The development and implementation of regional development policies comprising information and communication technologies (ICT) is a complex process. ICTs play a crucial role in regional development as a horizontally enabling tool, such as high-speed internet infrastructures. At the same time, some regions have an interest in supporting the vertical development of ICT industries and emerging regional specialisations like eTourism. Due to the technical nature and the socio-culturally embeddedness of ICT, policy processes have to include technical, socio-economic and policy capabilities in order to work with ICT. Using participatory methods, policy makers can encourage transfer of knowledge amongst regions to address this complex reality. This policy brief presents the findings from three learning workshops where Andalusia (ES), Lodz (PL), Lombardy (IT), Malopolska (PL), Noordvleugel (NL) and Scotland (UK) have presented their work on ICT strategies and digital growth. The regions' individual experience is distilled into four general observations: i) the importance of an adequate infrastructure as a crucial pre-condition for the development of the digital economy; ii) the significance of involving stakeholder groups in ICT policy development and in governance structures and processes, since every actor is a potential agent of change; iii) the need for inter-regional collaboration both for learning and co-development of policies; and iv) the need for a broad array of policies tailored to the specific needs of each region.
The S3P has arranged three learning workshops for regional ICT strategies and policies, based on workshop presentations and discussions, this policy brief outlines the main lessons learnt in terms of policy processes, practices, and instruments. It concludes by providing a summary of general observations and outlining recommendations for enhancing policy learning in ICT.