Posts Tagged ‘RTI/RTDI’

EFP Brief No. 153: Extremadura Regional Foresight Exercise

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

The Extremadura region has carried out the first regional foresight exercise to help devise a global strategy for the socio-economic
development of the region so as to enhance economic growth. The main agents involved in regional development set out to plan a desirable
future for the region and clearly define investment priorities. The Extremaduran foresight exercise aimed at projecting the position
of key sectors and technologies in the context of future international trends.

EFMN Brief No. 153_Extremadura_Foresight

EFP Brief No. 150: Strategic Capacity Building in Clusters to Enhance Future-oriented Open Innovation Processes

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

For the purpose of increasing and sustaining business and regional long-term competitiveness, information and training modules were developed to enrich cluster development policies with tools that give incentives for and facilitate ‘outward-looking’ (open innovation) and forward-looking (foresight, technology assessment) activities and thus provide strategic guidance for developing future-proof, open innovation processes. After testing the tools in ICT, mechatronics and life sciences clusters, they are now being applied in a trans-regional foresight approach to develop a joint research agenda for clusters in the economically more and more important creative industries.

Regional Cluster Development to Systematically Boost Innovation

In the globalising knowledge economy, regional clusters are increasingly understood – in particular with respect to their ‘non-regional’ dimensions – as local nodes in global knowledge
flows. The Innobarometer 2006 on clusters’ role in facilitating innovation in Europe confirmed that companies situated in clusters are more innovative and competitive than companies outside. In strategically guided and well-managed clusters, the enhanced innovativeness and competitiveness at the firm level finally results in sustainable regional economic development. Thus, policy-makers at all administrative levels use cluster support instruments to systematically boost innovation and competitiveness of both businesses and regions. The cluster concept captures current discussions of managing (regional) innovation systems and open innovation processes at both the regional and business level. At the business level, management professor H. Chesbrough claims a fundamental shift in innovation paradigms from closed to open innovation and advocates collaborative and open innovation strategies and open business models to take the full benefit from collaborating with external partners. More and more, (in particular multinational) enterprises take into account, in addition to internal resources, the competences of external partners to meet the challenges of  ncreased complexity of research, technological development and innovation (RTDI), growing global competition leading to shortened ‘time to market’ etc. Regional clusters as ‘innovative hot spots’ and local nodes in global innovation networks play an important role for companies looking for external partners to form strategic RTDI collaborations. The business strategy of collaborative and open innovation at the micro-level poses considerable challenges for macro-level innovation policy. For example, new complex interactions and relationships emerge and continue to evolve between public
research organisations and industry, which in turn lead to new ways of organising and managing R&D and innovation by all stakeholders in an innovation system. Thus, horizontal and vertical coordination of policies and support of cross-sectional linkages and networks are imperative for systemic and interactive RTDI policy making. In this respect, (trans-) regional cluster development is broadly seen as an adequate and effective instrument to enhance and coordinate knowledge flows and collaboration between regional stakeholders coming from industry, science and public administration.

Linking Forward- & Outward-looking Approaches

Both the discussions on open innovation business strategies and on systemic regional innovation policies emphasize the vital role of strategic intelligence for innovation and point to the value added of linking forward-looking and openinnovation-focused approaches.
To develop and implement successfully future-oriented collaborative and open innovation processes, businesses rely on strategic economic and business intelligence in order

  • to generate common visions about longer-term market and
    technological developments,
  • to derive promising new products and services and define
    future business models, and
  • to develop and agree on joint innovation projects with
    external strategic partners.

Thus, in a world of open innovation, future-oriented technology analyses – comprising foresight and technology assessment activities – are decisive for strategic knowledge generation and transferring it into new products and services. The faster and easier businesses gain access to strategic knowledge and integrate it in their company strategy, the more successful they will be. This becomes evident in ‘business ecosystems’ where businesses co-evolve their capabilities around new technologies and jointly design a kind of ‘mass customization’ of new products and services to satisfy individual customer needs and to succeed in the worldwide ‘competition for the future’. Though, many enterprises (in particular SMEs) mostly rely on more easily accessible, short-term market information (e.g. from their clients). They often do not know how to sustainably
realise their full market potential by

  • thinking and acting more in a longer-term perspective and
  • developing strategic alliances and networks.

Due to restricted internal resources, most of them would have to use external strategic knowledge if they realise the need to change their business-as-usual approaches. In this context, strategic cluster support instruments can help these enterprises meet future challenges and support strategic capacity building in the region. Strategic cluster support combines forward- and outward-looking approaches (e.g. in cluster foresight type activities) to facilitate knowledge creation processes contributing to long-term competitiveness and sustainable economic development. Specifically, it

  • promotes knowledge exchange and strategic learning processes between cluster stakeholders in order to create a localised and unique knowledge stock,
  • facilitates cross-cluster, trans-regional and transdisciplinary knowledge flows and strategic business linkages to enrich and refresh the local knowledge pool with external impulses and to leverage complementary assets
    and capabilities of clusters in different regions, and enables cross-cluster policy learning and pursuit of common aspects of strategic cluster policies.

