The Fifth Learning Seminar – Thoughts on Policy Advice
In late April, the LARS project held its fifth partner meeting and transnational learning seminar. The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in Riga. However, due to the corona pandemic, the partners met digitally. Still, the two-day meeting was a success and the partner eagerly shared insights and results from their past work in the LARS project.
The project has now finalized its fifth work package focusing on policy transfer. The projects results are now coming to life as partners have analyzed how the good practices identified in one region could be implemented through pilots in another region. To assure a successful transfer, the partners have looked at contextual factors of the good practices and policies, created a roadmap for implementation and mapped barriers and resistance to strategic change.
The LARS connectivity model – a new policy innovation
The LARS project builds upon a connectivity model that has been used to discover gaps in cooperation in the regional innovation system. The model enables a bottom-up policy approach. Stakeholder interaction is at the heart of the model. Moreover, in selecting stakeholders to involve in the entrepreneurial discovery process, aspects of urgency, legitimacy and power have been evaluated. The results of the project show the capacity of the model in creating involvement and proactiveness as well as a joint vision among stakeholders. These are important factors for achieving policy changes in the regions.
In comparing the regions, the results show that the entrepreneurial discovery process works differently depending on the level of cooperation in the innovation ecosystem. In larger and more fragmented ecosystems, there is a need to focus more on detailed stakeholder analysis and building up trust and cooperation throughout the process. In other words, trust-building among different actors need to be in place in order to achieve policy changes later-on in the process.
Finally, the results show that the connectivity model acts as a valuable means for getting in-depth evidence on placed-based issues that are important to invest in and problems that need to be solved on a regional level. This methodology is therefore of particularly importance and use in multi-level governance.
Insights on how regions are implementing smart specialization in practice
The LARS project provides valuable insights on how regions are implementing smart specialization in practice as well as on the role of regions in driving green growth in new industries.
It is important to build up an institutional role in dealing with transforming society towards a green shift. Moreover, the partners’ work shows the importance of mapping barriers and resistance to strategic change in implementing new policies. In this way causes for unsuccessful outcomes may be detected. Drawing upon these results, a wider conclusion is that the project’s approach towards identifying risks and barrier to changing policies with the planned measures would be beneficial to also apply more widely, for example when planning new programs.
The project also reveals, that the process of identifying and transferring good practices and implementing pilots based upon these serve as low-hanging fruit to achieve policy changes. Therefore, this approach should be further capitalized on. This may particularly be of advantage among innovation followers in Europe by contributing to an overall European innovation productivity growth.
With these insights in mind the project now moves on to the sixth and final part. In this work package the partners will continue to work with implementing pilots. In addition, the project will further elaborate on the results and communicate findings through several policy briefs and statements.