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PD Dr. Dieter Rehfeld. Institute for Work and Technology Gelsenkirchen. Reflexion on Smart Specialisation planet europe conference Nijmegen , Sept. 2012. Smart Specialisation …. … is an answer on real problems with the practice of cluster management

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PD Dr. Dieter Rehfeld

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PD Dr. Dieter Rehfeld

Institute for Work and Technology


Reflexion on Smart Specialisation

planet europeconference

Nijmegen, Sept. 2012

Smart Specialisation…

… is an answer on real problems with the practice of cluster management

… has a clear core (S3 Platform)

… with different problematic and non-realistic implications

… therefore is on the way to become a more and more fuzzy concept

… forces to rethink and renew regional innovation strategies

… is inescapable (Structural Funds ex-ante conditions, need of certification)

Potential questions to be addressed in the regions under

the context of regional innovation smart specialisation strategies I

(Raquel Ortega-Argilés)

What are the key challenges and main competitive advantages of the region?This can be linked to a short description of the region’s historic strengths, existing assets and geographical location.

2)What is the (short) history and current status of the regional innovation strategy (is it being implemented, what funds are allocated to it)?

3) What is the focus and what are the domains of expertise that the region has decided to put forth? If possible, please explain how the identification process for selecting priorities in certain technological domains has been undertaken (internally, with an external consultancy company, based on a SWOT analysis).

4) Who are/were the key players involved in the strategy development (stakeholders, different levels of government, universities, and non-governmental institutions, among others)? How were they selected and through what methods?

5) In particular, what are/were the methods and tools foreseen for entrepreneurial search processes to drive a bottom-up strategy development and buy-in?

Potential questions to be addressed in the regions under

the context of regional innovation smart specialisation strategies II

(Raquel Ortega-Argilés)

6) What is the role of clusters and technology networks in the strategy?

7) How does it intent to stimulate interactions and cooperation between the public and private sector (technological parks, knowledge centreorganisations, university-industry links, other examples of the public-private nexus)?

8) What is the role of SMEs in the strategy?

9) How does the strategy include/address cross-border and trans-regional activities and cooperation, networking processes, inter-regional government interactions and coordination across borders?

10) What are the intended outcomes and results of the strategy at the level of stakeholders, regional and national development and growth? How is the strategy implementation being monitored?

Discussing Smart Specialisation – Selected Examples


East Westphalia Lippe

Ruhr Area


Saxony: In Search of Cross-Technology Innovation

East Westphalia Lippe: Strengthening the Competence Base of SME

Ruhr Area: Lead markets and a new Focus: Urban Systems

Tampere: Roadmap For a Strategy Process

Tampere: Roadmap For a Strategy Process

Conclusions – how to make good use of smart specialization

  • S3 is about path variation in innovation strategies, no region starts by zero

  • S3 is more than relabeling given strategies

  • S3 is a strategy process first of all

  • S3 is open for different strategic directions in innovation policy

  • S3 is an ambitious strategy that needs to overcome band-wagon thinking

Conclusions (II): new ideas in innovation strategy

  • a new, not technology biased understanding of innovation

  • the opening of innovation strategies for new actors (quadruple helix)

  • the awareness of global value chains and the chance to avoid lock-ins

  • a new understanding of the global position of regions (knowledge anchoring)

  • a strong focus on qualified labour force as the base of the knowledge based economy (this leads to the question of regional attractiveness)

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