Refining the Large-scale Demonstrator Strategies for the six Model Regions Published on: 14/08/2014, Last update: 01/07/2015
The work of the European Service Innovation Centre (ESIC) is being undertaken in the six model demonstrator regions of the Canary Islands, Emilia-Romagna, Limburg, Luxembourg, Northern Ireland and Upper Austria. ESIC is providing advisory support towards the implementation of a model demonstrator approach or Large-scale Demonstrator approach. This approach represents a move from small-scale prototypes to large-scale, near-market service innovation projects in which a range of solutions are being tested under real life conditions.
Since the start of the initiative, there has been an on-going dialogue between ESIC and representatives of the model demonstrator regions that has centred on ESIC’s analyses of each region. Many discussions have taken place during study visits and peer review meetings, which have resulted in a shared understanding of current policies and framework conditions and the actions that should be undertaken to enable the regions to better capitalise on service innovation and its transformative power. The regions are currently considering how to proceed with what they have learned in the course of this process.
In terms of the areas that will be promoted through service innovation, the Canary Islands is concentrating on tourism, Luxembourg is focusing on health, whilst all of the other regions intend to use service innovation to transform their manufacturing industries. There are some potential similarities between Emilia-Romagna, which will concentrate on ICT and logistics in its transformation process, and the Canary Islands, which will attempt to boost the contributions of ICT and logistics to tourism. There may also be some parallels between Luxembourg and Northern Ireland on health and between the Canary Islands and Northern Ireland on energy.
There is, however, considerable diversity in the regions and in the challenges they face. This can be shown by just a few examples taken from the analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of the innovation systems that are reflected in the tables that have been agreed with each of the regions and are contained in the following six regional descriptions:
- The analyses identify the Canary Islands, Limburg and Luxembourg as having problems with their private or business R&D efforts, whilst Emilia-Romagna, Northern Ireland and Upper Austria present this form of R&D as being one of their strengths;
- The Canary Islands, Emilia-Romagna and Limburg exhibit widespread, open attitudes to entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation but Northern Ireland talks about its risk-adverse cultural attitude;
- In addition, the Canary Islands, Emilia-Romagna, Limburg and Upper Austria see good collaboration in clusters as being one of their strengths but, at the same time, the Canary Islands refer to a lack of cooperation between the public and private sector, Emilia-Romagna and Limburg cite an over dependency or lack of collaboration between manufacturing and service firms and Northern Ireland believes that “a key challenge to be addressed is a lack of effective collaboration.”
In the case of lessons that are being learned, action lines have been identified in the strategies to implement these policies and they are outlined in the regional Policy Briefs that are available on the ESIC website at: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/esic/index_en.htm
Obviously, policies and practices have to be tailored effectively to the real needs and situations in each of the regions and thus, differences between regions are to be expected. However, the following common aspects have been highlighted by the majority of the regions as being the keys to the successful implementation of their strategies:
- Introducing more clarity into the governance arrangements and ownership of the Large-Scale Demonstrator initiative and bringing on board relevant stakeholders;
- Renewing and streamlining existing innovation support policies and making the necessary changes to the selection criteria and the funding rules of the chosen policy measures to make them more service innovation friendly;
- Establishing a regional focus for the promotion and development of service innovation. New structures that have been proposed by the regions include an innovation platform, a forum for service innovation, a permanent platform, a key pilot action for service innovation and, even, a service innovation and industrial renewal factory. Although the titles used vary, the objectives of the new structures that have been proposed by the regions are largely the same.