GCE NODE administration and Gold Label evaluators together in Kristiansand. Left-right: Bente Løvaas (GCE NODE), Ida Andersen (GCE NODE), Ann Marchioro (GCE NODE), Jan Helge Viste (GCE NODE), Christian von der Ohe (GCE NODE), Marit Werner (EUCLES), Tom Fidjeland (GCE NODE), and Tor-Arne Bellika (EUCLES).

GCE NODE was one of the first European clusters to earn a Gold Label for management excellence. This week, evaluators came to make a new assessment.

“The final report is still being written, but it looks like GCE NODE will receive a score of 96 out of 100 points. It is a world-class score,” says Tor-Arne Bellika.

He heads the evaluation process together with Swedish colleague Marit Werner. They are among the experts certified by the European Clusters Excellence Labelling Structure (EUCLES) to perform cluster organization quality assessments. More than 1000 European clusters have been subject to similar evaluations.

“GCE NODE is among the best clusters in Norway, and the Norwegian clusters are among the best in the world. It is increasingly difficult for GCE NODE to find ways to improve,” says Bellika.

This is the fifth time GCE NODE is being evaluated. Starting in 2012, GCE NODE was one of only three European clusters to qualify for the Gold Level. The highest level was confirmed in 2015, 2018 and 2021.

In a meeting with the EUCLES representatives in Kristiansand Tuesday, Tom Fidjeland, CEO of GCE NODE, gave a thorough presentation of the cluster and a run-through of an extensive self-evaluation submitted to the evaluators in advance.

“We are always looking for areas in which we can improve. We appreciate the opportunity to have senior evaluators examine us and give advice based on their knowledge of other international cluster managements,” says Fidjeland.

He is very pleased with a preliminary score of 96 points.

“96 points is up from the score of 94 three years ago. It places GCE NODE among the very best cluster organizations in Europe, and provides inspiration for continued hard work for our cluster participants,” says Fidjeland.

The qualifying threshold for retaining the Gold Label is 80 points.