Orchestrating Business and Cluster Strategies

The sustainable success of cluster development depends substantially on the concerted actions of many different actors – multiple levels of government and public agencies, companies, educational and research organisations etc. In this context, it is crucial to develop a common vision and to  implement a cluster strategy that

  • reflects the specific needs of the cluster stakeholders,
  • focuses on the most promising international technology and market development perspectives, and
  • integrates a broad range of (European, national and regional) public policies and private sector activities.

Combining forward- and outward-looking approaches also means

  • to provide the regional stakeholders with strategic longerterm orientation by taking stock of available strategic knowledge from both public (e.g. regional foresight) and private actors (e.g. from corporate foresight or roadmapping activities in large companies) and
  • to align business strategies and longer-term regional cluster strategies.

To summarise, succeeding in linking forward- and outwardlooking approaches and creating a multi-actor, multi-level coherence of strategies and congruent activities means leveraging synergies.  Multiplier effects can be achieved (e.g. bundling forces to boost innovation effectively), and better – because broadly based and mutually strengthening – economic decisions lead to increased and  sustained business and regional competitiveness. These positive impacts can be made sustainable if, in addition to facilitating access to external strategic knowledge, the strategic capacities of the  innovation actors themselves are systematically built up in a way that takes into consideration their different absorptive and knowledge management capabilities.

The Connect2Ideas Approach – Strategic Capacity Building in Clusters

The FP6-funded project Connect2Ideas (June 2006 to May 2008) aimed at fostering trans-national technology transfer – mainly between multinational enterprises (MNEs) and SMEs – by enhancing future- and open-innovation-oriented thinking and acting in SMEs, related business networks and clusters. In this context, the Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ) developed a series of two consecutive workshops on Strategic Capacity Building & Open Innovation and tested it in three regional clusters in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany with varying open innovation regimes and institutional settings (ICT, mechatronics and life sciences clusters). The strategic experience and knowledge of MNEs, for instance through corporate foresight, strategic planning and open innovation, should be used to improve strategic capacities also in their business environments (clusters, regions and institutions)

  • to overcome mostly short-term orientation by recognising the strategic relevance of future-oriented collaborative and open innovation activities,
  • to develop common visions concerning future trends and challenges (using horizon scanning techniques with a time horizon of ten years) and, based on these results,
  • to derive joint innovation projects aiming at sustainable long-term cooperation.

Target groups and participants were MNEs (e.g. Siemens, IBM, SAP) with deep roots in the region, SMEs, research and education organisations and other regional stakeholders including representatives from public RTDI funding agencies and public administration.
The preparation phase included

  • identifying and mobilising MNEs, company networks and business clusters and
  • analysing in an innovation audit type approach the strengths and weaknesses of the cluster-related innovation system with specific focus on the barriers to open innovation processes.

Common Vision about Trends and Challenges

The first workshops introduced various methods, concepts and approaches to strategic ‘future management’ and then focused on the development of a common vision about future trends
and challenges using specific foresight and TA elements and techniques such as

  • SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)/ STEEPV (social, technological, economic, environmental, political and values) analyses to identify key global trends
  • and (based on local strengths and weaknesses identified in advance) to discuss common longer-term challenges and opportunities, and impact analyses to assess the impact of the most relevant trends with a specific focus on business perspectives: for instance, future markets (customer needs), business models, innovation and value creation processes, requirements with regard to human resources (qualifications, skills) etc.

Future-oriented Open Innovation Processes

Based on the results of the first workshops, the subsequent workshops and follow-up activities focused on the development of joint innovation projects aiming at sustainable longterm cooperation using techniques such as

  • technology watch/scouting to identify existing or wanted technologies in the international business environment,
  • value chain analysis to identify potential international cooperation partners in the respective global value chain and innovation network, and
  • partner search and search for funds to identify potential strategic cooperation partners for the cluster stakeholders including relevant funds (e.g. FP7, CIP, ERDF, national, regional) for subsidising the strategic collaboration.

