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Methodological guide for the analysis of local innovation needs

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The goal sought by LEADER is the development of each rural area through four dimensions:
  • an economic objective to adapt, keep and create jobs and business;
  • a social objective to reinforce cohesion and integration;
  • a cultural objective to take ownership of and enhance heritage, rebuild and reinforce local identity;
  • an objective to preserve and renew available resources.

The stakes are sustainable development of the area, taking into account:

  • the internal opportunities and constraints linked to factors produced by the history of each area;
  • the external opportunities and constraints stemming from the opening of local economies;

We propose to analyse these opportunities and constraints through 8 key points which, in some respects, can overlap:

  • mobilisation of the local population and social cohesion,
  • culture and identity of the area,
  • activities and jobs,
  • the area's image,
  • migration and social and vocational integration,
  • the environment, management of space and natural resources,
  • the development of technologies,
  • competitiveness and access to markets.
Around these eight key points, each area is able to identify and analyse the specific challenges facing it, like for example:
  • reinforcement of practices of participation of populations;
  • enhancement of the area's identity;
  • diversification and adaptation of activities and services;
  • renewal of the area's image;
  • integration of new workers or management of the rural exodus;
  • enhancement of the natural heritage;
  • management of new technologies;
  • management of competitiveness and access to markets.

Innovation, whether it refers to the creation of new products or services, the implementation of new procedures, methods or forms of organisation, is at the heart of the comparison between these constraints and these opportunities. It is the means to face the main challenges confronting the area and is part of the dynamic that enables, in particular:

  • to foresee changes and adapt to them rapidly;
  • to develop the special quality of the area and that which cannot be relocated or reproduced elsewhere;
  • to diversify the comparative advantages;
  • to strengthen the networks and centres of exchange and decision;
  • to renew structures of management and socio-economic organization;
  • to enhance what one is and what one is doing.
In this perspective, innovation appears like the lever for change and the adaptations necessary for the sustainable development of the area.

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