Governance and EDP Governance and EDP

The Smart specialisation policy concept promotes the structural transformation of Slovenia.

First, as stressed on the national Slovenian Smart Specialisation Strategy's website, the approach has facilitated the set-up of the national innovation priorities towards diversification of existing industries and service activities, as well as the engagement in new entrepreneurial activities. Thanks to its strategy, Slovenia has identified three priority pillars ("Industry 4.0"; "Healthy working and living environment"; and "Natural and traditional resources for the future") with nine relative areas of application.

Second, the newly established Strategic Research & Innovation Partnerships (SRIPs) that bring together quadruple helix representatives have emerged as structuring tools that strengthen stakeholders' decision-making process towards joint strategic projects. Their aim is to promote the convergence of a wide range of technologies services, and social innovations in a systematic way. More than 500 key actors - involving inter alia firms and higher education institutions - are now engaged in bottom-up initiatives and networks that recognise the need for cooperation and integration. Working on the nine application areas, they have adopted road maps and action plans for joint development activities, internationalisation, human resources development, entrepreneurship and joint services promotion. The bottom-up process has also triggered an optimisation of the State's regulatory framework in the field of Research & Innovation and economic policies. The Slovenian Entrepreneurial Discovery Process is continuous and ongoing.

Third, the Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) has brought about a major change in the government policy-making process. Rather than perceived as the country's financing institution, the government is recognised as a facilitator of change that supports the business-innovation ecosystem. It is worth noting that flexible and efficient policy schemes have buttressed interdepartmental coordination within the government office. The Slovenian government has conferred powers to S3 working groups which involves high level representatives from the three line ministries and acts as SRIPs counterpart and as an authority supporting and monitoring S3 delivery at strategic level.

Moreover, this process is helping Slovenia enter global value chains. The introduction of efficient policy instruments - dedicated SRIPs as well as Research & Innovation S3 related calls - is helping the government to better focus on niche areas, enhance international networking and improve the country's visibility at international high-level forums. "Specialisation facilitates building up and complementing capacity among different EU regions, which results in achieving critical mass in specific fields, and, in turn, enhances the potential for global competitiveness"[1]. Last but not least, both Slovenian NUTS-2 regions have joined the Vanguard Initiative that supports world-class clusters and regional eco-systems through pilot projects and large-scale investments.

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Slovenian Government office for development and European Cohesion Policy's website

Peter Wostner, "From Projects to Transformations: Why Do Only Some Countries and Regions Advance?", in EStIF, (1/2017 – Vol. 5).

 

[1] Slovenian Government office for development and European Cohesion Policy's website

RED IDI, the Spanish national network of Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) public policies, is considered as a fundamental instrument to generate synergies between regional, national and European RDI policies. It is a good example of national-regional coordination that works towards the effective implementation of Smart Specialisation Strategy., Its objective is to optimise the design, implementation and development of public support frameworks for innovation, thus contributing to the better use of funds, in particular, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Though set up in 2010, its value blossomed with the entry of S3 on the scene, in the current ESIF cycle 2014-2020, since the S3 process is a new and ambitious approach that places new demands on governance structures and on interaction across regional and national levels.

The network has contributed greatly to overcome the problem of the lack of coordination between regions as to RDI strategic settings, and has facilitated the harmonisation between the regional S3. Considering the unique framework of territorial administration in Spain characterised by a high level of decentralisation, the network has played a key role in bringing the seventeen autonomous regions together. It has supported efficiently the regions in the process of defining their Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) by identifying the most promising and collaborative specialisation areas of expertise (see the matrix on page 7).

Besides, the RED IDI has favoured regions' involvement in the S3 process on a continuous basis. Thanks to its flexible modus operandi, the network has enabled the exchange of ideas between regions and the recognition of each other expertise and complementarities. By building trust, the network has brought forward a common framework for monitoring and evaluation of the strategies. It has defined clear, measurable and transparent objectives and milestones to promote or, where appropriate, adjust policies and programs.

One of the key successes that can be attributed to the network is that it enables Spanish regions to entering European value chains. Indeed, they are strongly represented within the Smart specialisation thematic platforms in the domains of Energy, Agro-food and Industrial Modernisation (more than sixty times in total). More developed regions, transition ones together with less developed regions play an active role in partnerships. For instance, The Basque country is present in six partnerships and leads three of them; Andalusia is active in five partnerships and leads two of them; Extremadura is present in five partnerships and is leading the one on solar energy.

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The Six City Strategy, is carried out by the six largest cities in Finland - Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku and Oulu – which gather 30% (1,68 million people) of the Finnish population and represent 40% of total company revenues. The network aims at developing a sustainable urban development environment that fosters new products and services, and at creating world-class reference sites as well as economies of scale. It also seeks to embed an operating model for joint urban development at different levels of the city administration.

In line with the key Smart Specialisation national priorities, the cities' innovation strategies objectives are either the same or complementary to the regional Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3). Funded through an Integrated Territorial Investment mechanism that encompasses ERDF, State and municipalities financing as well as ESF, the Six City Strategy has three thematic focus areas: open innovation platforms, open data and interfaces, and open participation and customership. The cities have opened its data to encourage their commercial use and help companies scale-up their business to the six cities. The project portfolio ranges from smart mobility, clean technologies and agile piloting, to creating development environments for product testing and boosting open data for business.

One of the cities' challenges is to adapt rapidly to the needs of the cities and regions. Thanks to the S3 implementation, the Six City Strategy has put in place a strong governance system within a multi- level framework. From a national perspective, the six cities act as an intermediate body that integrate S3 priorities to build up and implement common projects. From a regional standpoint, representatives of the six cities provide updates about the implementation of the strategy in regional management committee meetings once or twice a year. At these occasions, the challenges and upcoming changes in the operational environment can be discussed. They jointly defined the content of the calls for project proposals and participate to the selection of projects and funding allocated. Besides, the progress of the strategy is presented to city decision-makers and politicians on a regular basis. Resources for the joint strategy office are shared evenly and each city decides how to organise and share their part at local level. At the local level, the entrepreneurial discovery approach has strengthened the involvement of all stakeholders in co-development projects. This cooperative modus operandi enables the cities to be reactive and adjust their policy intervention swiftly according to market needs.

Another key challenge is to involve businesses in the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP). The Six City Strategy engages all stakeholders from the quadruple helix – companies, cities, research organisations and citizens – in a bottom-up process to co-develop and test news solutions and address concrete issues, such as social and health care services and school settings. The programme is based on procuring fast experimentation of up to six months to companies. The city has designed a network of pilot environments including both physical and virtual spaces that act as test-beds for stakeholders to run their initiatives in real-life settings. The goal is to promote cooperation and collective learning that benefit all the actors involved. The project network shares knowledge, results and lessons learnt in various workshops and events.

First results achieved so far: the six cities have gained closer cooperation. For instance in project proposal preparation, they have improved their capacity for joint undertaking of the competences and innovation capabilities of each other and have used this knowledge in development works. A stronger network has emerged within and between the cities' operational entities. Further work is carried out on cross-sectional and cross-administrative development projects. Besides, the collaboration between cities and companies has become more systematic.

The Six City Strategy has about thirty projects running in various domains including smart mobility, cities as a testbed, gaming and learning, health and wellbeing, urban data modelling, education, etc.

By opening their data, the cities have enabled companies to create commercial scalable products. For example, same on street parking application is available within the 6 cities where users can park their cars and pay by using a mobile phone application. Moreover, new service production models and new innovative procurement processes are being tested together with companies. There are many other pilots, like robot busses, that have been tested in real user environments.

 

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