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[ Index ]
|Examples of how the territorial capital and innovation needs have evolved in areas with high levels of outmigration, which are dominated by single crop farming and where the management of water resources is difficult|
|Components of the area’s capital||Examples of losses||Examples of gains||Examples of innovation requirements|
|1- Physical resources||
Pollution of watercourses and wasted water resources.
Pollution from solid waste.
Deterioration and poor use of the architectural heritage (very dilapidated physical appearance of villages).
Availability of public funding for environmental measures.
Renovation of a series of historic buildings for tourism purposes, with a very positive aesthetic impact.
|2- Culture/ Identity||
Decline in the relationship of solidarity between generations.
Failure to develop traditional cultural events.
|Consolidation of collective links relating to the main product, determined by the area’s identities and interests.||
Promotion of tourist products that incorporate traditional cultural
Support for collective activities related to the main product.
|3- Human resources||
Emigration of the most highly skilled young people and lack of opportunities for those who remain.
|Encouragement for young people to set up businesses.||Youth training to halt depopulation; involvement of young people in maintaining the environment and other activities which open up new prospects.|
|4- Institutions and governance||
Failure to support new generation of collective players.
Failure to support new generation of political representatives and disputes between them.
Proliferation and fragmentation of measures for the area with no institutional consultation.
Loss of mechanisms for settling disputes.
Creation of marketing and promotion consortia.
Creation of a consultation and integrated planning structure in the area itself.
Emergence of sectoral associations for women and young people.
Creation of a collective awareness about maintaining the
Strengthening of the integrated planning initiative among the different players.
Support for the creation of new leadership positions for women and young people.
|5- Know-how and skills||Decline in knowledge of traditional craft techniques and failure to recover former know-how in modern products.||
Gradual integration of new technologies in all production processes.
Establishment of links with research and development.
Development of products and services with a local content.
Incorporation of the design in product packaging.
Search for opportunities to develop traditional craft techniques
with the support of modern technologies.
Putting craftsmen into contact with artists in order to update product design.
|6- Activities/ Business firms||Lack of successors to take over from elderly farmers.||
Creation of services for the community and for businesses.
More competitive services for marketing and access to markets.
|Search for tools to support new generation of entrepreneurs and local businesses.|
|7- Access to markets and relations with the outside world||
Reduction in traditional personal consumption.
Increasing problems of access to markets for the main product due to increased competition.
Improved access to new markets (tourism, Internet, etc).
Greater integration into marketing and information networks.
Active search for distinctiveness by improving quality.
Creation of new local markets for quality products, by developing
direct links between producers and consumers.
Stepping up of direct marketing in towns by means of collective marketing mechanisms and increasing participation in European sales networks.
|8- Image and perception||
Deterioration in the image of the architectural heritage.
Lack of awareness of the value of redeveloping villages.
Increase in and enhancement of services (catering, accommodation, etc).
|Fairs attracting large numbers of visitors.||
Diversification and consolidation of the area’s image.
Boosting the appeal of local fairs.
Boosting the appeal of the area’s tourist and leisure services.
An area’s innovation requirements cannot be determined solely by comparing the present with the past. They can also be ascertained by analysing existing imbalances, weaknesses that require specific intervention, etc.
b) Identifying one or more unifying themes
How is it possible to define the diverse innovation requirements that are identified in an area? How can they be organised as part of an overall territorial project? To achieve this, the identification of one (or more) core structural principles or “unifying themes” can play a decisive role.
The quality of a unifying theme for an area depends both on the ability of this theme to act as a lever in encouraging the emergence of initiatives and innovations that correspond to the diverse requirements that have been identified, and on the extent to which it matches the highest aspirations of local players. It is this dual ability - of relevance to needs and local player involvement - that it is vital to foster.
Identifying one or more suitable unifying themes calls for an effort of imagination and a comparison with what is happening in the field. This is where one discovers the necessary alliance between a voluntarist projection into the future (which often involves a degree of wishful thinking) and the concrete constraints of reality referred to earlier. More often than not, these two opposing approaches are proposed by different people or even institutions, hence the importance of a wide-ranging collective debate, which takes time, often years.
Over the years many LEADER areas have identified unifying themes that have taken shape and been gradually refined as they were put into practice.
In the Antico Frignano region (Emilia-Romagna, Italy), the LEADER group focused its actions on four unifying themes: chestnuts, arts and crafts, Benedictine monasteries and the old Emilian Roman road. These four unifying themes act as focal points of interest that make it feasible to create new activities.
c) Conducting the reflections as part of an integrated approach
Some difficulties are likely to emerge in defining a territorial project and developing a strategy if the debate on innovation requirements and unifying themes fails to be carried out in an integrated way. In a way, the integrated approach is the “ingredient” that gives coherence to the whole and makes it possible to decide what is a priority and what is not, and to prioritise objectives and actions.
This integrated approach makes it possible to identify existing imbalances, which again can involve more specific innovation requirements. There might be spatial imbalances, such as the existence of a more disadvantaged section of the area which requires more specific measures, or there might be social, cultural or other imbalances. It is vital to take such imbalances into account in order to secure the harmonious development of the area in the long term and to boost its potential, thereby increasing a territorial project’s room for manoeuvre and chances of success.
The integrated approach makes it possible to identify possible synergies and to find innovative solutions to make projects viable and create a multiplier effect. This approach also makes it possible to consider the inter-relationship between the different planned actions, whilst at the same time finding solutions for implementing them over time.
In conclusion, the integrated approach serves as a common thread running through the entire process. It provides a system-wide view that takes into account the interactions between the various components.
The following chapter puts forward a number of ideas on how to create a territorial development strategy based on the integrated approach, in light of the LEADER experience.
 To make an assessment, local
players can draw up a similar table
along the same lines:
The eight components of the area
What have the principal “losses” been over recent years?
What have the principal “gains” been over recent years?
What are the principal innovation needs?