Success Factors and Outcomes

Critical success factors of the workshop series included the comprehensive preparation in close coordination with the responsible cluster organisations (e.g. preparing a draft SWOT and value chain, motivating the relevant cluster stakeholders, attracting high-reputation external experts for keynote speeches etc.). The quality of the introductory statements of the keynote speakers was also important to stimulate a constructive debate on future trends, specific impacts and open innovation processes. These workshops could only prepare the ground for forward- and outward-looking thinking and acting. Thus, interested cluster actors and stakeholders were provided with ongoing advice and assistance for implementation. The pilot workshops in Baden-Wuerttemberg contributed to increasing the strategic capacity at the firm level as well as at the level of regional economies and decision-makers:

  • They provided a basis for collaborative innovation projects with regional and international partners in the specific cluster and regional value chain (e.g. in the context of the German ‘Excellence Cluster’ competition).
  • The involved ministry decided to continue the workshop series in the framework of its participative regional innovation and new cluster policy. In this respect, the workshops
    served as a trigger for further cluster foresight activities in Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Outlook:
From Connect2Ideas to CReATE

The Connect2Ideas approach highlights the fact that strategic guidance enriches traditional regional RTDI policy instruments by generating a creative atmosphere and a seedbed for ongoing learning processes. Thus, it provides – independent of different local open innovation regimes and   institutional settings – a genuine value added – both for businesses and cluster policies. The Strategic Capacity Building & Open Innovation workshops demonstrate how linking forward-looking and openinnovation- focused approaches can support strategic capacity building in clusters and thus enhance future-oriented open innovation processes at the business and regional levels:

  • Businesses overcome their mostly short-term orientation by recognising the strategic relevance of longer-term perspectives and collaboration with external partners.
  • Regional RTDI policy-makers take into account the specific needs of the cluster stakeholders with respect to future challenges and opportunities, and, on this base, create long-term, sustainable competitiveness perspectives and framework conditions for the innovation systems.
  • Aligning future-oriented business strategies and longerterm regional cluster strategies lead to better, broadly based and mutually strengthening innovation processes contributing to increased and sustained competitiveness.

Based on the Connect2Ideas experience and in the context of the German (national) ‘Excellence Cluster’ competition, SEZ developed specific training modules for facilitating and improving
strategic cluster development at multiple levels:

  • cluster level: developing a common vision and strategy for the cluster and defining an action agenda that reflects the unique needs and capacities as well as the most promising international technology and market development perspectives;
  • ‘sub-cluster’ level: refining the cluster strategy, adopting the strategy and agenda to the specific needs and capacities of the respective ‘sub-cluster’ network and implementing concrete joint actions;
  • single firm level: training in future-oriented strategic innovation management results in an endogenous base for competitive, business specific roadmaps and strategies.

This triad in developing innovation-related strategies in clusters leads to aligned innovation processes and therefore increases the impact of coordinated RTDI actions. To avoid negative rigidity
and lock-in effects and to create a climate conducive to visionary, out-of-the-box thinking, the knowledge exchange with external partners is an important element in all strategy processes. In this respect, SEZ took up the Connect2Ideas approach and elaborated for the FP7-funded ‘Regions of Knowledge’ project CReATE (March 2008 to October 2010) a methodology to develop a trans-regional joint research agenda for clusters in creative industries sectors. Creative industries already contribute substantially to economic value creation and employment, and their importance is expected to grow further. So far, however, only some regions benefit from the economic stimuli of creative industries. In addition, enterprises in this sector highly depend on transregional and trans-disciplinary collaboration. Addressing both issues, CReATE aims at boosting the sector as a whole in Europe, especially by stimulating future-oriented open innovation processes between the  takeholders of creative industries clusters. The CReATE methodology uses a modified Connect2Ideas approach to define research priority areas decisive for the future innovativeness and competitiveness of the clusters. Agreeing first on regional priority areas (based both on regional excellence and ‘aspirations’), a trans-regional joint research agenda will be elaborated in a coordinated process of interlinked regional and trans-regional phases. By integrating the broad spectrum of stakeholders (including funding bodies), regional and trans-regional project ideas will be developed. The impact aimed for is to improve the innovativeness and international competitiveness of the creative industries in the participating regions, but also to stimulate growth beyond them in the EU. Processes of learning from and dissemination of the approach and findings beyond the project frame will be secured by tailored training workshops on future-oriented strategy development for companies and cluster managers.

 

Authors: Dr Björn Sautter sautter@steinbeis-europa.de
Dr Günter Clar clar@steinbeis-europa.de
Sponsors: European Commission (FP6/FP7), DG ENTR / DG RTD; regional bodies and enterprises
Type: Cluster foresight exercise
Organizer: Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum, Stuttgart, Germany (responsible for the project parts described in this brief)
Duration: 2006 – 2010
Budget: € 370,000
Time Horizon: 2020
Date of Brief: Septmeber 2008

Download: EFMN Brief No. 150_Open Innovation

Sources and References

Project website Connect2Ideas: www.connect2ideas.com
Project website CReATE: www.lets-create.eu
For further information, please contact
Dr Bjoern Sautter (sautter@steinbeis-europa.de), or
Dr Guenter Clar (clar@steinbeis-europa.de)
http://www.steinbeis-europa.de/340.html

EFP Brief No. 148: Transregional Foresight to Improve and Coordinate Regional Innovation Strategies in Europe

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Empowering the strategic development of Europe’s regions is a critical requirement for transforming the EU into a competitive knowledge-based economy. To this end, regional decision-makers need to be enabled to design and implement better RTDI policies, and also to benefit from a better coordination of regional, national and EU policies. By developing and testing a new model of transregional foresight, the ForTransRIS project supports this aim. It thus contributes to the improvement of regional innovation strategies (RIS) through a transregional perspective. The transregional foresight model to upgrade RIS is tested in the five partner regions taking the issue of transregional knowledge and technology transfer as a concrete case.

