In the beginning of April, the LARS project held its third partner meeting and transnational learning seminar. This time the partners met in the beautiful city of Lillehammer, in the heart of Norway. The partner meeting was hosted by Oppland county authority.
In the third work package, the partners have held regional focus group discussions in order to present interview data on experiences and expectations of cooperation between different actors in the innovation ecosystem. The idea of the discussions has been to deepen the knowledge about gaps and bottlenecks in the cooperation and about good practices existing. Against this background, the purpose of the learning seminar was to present and compare the findings from the partners’ triple-helix gap analysis and focus group discussions.
As the partners presented their results, it became clear that the method used, that is, the Ostrobothnian Model of Smart Specialization, (See: Section 7.2 pp.127-132) also works in an international context to measure the connectivity of the innovation system. As a result, we can conclude that the model can be a valuable approach for transnational learning which can be spread far beyond the project partners.
Innovation driven by different actors
During the meeting, University of Vaasa presented a comparative analysis of the findings. This analysis pointed out that quadruple helix actors at a regional level are perceived as most important innovation partners in all regions. However, there are also great differences between the partners in terms of how the regional innovation systems function and who drives innovation. For example, regional NGOs have a strong role and influence in Hamburg. Moreover, In Lithuania, Ostrobothnia and Västerbotten regional universities are appreciated by all actors in the innovation system, whereas Latvia, Hamburg and Oppland have weaker connections between regional universities and companies.
Based on the comparative analysis of the findings, the project now moves into the fourth phase. Here, the purpose is to match partners based on identified needs to strengthen cooperation in the innovation ecosystem and existing good practices that can be transferred.