In designing and implementing the S3 for Lower Austria, we have built on our experience with regional innovation strategies dating back to 1997. The strength of the smart specialisation concept is its focus on cross-sectoral innovation discoveries and we have therefore designed our strategy, including the monitoring mechanism, to fully exploit this. More specifically, we have sought to foster interactions on two levels: Instruments, meaning the coherence and synergies between programmes in the policy mix, underpinned by greater inter-institutional collaboration; and Technologies, referring to prioritised support to activities that cross sectors and disciplines.
Implementing smart specialisation is difficult without an appropriate monitoring system. As they say, 'You get what you measure!' and it also helps to 'fine tune' the strategy. Our programmes are monitored by a balanced score card method, learning from its use in previous innovation strategies. This includes performance data such as publications, critical size and collaborative projects. With S3 new indicators have been added to reflect the cross-instrument and cross-technological emphasis. This in turn has led to initiatives that reflect the indicators.
As an illustration, we now measure the impact of inter-institutional collaboration on the related instruments and programmes, including the targets and focus of the programme managers. This has led to an intensification of collaboration between clusters and technopoles, fostering diversification of technological know-how and promotion of further regional specialisation – for example, the food cluster and Technopole Tullm have assembled a large consortium called FoQQSI where academia and companies work together with public agencies on food safety challenges.