The Role of Regions in Increasing EU Competitiveness

The systematic regional application of foresight and related approaches both in the public and the private sector is increasing in importance because the regions have a vital role to play
in the EU’s drive to develop a common European Research Area (ERA). EU goals include achieving the 3% of GDP target for investment in research, technological development and
innovation (RTDI) set by the European Council (Barcelona 2002) and the optimisation of research programmes and priorities envisaged by the Commission (Green Paper on New Perspectives
for the ERA, 2007). In this context, empowering the strategic development of Europe’s regions is a critical requirement for transforming the EU into a competitive knowledge-based economy.

Foresight exercises appropriately adapted to distinct regional conditions and capabilities can effectively aid decision-makers in designing and implementing better RTDI policies and investment
strategies. They support regional authorities in continuously reviewing and developing the institutional features, strategic capacities, and the organisational skills and expertise
to design and implement research and innovation policies that can increase the regions’ competitiveness. This is important not only for the regions’ own economic well-being but also
because of the cohesion ‘risk’ it could pose for the European Community if some regions remain marginal in terms of knowledge-based activities. An additional contribution to a more competitive EU is achieved when the strategies in the different regions are developed in a way that leads to an overall optimisation of programmes and priorities in the EU, at and across governance levels.

Benefits of Applying Foresight  for Regional RTDI Policy Making

A comprehensive uptake and application of foresight and related tools (such as technology assessment, evaluation, benchmarking etc.) is needed so that decision-makers can master the mounting pressures to deliver tailored and futureoriented RTDI policies. The advances made in this respect have encouraged policy-makers in some territories to use the tools more systematically to produce customised intelligence and know-how, thereby facilitating innovation and learning processes in their economic systems and societies. In so doing, they benefited from

  • the timely identification of new science and technology developments and possible areas of their beneficial application in all policy fields;
  • the elaboration of a solid information base for RTDI policy-making, taking into account the general context as well as good practice from elsewhere;
  • the formulation of policies explicitly aimed at stimulating science and technology and its application integrated in the innovation systems;
  • the effective introduction of a user perspective on the application of science and technology for economic growth and social enhancement.

The strength of a foresight approach to RTDI policy-making stems from bringing together specialised technical expertise (both technology expertise and foresight process know-how), diverse, distributed local know-how and broad participation of stakeholders. The complexity of the policy challenges requires technological expertise; local knowledge and broad stakeholder participation serve to feed and anchor expert deliberation and ensure the relevance of such expertise to the outcomes and the implementation of the foresight exercise; the process know-how ensures that successful strategies are formed as a result of the comprehensive collaboration of all these different resources.

The project aimed to raise awareness among decision-makers in Europe’s regions and encourage them to benefit from the knowledge and experience that can be gained by applying foresight in their own regions. Participants were regional policy makers and development agencies from Navarra (Spain), StuttThe policy-makers thus need to move from the traditional topdown, reactive approach to one that is proactive, participative, evidence-based and uses transparent methods in finding solutions to the modern policy challenges. The new approach embraces foresight and related tools not only to gain access to difficult-to-acquire strategic information for decision-making but also as socio-economic mobilisation tools to raise awareness and create consensus around promising solutions.

The strategic know-how generated in this way is crucial at two levels:

  • enterprises rely on business and economic intelligence in order to define future business models and to generate common visions and activities with innovation partners (e.g. in ‘business ecosystems’ or clusters) based on the permanent and worldwide competition for the future;
  • innovation policies rely on policy intelligence that enables all actors to develop shared visions and long-term commitment between the triple helix stakeholders (university – industry – public actors) in the innovation system.

Successfully linking strategic knowledge on both levels will lead to better economic decisions, which in turn lead to increased and sustained business and regional competitiveness. This challenge necessitates the tailored application of foresight exercises on all decision-making levels, from European, national to (trans-)regional, cluster and individual company levels.

Especially the regional level with its specific abilities and potential should be taken stock of to align governance levels both horizontally and vertically. To do so, there is a need for more systematic regional foresight applications. Thus, further progress is needed in various respects to facilitate the use of foresight approaches on the regional level by 1) adapting foresight methods and related tools, 2) adapting and tailoring the implementation of foresight exercises, 3) positioning regional foresight exercises in the respective policy context and, finally, 4) improving regional foresight exercises through transregional cooperation.

