Since the 1990s the states of Berlin and Brandenburg developed their own separate innovation strategies. We soon realised that we faced very similar challenges and problems in knowledge transfer activities. Therefore in 2007, both our governments decided on five “Future Fields of Excellence” in joint working groups, leading to nine pilot projects with “cross-border commitments” for joint RTD financing schemes. This process, which reflected closely the thinking on smart specialisation, resulted in regional clusters for each "future field", culminating in the joint innovation strategy innoBB of 2011. Institutional structures were designed to support the selected R&I priorities. Clusters implement innoBB through Master Plans, based on sectoral SWOT analyses and which are up-dated regularly to ensure flexibility.
The S3 process naturally built on our experience with innoBB. It made us face up to new challenges: A lack of resources (esp. funding and reduction of ESIF), fine-tuning the governance structure and low private R&D activities/better involvement of SMEs. Up-dating the Master Plans that implement innoBB will focus on the right mix of different instruments, which need not be sector-specific; a key lesson we drew from smart specialisation.
What distinguishes our story is the close cooperation between two political-administrative regions that have come together to develop a joint R&I strategy. Based on the understanding that functional regions and their complex interdependencies do not stop at regional borders, innoBB covers both federal states Berlin and Brandenburg. An important lesson is that such a comprehensive process takes time, trust and confidence to find acceptable solutions for issues that arise along the way.