The LARS project partners met up in Hamburg November 28th-29th for the partner meeting of this intensive and important phase of the project, this time hosted by Hamburg University of Applied Sciences.
Focus during the autumn 2019 meeting were good practices, regional challenges and the matching of these between regions, all part of the fourth work package of the project. In Hamburg each region presented to each other their own good practice, the biggest gaps between expectations and experiences of their region and the proceedings of the local learning seminars with the regional stakeholders in which all the good practices of the LARS partners have been presented and discussed.
Progress in WP4
Overall partners felt that the local learning seminars were fruitful and that the seminar concept worked on a regional scale. Based on the discussions with stakeholders in every region each region presented the good practice that interested their region the most. At the end of the meeting a list of matches between problem and good practice was presented as a next step towards the fifth work package.
In a competitive world the regional innovation system has continuously be improved in order to respond to challenges. There are differences in who are the drivers for the change. A company driven innovation system do not necessarily see the regional needs outside their own value-chain. Consequently, does publicly driven changes have difficulties in attracting the attention and the perspectives of the companies. The LARS project is looking for improvements supporting innovation in public sector policies. This implies that the public sector should be a driver, the public administration handling ERDF-funds, providing financial incentives and knowledge producers concluding on policies.
Even if it may be difficult to gather the stakeholders but data containing 141 interviews with carefully selected companies, public organizations, universities and NGOs was the base for the findings. This supplemented with qualitative analysis from interviews, partner reports and focus group meetings, where the quantitative data were verified by the informants was the base for the exchange of good practices.
The specifics of how to document the process in work package four and the results from them were discussed. Through group discussions the elements of a good practice were explored further. This face to face meeting generated an agreement on putting an effort on documenting the good practice process in detail through success and failure factors and storytelling among more straightforward factual descriptions.
Concluding on the process it was found that it had worked well. A “good practice” is context-bound as it provides an answer to an identified gap in the innovation system.
Time to test good practices
The project is now moving on to the next stage with Latvia taking the coordinating role of the fifth work package in which the aim is to test methods to transfer good practices to problems in other regions. This stage is greatly anticipated among the project partners and the substance and strict deadlines were discussed and agreed upon during the partner meeting in Hamburg.
The meeting was highly effective with the attendants also having time to enjoy the Christmas spirit in Hamburg through a traditional German Christmas market or “Weihnachtsmarkt”.