The ForTransRIS Project – Transregional Foresight to Improve Regional RTDI Policies

The FP6-funded project ForTransRIS, which ran from January 2007 to December 2008, concretely tackles the aspects outlined above and especially deals with improving regional foresight exercises through transregional cooperation. The project aimed to raise awareness among decision-makers in Europe’s regions and encourage them to benefit from the knowledge and experience that can be gained by applying foresight in their own regions. Participants were regional policy makers and development agencies from Navarra (Spain), Stuttgart(Germany), Brittany (France), Stockholm (Sweden) and Liguria (Italy), supported by foresight expert partners in each region.
The ForTransRIS project developed and tested an approach to improve regional decision-making by applying regional foresight in a transregional perspective (see graph below). The transregional foresight exercise was developed building on the experiences and needs of the participating regions and aiming to enhance the individual regional innovation strategies as well as the general ability to apply foresight for regional RTDI decision-making by way of this cooperation.
As a first step, the overall approach on how to conduct individual foresight exercises on the regional level and then further elaborate and transfer the results to a joint transregional level was developed. It was decided to test the approach by applying it to the field of knowledge and technology transfer and its ability to enhance regional innovation and competitiveness. Approaching this issue from the regional and transregional dimension was expected to be especially useful because of the high innovation benefits that all actors can gain by cooperating within and across regions. In the ForTransRIS project, transregional knowledge and technology transfer (TKT) was defined as “the process through which the scientific and technical knowledge (either tacit or codified), generated in one organization (source), is exploited economically by a firm by means of a complex interaction and cooperation between the source and the firm and, usually, other players.”

148_bild1

Once the structure of the exercise had been set up, an analysis of the five regional innovation systems was carried out by the regional partners. They conducted desk research and interviews with all relevant regional innovation systems actors by using a structured questionnaire to identify the innovation needs, barriers and future aspirations as seen by the stakeholders. In addition, opportunities and challenges for knowledge and technology transfer within and among regions were identified, which (can) result from and facilitate transregional cooperation. In a next step, the foresight experts synthesised and compiled the regional analyses into a smaller number of drivers to find out which issues are most relevant for each region and at the same time most promising to be dealt with on a transregional level.

The drivers were categorised into the following groups:
– economic system,
– RTDI policies,
– knowledge system,
– human resources, and
– social issues.

The regional actors then evaluated the drivers during a workshop according to their future relevance and probability of occurrence. Then, each region developed a vision based on these drivers about how knowledge transfer should look like in the region in the future. Based on these visions, the evaluation results and the input from the regional analyses, the most relevant aspects for developing transregional scenarios were identified. The most relevant aspects the scenarios built upon are

– a fragmented vs. integrated governance system;
– the degree of propensity to business risk and innovation
among the regional innovation stakeholders.

By combining these opposite situations for the two aspects, four scenarios give different pictures of what the future could look like depending on the development of the drivers. In order to facilitate the analysis, only two scenarios were elaborated in more detail: the ‘stormy’ scenario, which can be
seen as the extrapolation of today’s situation based on the enhancement of its negative features; and the ‘sunny’ scenario, which can be seen as the most favourable framework for TKT (optimal scenario). The other possible scenarios, ‘rainy’ and ‘cloudy’, describe intermediate situations. They might be a transient state in the evolutionary process from ‘stormy’ to ‘sunny’, or, realistically, the
most likely situations when systematic strategic cooperation between the different regional actors fails to be established. The main issues affecting TKT considered in the scenarios are the following:

  1. SMEs’ business models (related to product/process innovation; approach to market; internationalisation)
  2.  SMEs’ ways of networking and interactions with knowledge providers (ways, tools, trust)
  3.   Human resources: training and management policies and attraction of talents to a region
  4. Start-ups (by researchers, women, young people)
  5. Entrepreneurship of universities and public research organisations (entrepreneurial spirit, responsiveness to SMEs’ needs, quality of research)
  6. Regulations especially for intellectual property rights and standards (for environment, communications, administrative procedures etc.)
  7. Infrastructures at European scale (transportation, communication etc.)
  8. Structure of the European market
  9. RTDI policies of governments (EU, national, regional) and tools to adequately implement them
  10. Territorial identification (citizens, institutions), social and political culture, consumption patterns (sustainability)
  11. Competitive position of regional firms against new rivals from emerging countries

The scenarios display what knowledge and technology transfer within and among the regions could look like and how it might be facilitated by transregional activities in the future. They can be used to raise awareness among regional stakeholders concerning which future state they deem preferable and discuss what can be done to achieve it. In ForTransRIS, this was done during scenario validation
workshops in each partner region. There, it was discussed if the scenarios were indeed feasible for the region and which issues were most relevant. The most relevant issues from each region were then matched to find out which issues were most relevant for all regions.

