In Denmark we have been following the main principles of smart specialisation for quite some time. Since 2006, the key actors in this process have been six regional growth fora, and at national level the Danish Growth Council. The growth fora meet four times a year and consist of regional political leaders, mayors, trade unions and employer associations. Usually, they are headed by the political leader of the respective region who is also a member of the national Growth Council. The other Council members include representatives of firms, knowledge institutions, and local authorities.
The national Growth Council essentially has two tasks: to think strategically by providing advice through joint statements (one to two themes per year, e.g. future needs for qualified labour) and to ensure an effective and continuous coordination process with regions. It is based at the Ministry for Business and Growth, enjoys political support and promotes the coordination between the national growth strategy and the regional S3.
Publicly available regional partnership agreements define common objectives and activities. While neither legally binding nor supported by funding, they embody the overall agreement between regions and the national government. The secretariat of the Growth Council monitors the progress of these agreements in a simple dashboard that is shared internally. Smart specialisation has further institutionalised this process by making it more structured, highlighting the need to concentrate, prioritise and think bigger in terms of future R&I domains.