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Smart Specialisation at work: The entrepreneurial discovery as a continuous process

The term Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (or EDP) originally referred to the identification of areas for investment in research and innovation (i.e. priority-areas), through an inclusive and evidence-based process grounded in stakeholders’ engagement.
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The experience of the S3 Platform has highlighted, on the one hand, that the concept itself has evolved from being a process limited to the identification of investment-priorities in the design-phase of a Smart Specialisation Strategy, into a continuous activity, which keeps going throughout the strategy’s implementation; on the other, that there was a significant gap in understanding how different actors engaged in the EDP. Such continuous EDP implies that stakeholders are kept engaged in the refinement of priority-areas, the identification of instruments that would implement them, as well as the RIS3 governance and monitoring mechanisms that would allow the expected competitive advantages to emerge. With this report, we address both issues. Firstly, we submit the concept of continuous EDP to an empirical test. Secondly, we look in depth at the role of different stakeholders in the EDP (especially in the design phase of RIS3). To do so, we present the results of a survey run in the S3 Platform, aimed at monitoring current practices in the EDP. The survey provides information on how the 4-ple helix has taken part in the EDP and provides insights on the relationship between the different actors and the public body responsible for the EDP. The results confirm that once investment priorities have been identified with the involvement of stakeholders, various mechanisms that keep them engaged in following the development of such priorities are often put in place. Finally, the results indicate that the EDP, as a continuous process, is proving positive and satisfactory.