The three issues identified were:

– new business models for SMEs,
– networking, and
– entrepreneurial attitudes of public research.

During a transregional panel workshop attended by stakeholders from all partner regions and complemented by external experts and stakeholders from other regions, these issues were discussed and further elaborated (main characteristics, possible transregional actions, …) as a basis for the roadmap development to follow. The foresight experts in the project then used the scenarios,
the input from the regional scenario validation workshops and the outcome from the transregional workshop to develop a roadmap for each of the three issues. The roadmaps display how each region can improve its innovation system by drawing on the knowledge of other regions and by cooperating on knowledge and technology transfer issues. This aims to guide the regions towards the implementation of joint actions in these fields. In parallel to the implementation of the transregional foresight exercise, the lessons learned during ForTransRIS and the approach used were synthesised in the ForTransRIS Methodology Guide to enable other regions to benefit from the experiences
made during the project.

Transregional Foresight as a Strategic Policy Resource

The experiences made and the know-how gathered during the ForTransRIS project shows how regional decision-makers can make their regional innovation systems and policies more viable and competitive by applying strategic know-how more frequently and consistently, for example generated by transregional foresight activities. This is especially important in the
increasing global competition for infrastructure, enterprises and highly qualified human resources. Using a tailored set-up for transregional activities enables the participating actors to take stock of the comprehensive knowledge available in other regions, to raise awareness and mobilise all relevant regional stakeholders, to identify the most relevant issues for their concrete regional needs, and thus tailor regional policies and programmes for the benefit of longterm competitiveness and innovativeness of the region. Accordingly, the ForTransRIS approach ensured that the transregional foresight exercise was adapted to the regional needs and expectations and that, in turn, future regional foresight activities can benefit from the transregional experiences as well as the other region’s expertise. Thus, by applying foresight systematically to shape regional policies regional decision-makers will contribute to both the
successful development of their own region and to fostering the coherence and success of European programmes, priorities and policies.

Authors: Sabine Hafner-Zimmermann (hafner@steinbeis-europa.de), Dr Günter Clar (clar@steinbeis-europa.de), Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum Stuttgart
Sponsors: European Commission (FP6) and participating regional organisations
Type: Transregional exercise
Organizer: Navarra Government, Pamplona, Spain, Mr Rafael Muguerza, rafael.muguerza.eraso@cfnavarra.es
Duration: 2007 – 2008
Budget: € 800,000
Time Horizon: 2018
Date of Brief: September 2008

Download: EFMN Brief No. 148_Transregional Foresight

 

Sources and References

  • Project website www.fortransris.net
  • For further information, please contact the authors of this brief (hafner@steinbeis-europa.de, clar@steinbeis-europa.de, http://www.steinbeis-europa.de/374.html), or
  • the project co-ordinator Rafael Muguerza (rafael.muguerza.eraso@cfnavarra.es)

EFP Brief No. 141: Research, Technology and Innovation Policy in Vienna

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

In 2006, the City of Vienna initiated a far-reaching, open strategy process on the orientation of its future research, technology and innovation (RTI) policy. The aim was to develop, in a participatory process, a comprehensive strategic framework and concrete proposals for municipal RTI policy actions until the year 2015. By then, Vienna is aiming to be among Europe’s leading metropolitan areas in research, technology and innovation, as the hub of a network of research locations in the Central European Region (CENTROPE). The objectives, challenges and fields for action to be tackled in order to reach this position were translated into a set of concrete measures, some of which are to be started in 2008.

Vienna as a Centre of Science and Research in Central Europe

Vienna is the key centre for science and research in Austria as well as in the wider central European area to which it belongs. With its “twin capital” Bratislava being only 60 km away, it occupies a unique position in Central Europe. As mirrored in international benchmarks, the Austrian innovation system has gone through a phase of fast growth of R&D expenditures and internationalisation. Austria is increasingly recognised as one of the leading European countries in research. Austria has accomplished major structural reforms, affecting universities as well as research funding bodies, many of which are located in Vienna. Simultanously, several Austrian regions have initiated or reinforced their RTI policies. Vienna already launched an active RTI policy in the early nineties and was now confronted with the necessity to revisit the institutional and RTI policy landscape.

At the same time, new challenges were identified that would have to be tackled in order to keep pace with the international developments in science, technology and innovation, with new employment patterns and with the need to further upgrade research and innovation performance. In 2006, it was therefore decided to initiate a process of strategic debate, bringing the growing number of diverse actors together in an open and selfcritical debate.

