Peer eXchange & Learning (PXL) is a methodology for reviewing specific elements of innovation strategies for smart specialisation and territorial development strategies as well as tackling the associated implementation challenges. PXL aims at addressing the issues that emerged in the transition from the strategy design stage to the implementation phase. It is an important instrument offered by the S3 Platform of the European Commission to the EU Member States and regions.
PXL builds on the well-established peer-review approach of the S3 Platform. It supports transnational learning by bringing together regions and countries for knowledge and experience exchange, and the exploration of ways in which innovation and development strategies can be effectively implemented, adjusted and revised.
PXL creates an open and trusted learning environment where practical and conceptual issues can be discussed and explored through the experience of individual stakeholders. It engages peers and experts in focused discussions on important issues raised by the regions and countries under review, and guides them to distil a range of collective suggestions and lessons into a coherent picture.
PXL workshop is composed of representatives of the regions and countries under review, peers and experts together with the European Commission staff. It targets preferably a community of policy-makers and practitioners that have already made substantial advancement in the definition of policy strategies, and are at the stage of transforming planned objectives into results through concrete actions.
It has a single thematic frame: governance settings, priority definition, monitoring, policy mix, etc.
It runs over one full day and includes peer review of 2 to 4 regions and/or countries. Individual PXL sessions focus on one region or country and last around one and a half hour.
The opening session is launched by expert presentations and a debate around the key topic. It should set the scene and provides a broad set of views, approaches and insights for the individual PXL session. The debate can take the form of a “YES & NO” dialogue between 2 experts who will alternately provide arguments in support and against common practices or believed-to-be-good practices in the defined field. The discussion will help to stimulate the following discussion to go beyond traditional formulations of problems and solutions.
The workshop continues with individual PXL sessions. A presentation of each region or country's current work on the topic is generally followed by a Q&A session.
Specific issues identified by the regions and countries under review are then discussed at individual tables in two iterations, which ensure that participants can:
- Work together to understand the actual problems
- Propose solutions to these issues by discussing good and bad practices
- Learn together how to deal with new policy issues in new contexts.
An S3 Platform team member facilitates each PXL session and encourages all the stakeholders to partake in the discussion and pinpoint key messages. This approach allows participants to engage in a dynamic and creative discussion, which benefits all participants.
PXL final session enables each member to summarise the results and discuss the lessons learnt individually and mutually. The stakeholders under review have the opportunity to respond to any feedback collected throughout the workshop. They may share with the peers the way in which newly acquired knowledge can be turned into short to mid-term plans.
Objectives and Expected Outcomes
Regions and countries volunteer to be reviewed in an attempt to source both critical and well-timed advice addressing specific issues they are currently facing in the implementation of innovation and development strategies. Countries may also view PXL workshops as a good opportunity to build their networks of counterparts across Europe.
PXL sessions aim to achieve the following outcomes:
- Better understand the thematic frame of the PXL workshop
- Provide general methodological feedback to each region and country under review
- Examine the specific issues presented by the stakeholders under review and address the way in which they could be tackled or solved
- Build-up awareness and knowledge about issues that are common across Europe.
During the workshop, the S3 Platform team members collect relevant information and data covering different elements of each PXL exercise. To ensure regions and countries under review receive adequate feedback from their peers, the S3 Platform triangulates the feedback and information provided by three groups of participants through an online survey: regions and countries under review, their peers, and experts. Based on the feedback from three groups of participants, the S3 Platform team further develops summary/feedback reports.