The Cluster was originally formed by a group of smaller, independent agencies in London order to encourage inter-agency collaboration. Those taking part at the first meetings included LShift, Lateral, Preloaded, Holler, and Bluish?. The original manifesto read:
The Cluster first came together informally in 2001 and was launched formally in June 2002. It consists of specialist new media companies who have joined forces to create a collaborative network.
Our members are committed to exploring deeper forms of cooperation than is usual in traditional organisations. We are all small to medium sized independent companies with a sharply focused skill set. Each company concentrates on their own specialisation, but is able to work alongside others when a broader skill set is called for.
The aim of The Cluster is to encourage the development of deep collaboration ('peering') between suitable companies. To achieve this we hold both formal and social meetings where members share knowledge about how they build their businesses and, especially, how they work with one another to do so. Members are also able forge new alliances and identify other companies who they can collaborate with.
In facilitating such collaborations we also hope to learn from them, by developing new means of working together and solving the practical problems involved in maintaining and running these relationships. We hope that the lessons learned will also be of interest to the industry as a whole.
Since it's formation the focus of the group turned away from the emphasis on collaboration to become more of a networking club.