Systems Research in the Urban Area: Groundwork for RTI Policy

The strategy process was built on solid ground. In addition to a number of specific studies, it drew on the results of the largescale research programme “Systems Research in the Urban Area” that provided the analytical groundwork and took first exploratory steps towards identifying future challenges to the RTI policy of the City of Vienna. The results of the programme later on served to fuel the debates in the different expert panels in the strategy process phase. The goal of this comprehensive research programme was to identify scientifically founded observations and analyses to underpin the development of an integrated, future-oriented urban research and innovation policy.
Initiatives in this urban policy area were expected to contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of firms in the city, thus fostering the socio-economic development of the Vienna metropolitan area by giving those impulses a regional government can specifically provide. Central to the research programme was the combination of different perspectives on the current situation of the urban innovation system.

Strategic Development in Four Scenarios

The preliminary results from the various analyses from different perspectives were brought together during a forwardlooking integration phase in spring 2006, i.e. before the start of the actual strategy process. In this phase, four scenarios were developed, which served as a backdrop for later elaborating elements of an RTI policy strategy for the city of Vienna. The essence of these four scenarios is captured in their titles:

  • Innovative niches: application potential of science
    and technology;
  • Fast second mover: exploitation in the focus;
  • Multi-centric excellence: leveraging complementarities;
  • Excellence4me: Vienna as a centre of science.

From Fragmentation to Strategic Action: “Wien denkt Zukunft“

Following this preparatory phase, which was initially not even intended to lead to a participatory strategy process, the main phase of the project “Wien denkt Zukunft” started in November 2006 with a major kick-off event attended by over 500 participants. The title “Wien denkt Zukunft” is actually a wordplay, which is not fully captured by the English translation “Vienna Looks to the Future – knowledge means change“. Over the following twelve
months, a broad participative debate on RTI policy strategies for the city was conducted. Many players coming from various units of the municipality, from universities and other research institutions,
from the education sector, and from (high-tech) business contributed to the process. The discussion was intended to develop a comprehensive strategy and vision for municipal RTI policies by both identifying areas for action and implementing adequate policy measures until the year 2015. The figure below shows the course of the described process:

141_bild1

Inspired by the preparatory research, four core themes were identified on which experts panels focused their work (see Figure 1):

  • RTI in business;
  • Research priorities and knowledge transfer;
  • Science and society;
  • Urban development for research.

Each of the panels was chaired by a leading actor in urban RTI policy, coming either from a municipal department in charge of research agendas or from a public research funding agency in charge of research agendas, in order to ensure the ownership and link with current policy initiatives. In addition, four crosscutting topics were included in the work of all panels:

  • Gender aspects;
  •  Human resources;
  • EU-policy;
  • Networking.

Viennese RTI Strategy Goes Public

The process started with a kick-off event (opening session) at City Hall with prominent proponents from politics, academia and business and several hundred participants. After the opening session, the panels established themselves and each panel met between three and five times over the following months. In addition, regular inter-panel meetings and meetings with the supporters were held throughout the whole period. A website served to document the discussion and also offered the public an opportunity to contribute to the process with own ideas and proposals throughout the whole period. The participatory nature of the strategic process is demonstrated by involving more then 100 players from various areas in the panelwork. Additionally, major public events were organized at the beginning, half-way through and at the end of the process in order to gather further input from a broad range of stakeholders, complemented by interactive tools made available on the accompanying website (www.wiendenktzukunft.at).

Identifying Ambitious Objectives

One of the goals of the strategy process was to identify targets and objectives for optimising the process of research and innovation with the help of the multi-level RTI policy measures used in Vienna. The identified targets and objectives for developing the RTI strategy for the city can be summarized as follows:

  • increase Vienna’s research expenditures to 4% of the gross city product;
  • 22,000 individuals employed in the R&D sector;
  • 800 companies engaged in R&D;
  • 20% of the population having a university degree;
  • 200 SMEs taking part in projects of the EU’s Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7);
  • rate of female researchers in the business sector is to increase by 100 per cent.

Five Main Challenges

A cross-panel analysis revealed five main challenges that would need to be tackled over the coming six to ten years:

  • Making effective use of the potential for research, technology and innovation by creating adequate conditions for young people, irrespective of their origins, to pursue a successful career as scientists and researchers.
  • Enhancing RTI quality and visibility with respect to international competition for investors.
  • Embedding RTI into society: providing space and occasions for public discussion about RTI, its opportunities and challenges.
  • Accelerating the dynamics in RTI by creating adequate infrastructure.
  • Integrating Vienna RTI within European networks and strengthening co-operation within the CENTROPE region in order to create a common RTI area that will successfully compete in Europe and in the world.

Addressing the Challenges

Within its jurisdiction, the City of Vienna can provide stimuli for achieving the identified goals. Options for translating these goals into specific measures can be conceived along the lines of the main determinants of innovation ranging from push factors in the area of science (e.g. R&D subsidies, selective subsidies complementary to national subsidies), through acceleration of the transfer process (selective measures such as licensing initiatives, venture capital), to pull factors in the area of socio-economic demand or application potential on the demand side.

