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  1. 1. TCI Network Annual Global Conference Kolding, Denmark, 5th September 2013 WHAT CAN EXPERIENCE WITH CLUSTERS TEACH US ABOUT FOSTERING SMART SPECIALISATION? Mari José Aranguren and James Wilson Orkestra and Deusto Business School jamierwilson
  2. 2. Motivation for Paper • Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3) – A case of theory being very rapidly translated into a policy agenda THIS HAS SOME CONSEQUENCES Concept still being explored and refined at the same time as policy-makers are putting it into use Facilitates development of theory in practice rather than linear leap from theory to practice without ‘proof of concept’ (Cooke, 2007) Little time to reflect on links with already- established policy initiatives Dangers of over-looking the significance of policy inertia 1. 2. Interesting & important therefore to explore the relationship between RIS3 and cluster policy
  3. 3. 3 Clear Differences … • Foray et al (2011) warn that a smart specialisation strategy is not the same thing as cluster policy • We highlight three clear differences 1. The scale at which the policy is articulated • Cluster level vs regional level 2. The focus of concern of the policy • Cooperation for competitiveness broadly vs pursuit of most appropriate regional investments in STI 3. The policy tools that are employed • Well defined & established vs process specific & under-developed
  4. 4. … but significant synergies • Both imply forms of cooperation between firms and other agents working in related/complementary sectors – They are both systemic policies that require new forms of leadership & governance (Sugden et al, 2006; Navarro et al, 2012) • Both are place-specific – They rely on place-based assets, context and institutions, and are limited in working across territories • Both are transformative, requiring processes of prioritization & selection – Therefore subject to debate around the appropriate role of government • Both are characterised by extreme challenges in evaluating the effectiveness of associated policies
  5. 5. Learning from experience with clusters • Foray et al. acknowledge that “vibrant innovative clusters” are a “classic outcome” or an “emergent property” of a RIS3 – We suggest that in fact pre-existing clusters and cluster policies in many cases embody important elements of the entrepreneurial discovery process that smart specialisation strategies seek to foster • The paper therefore analyses the relevance of over twenty years of experience with the long-running Basque cluster policy for the development of a regional smart specialisation strategy – A step-by-step approach, following the 6 steps set out in the European Commission’s Guide to Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (Foray et al., 2012)
  6. 6. Results 1 Steps to RIS3 design Contribution from clustering experience Step 1: Analysis of regional context & innovation potential Strategy rooted in regional specificities Looking beyond regional boundaries Entrepreneurial dynamics: prospects for a process of entrepreneurial discovery Existence of cluster policy and functioning cluster initiatives can provide a strong basis for analysis and knowledge about regional context, through for example existing diagnostic processes within clusters, cluster mapping exercises, and in-depth cluster case analyses Step 2: Governance to ensure participation & ownership “Quadruple helix” Collaborative leadership Boundary Spanners Clusters themselves exhibit a long experience with ensuring participation and effective governance, and there is significant potential to learn from and improve these governance structures and processes in the development of RIS3 Step 3: Elaboration of an overall vision for the future of the region Constructing the vision: scenarios… Communicating the vision The strategic reflection processes of existing clusters can provide lessons in constructing common vision, and the clusters themselves are important vehicles for construction and communication of a regional vision
  7. 7. Results 1 Steps to RIS3 design Contribution from clustering experience Step 4: Identification of priorities Combine top-down and bottom up approach Vertical and horizontal type priorities Inter-cluster approaches and collaboration among and between KET actors and clusters can play an important role in facilitating the coordination of bottom-up and top-down input into prioritization processes Step 5: Definition of coherent policy mix, roadmaps and action plan Experimentation possibilities Cluster policies have followed a similar path, and experience shows the importance of policy flexibility and mechanisms to ensure sophisticated policy intelligence Step 6: Integration of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms Monitoring to follow the process of experimentation Evolve and adjust according to changes in economic and framework conditions Experience with cluster policy evaluation suggests the importance of mixed methodologies and a policy learning focus
  8. 8. Closing Message Policy concepts go in and out of fashion: While policy inertia is not good, it is important to build from what already exists in a fluid process, rather than jump from concept to concept Clusters and RIS3 are a classic example
  9. 9. TCI Network Annual Global Conference Kolding, Denmark, 5th September 2013 A version of the full paper recently published in a special issue of the journal Ekonomiaz on smart specialisation: Aranguren, MJ. and Wilson, J. R. (2013). ‘What can experience with clusters teach us about fostering smart specialisation?’, Ekonomiaz, No. 83, pp. 127- 146. Available at www.euskadi.net/ekonomiaz jamierwilson TAK ESKERRIK ASKO THANK YOU