In Malta, putting the entrepreneurial discovery process into practice has given rise to a wide representation of interests and knowledge sharing by an unprecedented array of stakeholders. We took particular care to involve the private sector and social partners, in addition to public administration and academia. This process required all parties to ‘charter into unknown territories’ and learn together in a spirit of open dialogue. It is safe to say that the design of RIS3 involved one of the largest exercises of engagement with stakeholders in our history of R&I policy.
Starting with a blank slate, without preconceived ideas of Malta’s specialisations, initial desk based research provided statistical trends in various economic sectors, employment trends and R&I funding. All major stakeholders were then interviewed individually using a set of open, general questions to unearth individual knowledge and expertise ‘on the ground’. A workshop organised for the private sector analysed and validated the initial findings, recommending areas for further consideration.
This work led to the creation of dedicated thematic focus groups which helped draft a first version of the RIS3. After a formal consultation, the new R&I Strategy 2020, including Malta’s RIS3 areas was adopted in 2014. However, this is not the end of the journey. We know that entrepreneurial discovery needs to remain an ongoing process underpinned by a strong governance mechanism. The Core Group and the Steering Group provide invaluable political and technical direction to the process and ensure that all major players remain engaged and supportive of the RIS3 process and its implementation.