Mapping and Rebuilding the Local Innovation System of the Regions: The Case of the South-Central Reg...
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Mapping and Rebuilding the Local Innovation System of the Regions: The Case of the South-Central Region (SCR) in Bulgaria by Ruslan Stefanov ARC Fund KEF III, Budapest, March 24-26th, 2004. Outline. Introduction Case Study Description institutions process results

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Mapping and Rebuilding the Local Innovation System of the Regions: The Case of the South-Central Region (SCR) in Bulgariaby Ruslan StefanovARC FundKEF III, Budapest, March 24-26th, 2004


  • Introduction

  • Case Study Description

    • institutions

    • process

    • results

  • Knowledge Gained (Lessons Learnt)

Introduction – Why This Case

  • Comes from KE Practice - Addresses a Core KE Pillar - Innovation System – From Different View Points

  • Reveals Insights on Country Region and Company Level

  • Highlights the Importance of Processes and Institutions

  • Underscores the Role of Trust and Public-Private Partnerships

  • Follows Local Demand and Conditions but Uses EC and International Knowledge and Instruments

Knowledge Economy

Finland (1)





The Bulgarian Score vis-à-vis Finland

The Case -Background

Source: World Bank and author’s calculations

  • Econ. Incent & Inst. Reg

  • Information Infrastructure

  • Education & Training

  • Innovation Systems

The Case - Geography

Case Features

  • Focus: Managing and Shaping Regional Innovation System Change Through PPP - the Strategy as a Tool, not an End

  • Features

    • Private Sector Lead, Bottom-Up Approach

    • Learning and Knowledge Sharing Core

  • Results: Knowledge on Different Management Levels

Institutional Setup

Process (1)

Involve Key Players

Study the Region

Know Supply &


Implement Projects



Find Success Stories/


Outline Possible


Process (2)

  • Involved in Carrying Out the Project : more than 40 organizations and 120 persons

  • Indirectly Project Activities: more than 500 organizations and 1,200 persons

  • Number of Public Meetings: 110

  • Duration: 2,5 years


  • Internationally comparable knowledge and data bank on SCR’s innovation system

  • Direct knowledge transfer on innovation to some 400 companies in the region

  • 10 technology audits and 6 international company matches

  • Experience and knowledge transfer to the other 5 planning regions in Bulgaria which now prepare to conducting RIS projects

  • Trans-border knowledge transfer (e.g. Romanian organization successfully consulted on adapting the RIS initiative)

Knowledge Gained – Management Level

  • Create flexible and effective internal knowledge management system – the organization evolves with the process

  • Balance knowledge and management capabilities – outsource when necessary

  • Focus on local demand and conditions but know international benchmarks – discrepancies are usually overwhelming

  • Do not expect knowledge and interest from the other stakeholders – inform and engage proactively; keep doors open

  • International partners are good steering anchors but copying practices should be avoided

Example – Level of Cooperation

Source: Regional Innovation Strategy for South-Central Region of Bulgaria

Knowledge Gained – Macro Level

  • Setting a predictable but flexible innovation policy framework is fundamental for streamlining common efforts

  • Governments are stuck with rigid remnants of the old innovation system – reform them, introduce competition and complementarities

  • Rule of thumb – governments should put an euro in projects that attract at least another euro in private or external funds

Example – R&D Expenditure

Source: European Innovation Scoreboard, 2002

Knowledge Gained – Meso Level

  • Regional governments tend to be outsiders to both central and local developments

  • But might be more flexible and cooperative

  • Local authorities are more interested and eager to participate but might often lack specific knowledge and skills

  • Active private sector associations are a key bridge to involving the business at national and regional level

Knowledge Gained – Company Level

  • Most companies are well behind theoretic and best practice models – transfer knowledge, gather as much data as possible

  • Only a few, usually foreign owned play, at global markets – motivate to share knowledge, highlight best practice

  • Truly innovative companies are exceptionally rare – FDIs and technology transfers precede genuine innovations

  • Private companies are the most interested and long-term ally in shaping the regional innovation system

Example - Companies

Source: Regional Innovation Strategy for South-Central Region of Bulgaria


ARC Fund

5, Alexander Zhendov Str.

1113 Sofia


Bulgaria KE Useful Links











Bulgaria KE Useful Documents

  • “Towards a Knowledge-Based Economy, Bulgaria”, UNECE, 2002

  • “A Preliminary Strategy to Develop a Knowledge Economy in EU Accession Countries”, World Bank, 2002

  • “Bulgaria, 2003 Special 301 Report”, International Intellectual Property Alliance

  • “Bulgaria, Country Report”, European Trend Chart, 2002

  • “Bulgaria E-Readiness Assessment 2003”, ARC Fund, upcoming and 2002

  • Bulgarian E-Government, ICT and Innovation Strategy

  • “Inventory of Bulgaria’s Innovation System”, PHARE Project, Upcoming

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