The Region of Crete started to apply the Smart Specialisation Strategy (RIS3 Crete) as a new approach to promote the reform of the local economy by revitalizing traditional and emerging specific activities, and by updating its production potential. RIS3Crete is coordinated at headquarter level by the Regional Governor and by the Regional Council of Research and Innovation, and at an executional level by the Department of Development Planning of the Region of Crete.
The Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) has been an experimental process and much has been learnt through implementation so far. The multi-level governance structure for implementing RIS3 is well established and all relevant departments are working together in a cooperative way, ensuring the smooth running of the process. Three elements were vital for the success of the process: 1) having one innovation platform for each priority 2) the website (http://ris3.crete.gov.gr/) and 3) the use of an electronic platform for the submission, classification and initial evaluation of ideas/projects from stakeholders during the EDP.
The Department of Development Planning has promoted EDP in Crete. Firstly, the Environment Innovation Platform was set up with a proactive working group on “Energy Saving and the Water Cycle”. Moreover, thanks to the fruitful campaign on RIS3 Crete, the launch of a call for expression of interest and dedicated website, 57 proposals/ideas were collected. After a series of technical meetings and consultations with companies, academic and research bodies, 52 proposals/ideas were presented. The consultation was coordinated by specialised thematic experts who helped the participants interact with each other, provided feedback and evaluated the proposed ideas. The conclusions of the 1st EDP phase were approved by the Regional Council of Research and Innovation.
A similar modus operandi was put in place for the Cultural tourism area with a focus on “Countryside Tourism”. The Working Group communicated on the RIS3 approach and organized meetings in Crete's four prefectures (Chania, Rethymno, Heraklio and Lasithi). 66 proposals/ideas were submitted on the web site, with a significant level of participation from entrepreneurs. The results were approved by the Regional Council of Research and Innovation.
The Agro-Food EDP established the Agro-Food Innovation Platform and relevant working group. The first consultation focused on specific products (olive oil, milk products, horticulture, vine/ wine products) in the 4 areas of specialisation: 1) Smart agriculture and livestock farming, 2) Environmentally-friendly agriculture - livestock farming and adaptation to Climate Change, 3) Traceability and food safety in the agro-food sector, 4) Circular economy. RIS3 consultation and discussions took place with entrepreneurs, academic and research bodies all over Crete (Heraklio, Ierapetra, Chania, Rethymno and in regional offices). There was a high level of participation with a total of 81 ideas/proposals submitted electronically on the RIS3 Crete website. The results were approved by the Regional Council of Research and Innovation.
The Managing Authority of the Crete Region issued the first call for proposals in December 2017, based on thematic areas identified by the EDP. More Calls for proposals based on EDP results are expected in the next period.