Entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP) cycle Entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP) cycle

The term entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP) refers to the systematic discovery and pursuit of emergent RDI investment priorities by actors, typically within a socio-economic system territorially bounded. Five years of work on S3 around Europe have demonstrated that the logic of EDP, whereby stakeholders’ interaction is used to open new domains of technological and market opportunities and to inform governments’ decision-making, is strong and sound. However, the practice has highlighted that:

(i) The EDP needs to be part of the entire policy cycle, where stakeholders are involved from the identification of priorities to their implementation;

(ii) One EDP size does not fit all, and local specificities must be the EDP's starting point.

The role of government is to act as a platform to enable, sustain and guide stakeholders’ participation across the entire policy cycle. This brings new opportunities to policy makers, as well as important challenges.

Download the "Entrepreneurial discovery process" pdf file

 

How to support EDP beyond the priority selection phase?

Challenge

The EDP is not a once and for all process: it should be practically extended beyond the priority identification phase, namely the design phase of the S3. This can be done through targeted investment in collaborative projects with potential to involve more than one priority area.

Response

The French region Franche-Comté which has been recently integrated in the broader entity Bourgogne Franche-Comté Region identified its S3 priority areas - including microsystems and micro-techniques for the luxury industries - through a process that combined both numerous interactions between the regional government and the industry and statistical mapping of the regional structures.

The regional government has been further pursuing stakeholder mobilisation within priority areas by stimulating and supporting new collaborative projects. Following a call for proposals and an evaluation completed by a committee of experts external to the region, three large scale projects involving firms and research partners were selected and are currently carried out.

While each of these projects operates its own way, they constitute platforms for supporting potential synergies and spillovers between their respective priority areas, in this way allowing for new cross-cutting activities to be discovered and possibly become new targets for policy support. One agent conveying these spillovers is the Femto-ST Research Institute of the University of Franche-Comté which is involved in all projects.

More information

See the region’s ERDF-ESF 2014-2020 operational programme webpage (in French)

Keywords

Entrepreneurial discovery process, continuous EDP, priorities, universities

Challenge

The EDP needs to go beyond the prioritisation phase and permeate policy making at different stages. It is particularly important to involve stakeholders in policy implementation, as it ensures actors' trust and commitment to the strategic objectives of the S3, as well as alignment of market needs and opportunities with policy intervention.

Response

As a result of the EDP stock-taking exercise that took place in Slovenia, a number of partnerships were established to support S3 implementation. These partnerships are open entities, where representatives from business, research, academia, NGOs, public sector may join or leave the group at their own initiative. However, partners are be required to provide their own funding as a way to guarantee engagement and cooperation. The internal management structure of the partnerships is tailored according to the technology and market-specific characteristics of each S3 domain, with some transversal partnerships covering more than one domain. Partnerships have the objective, among others, to maintain open dialogue throughout the policy cycle (implementing the EDP as a flow). This modus operandi was approved by all stakeholders, as it appeared clear that the process of identifying and focusing on investment priorities should be a continuous living and changing one.

During the preparation of S3 a substantial shift occurred, a drive to change the mind-set and perception of key actors including businesses and researchers. After many networking events, promotional activities and consultations, stakeholders no longer looked at the process from afar but are now taking ownership of it and co-creating trends and policies.

More information

See the country’s S3 webpage (in Slovenian)

European Commission (2016) Smart Stories - Implementing Smart Specialisation across Europe, European Commission Publication Office.

Keywords

Entrepreneurial discovery process, continuous EDP, priorities, stakeholder platforms

Challenge

The EDP needs to go beyond the prioritisation phase and permeate policy making at different stages. It is particularly important to involve stakeholders in policy implementation, as it ensures actors' trust and commitment to the strategic objectives of the S3, as well as alignment of market needs and opportunities with policy intervention.

Response

In Wielkopolska (PL), following the adoption of the S3 by the Regional Parliament (March 2015), the S3 Forum is in charge of animating stakeholders' dialogue and interaction. It comprised six Working Groups, each being responsible for a domain of specialisation. In this way the EDP is connected with the institutional process being carried out by the Interdepartmental S3 Team and the Wielkopolska Innovation Observatory at the Marshal Office of the Wielkopolska Region.

The Forum members (92 participants, of which 56 companies) are expected to have an impact on both S3 implementation and the regional operational programme. The Office has gained valuable partners which are able to formulate enterprises' needs, hence facilitating the establishment of effective innovation policies. The Forum Working Groups (182 participants, of which 10 companies) appear to be strongly involved in the process. This kind of cooperation enables and encourages linkages between businesses and science partners.

More information

European Commission (2016) Smart Stories - Implementing Smart Specialisation across Europe, European Commission Publication Office.

Keywords

Entrepreneurial discovery process, continuous EDP, priorities, stakeholder platforms

How to maintain stakeholders' engagement?

Challenge

The EDP poses significant demands to stakeholders in terms of time, effort and commitment. Hence, the public sector must be responsive and devise feedback mechanisms to ensure that stakeholders know how their participation to the EDP is affecting policy decisions, thereby avoiding stakeholders’ exhaustion.

Response

In Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (GR), the EDP required not only introducing, for the first time, participatory dialogue in the RTDI policy making, but also reigniting trust-building towards the public sector. This mechanism required that stakeholders who took part in the EDP be kept informed about policy outcomes. This was made possible through two types of events:

  1. EDP focus groups – a set of four sectoral events, aimed at generating innovative ideas through interaction between business, public and research sectors within the S3 priority areas

  2. The Project Development Labs (PDL) – a set of two events aimed at processing the EDP ideas and moving them towards implementation, identifying funding opportunities and action plans for policy. During the second PDL, in particular, policy makers presented to actors of the Triple Helix the draft calls for proposals, which were developed in light of the EDP focus groups. Stakeholders could comment on those, as well as develop their ideas further with the support of experts in R&D funds.

More information

Boden, M., Dos Santos, P., Haegeman, K., Marinelli, E. and Valero, S. (2015) European Parliament Preparatory Action "Actual and desired state of the economic potential in regions outside the Greek capital Athens", Administrative agreement (aa) no. 2014ce160at056 between dg regional policy (REGIO) and DG Joint Research Centre (JRC) Final Report December.

Keywords

Entrepreneurial discovery process, continuous EDP, stakeholder platforms

How to implement EDP at local, sub-regional level?

Challenge

The EDP concept is flexible to operate at different territorial scales. To apply the EDP principles at the sub-regional level can improve its effectiveness, yet, it would require a strong coordination and alignment between the S3 at the local and regional scale.

Response

In the territory of Tajo-Salor-Almonte (region of Extremadura, ES), the Local Action Group of Rural Development of TAGUS, capitalising on key features of the S3 approach and building on the experience of the LEADER programme, led its own sub-regional EDP. The territory thus identified its local comparative advantage in the exclusively local cheese 'La torta del Casar'. The rural EDP allowed local actors (e.g. farmers and knowledge institutions) to address jointly the weaknesses of their production system, e.g. the lack of capacity to attend market demand during peak seasons. On the one hand, the implementation of sub-regional, local EDPs and S3 illustrates the recognition of the process potential by local actors and policy-makers. On the other hand, the EDP logic generated the challenge for different public administrations to coordinate initiatives and policies at regional and local level.

More information

See the EDP section of the TAGUS project webpage (in Spanish)

Keywords

Entrepreneurial discovery process, continuous EDP, priorities, multilevel governance

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