerly Flexible Electronics)

Founded in 2010, the cluster is anchored by the world-renowned Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State University, the National Polymer Innovation Center at The University of Akron and the engineering school of Case Western Reserve University. The cluster, officially named FlexMatters, has grown to include >70 member organizations, spanning the complete value chain including universities, material suppliers, component manufacturers, circuit designers, circuit builders and OEMs.  In recent years, Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable electronics for biomedical uses have emerged as significant opportunities for growth and regional expansion. As a result, we have expanded the cluster mission to Smart Devices and Systems, allowing us to attract IT companies to the cluster to work with the flexible electronics hardware value chain. We are presently working to rebrand the cluster accordingly.

Energy Storage Cluster Work

Founded in 2009, Northeast Ohio’s advanced energy cluster was formed to support the more than 500 companies and organizations actively engaged in advanced energy research, development and commercialization. The effort has now focused on energy storage, the sector that represents the largest addressable market for NE Ohio. Core stakeholders include Case Western Reserve University, First Energy and NASA-Glenn Research Center, with strong corporate partners like Johnson Controls, Rockwell Automation, ABB, Parker, GrafTech, and Energizer. Our goal is to develop a vibrant energy storage business environment in the region through networking, recognition, sharing and sector advocacy.

Additive Manufacturing Cluster Work

In 2016, Team NEO’s innovation team – along with the Youngstown Business Incubator, MAGNET, and America Makes – conducted a commercial asset roadmap study to identify Additive Manufacturing (AM) opportunities in Northeast Ohio. The study identified significant opportunities to apply additive manufacturing to the region’s vibrant manufacturing sector. The ultimate goal is to build from the technology advancements generated by America Makes to provide a clear vision for integrating the AM supply chain in Northeast Ohio. To learn more about the cluster group being formed in this area, please visit:

For more information, please contact:

Jay Foran
Senior Vice President, Industry and Innovation