141_bild2

Bearing in mind this broad spectrum of options, the RTI process “Wien denkt Zukunft” identified five key fields for action on which the City of Vienna will concentrate its RTI policy in the next years:

  • Human resources – Bright Minds for Vienna: The goal of activities in this field is to make better use of the city’s enormous human resource potential. Various activities will serve to improve the prospects and conditions for highly qualified young scientists, with a special focus on gender issues and populations that have been neglected in the past (e.g. university graduates with a migration background).
  • Key areas – profile and relevance: Specific thematic areas that are both relevant and visible are to be supported, building in particular on the existing key areas of life sciences, information and communication technology and creative industries. In addition, the development of a number of new avenues of research and innovation is being promoted.
  • Research and the city – communication, learning and public awareness: The three terms form a catchphrase to express the serious interest in strengthening the critical public dialogue about RTI, both within Vienna and on the international stage. By means of a new set of measures called “Vienna research in dialogue”, a critical and continuous exchange of knowledge about RTI with the citizenry is to be fostered.
  • Vienna as a hothouse for research and innovation – facilitating new developments. Further improvement of working conditions for scientists and creative individuals are called for by providing local networks as breeding grounds for invention and creativity.
  • A European location for research and innovation – Vienna as a hub for international networks: Vienna is to be established as the centre of international research networks, and of networks in the CENTROPE region in particular. In this context, Vienna’s network-based location of research and innovation will be further strengthened.

The Schedule for 2008

Based on the objectives, challenges and measures identified during the strategic process “Wien denkt Zukunft”, several concrete proposals for new projects or initiatives were developed in the five fields of action. Six of these projects have been prioritised (“kick-off projects”) and are likely to be implemented in the coming two to three years (see Figure 2). For the year 2008, the initial three projects have been endowed with approximately 14 million euros.

  • Under the title of a “Keynote Programme” for the specific fields of research in the humanities, the social and cultural sciences (on the side of the already well established programmes for life sciences, information technologies and the creative industries) will be actively promoted. One of the first calls in this area was scheduled to start March 31.
  • Expansion of the “Research and the City” campaign. Under the slogan “Vienna research in dialogue”, the City will address essential contemporary and future issues in the field of science, research and technology. Communication between the various special interest groups and organisations will be encouraged and strengthened.
  • In revising the City of Vienna business promotion principles – “ZIT 08plus” – more attention will be given to crosscutting issues of RTI policies, such as promoting innovation in the service sector, encouraging research cooperation and gender mainstreaming.
Authors: Barbara Grunewald                                            barbara.grunewald@arcs.ac.at

Matthias Weber                                              matthias.weber@arcs.ac.at

Sponsors: City of Vienna
Type: Urban participative process, Focus on RTI
Organizer: Municipal Department MA 27, Christian Wurm  christian.wurm@wien.gv.at; www.magwien.gv.at/forschung
Duration: 2006-2007
Budget: n.a.
Time Horizon: 2015
Date of Brief: March 2008

Download: EFMN Brief No. 141_ RTI Policy in Vienna

Sources and References

More Information is available at :

  •  http://www.wiendenktzukunft.at
  • wiendenktzukunft.at/downloads/strategie_lang.pdf
  • wiendenktzukunft.at/downloads/strategie_kurz.pdf

An English summary is available at:

  • http://www.wiendenktzukunft.at/downloads/strategie_eng lish.pdf

For information concerning “Systems Research in the Urban

Area” visit

  • innovationspolitik-wien.ac.at

EFP Brief No. 124: Foresight to Strengthen a Regional Innovation Strategy – the Case of Lower Silesia

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

The UPRIS foresight exercise built upon the Regional Innovation Strategy (RIS) of the Lower Silesia region in Poland. The foresight complemented RIS with a broader based and longer-term know-how for sustainable regional development. It was a participative process involving panels of experts and regional stakeholders, which were to discuss future challenges facing Lower Silesia and possible options for meeting them. The panels elaborated normative scenarios, which served as a basis for developing an action plan for RIS and a plan for trans-regional cooperation. In this way, a cornerstone was laid down for sound, well informed and future-oriented policy-making in Lower Silesia.

EFMN Brief No. 124_Foresight_Lower_Silesia

EFP Brief No. 122: Strategic Policy Intelligence for Regional Decision-Making

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

The RegStrat-project explored new ways of combining foresight with other strategic policy intelligence (SPI) tools, such as technology assessment, evaluation, benchmarking and innovation auditing, to advise regional decision-makers along the whole policycycle on the best ways to apply these tools to design and implement regional research, technological development and innovation (RTDI) policies and programmes, and related RTDI investment strategies. This approach is tested in pilot applications in the six participating regions. Based on this, a guide is developed to support regional decision-makers in applying and combining SPI tools.

EFMN Brief No. 122_RegStrat