When the RIS3 process began, we had limited experience in the design and delivery of regional innovation policies However, we have subsequently benefited from dedicated support in following the S3 methodology provided by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) through a preparatory action of the European Parliament (EP).
Before the preparatory action began, we did have a draft strategy with priorities based on a detailed analysis carried out with the support of local experts. A key contribution of the JRC was to catalyse and sustain an entrepreneurial process of discovery to refine the selected priorities and move towards implementation, including the launch of pilot calls. We also needed to reflect on an appropriate governance structure, how to integrate the regional and national RIS3 and understand some of the more complex issues around implementation, such as state aid policies.
A core activity was the establishment of EDP focus groups, bringing together stakeholders from the quadruple helix to work together using participatory approaches. Subsequent project development workshops and online consultations were designed to take the most promising ideas forward.
The most important result of this project was that we got to grips with S3 methods, and adopted new ways of thinking, behaving and working. In particular, stakeholders were brought together in new formats and challenged to develop feasible R&I ideas within - and even across - the priority areas. The EDP focus group approach has since been adopted by other regions in Greece, with strong interest also from Bulgaria and Turkey in holding similar events.