Smart specialisation as a vehicle for stakeholder engagement
Smart specialisation and its requirement for an entrepreneurial discovery process has been a trigger for widespread stakeholder participation in Bulgaria, presenting us with a real opportunity to engage constructively with all actors of the innovation system.
Over 1000 participants in 20 events from academia, NGOs, regional authorities, companies with high innovation potential, innovation leaders, individual entrepreneurs, and citizens have come together to select four thematic areas of specialisation: Informatics and ICT, Mechatronics and clean technologies, Industry for a healthy life and biotechnologies, and New technologies in creative and recreational industries. With all four thematic areas being based on the ambitions, proven excellence, and objective needs of business, we now hope and expect great success.
A new governance structure involving the quadruple helix has been established. It involves entrepreneurs and business at each hierarchical level for the very first time. With the chance to directly influence the process of decision-making, participants view the achievement of objectives as a mutual responsibility.
The process has demonstrated that what we need is an innovation process driven by business, which itself is best placed to tell the government about its needs. It is up to scientific discovery to respond to these demands. In addition, each planning region of the country and each municipality should find their place in the process, thus developing competitive advantages of their own. That’s the only way we can implement innovation that adds value to our economy and achieve sustainable growth in the long run.