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The Use of ICT to Support Regional Developments: Contributions from the Bled eConference


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The Bled eConference quite often gets connected to the notion of eRegion. Therefore in this paper we will have a closer look at how the idea of an eRegion has been addressed by the conference over the past. After briefly looking at the emergence of the term eRegion, we summarize the contribution of the Bled eConference to the field of eRegion in the Research Track as well as in the Business Track. Whereas in the Research Track contributions have focussed mostly on developing existing regions through ICT means, the Business Track activities tackle especially cross-border challenges between regions.

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The Use of ICT to Support Regional Developments: Contributions from the Bled eConference

  1. 1. The Use of ICT to Support RegionalDevelopments: Contributions from the Bled eConference (Paper: Hans-Dieter Zimmermann 25th Bled eConference, 18. June 2012
  2. 2. AgendaIntroductionThe Notion of eRegionRegional issues addressed in the Research Track… in the Business TrackSummary and Outlook 2
  3. 3. IntroductionDuring the last 25 years the Bled eConference has addressed – and isstill addressing – the relationship and impact of ICT and business andsocietySince he beginning of the 90s the ‘e’-terms have been coined eCommerce and eBusiness … eMarketing, eCRM, eHR, etc. … eHealth, eGovernment, eDemocracy, eSociety E-Everything – topic of the 14th Bled eConference in 2001 3
  4. 4. IntroductionOne further focus: Utilizing ICT and especially the Web in a geographical setting with a focus on the further development and support of defined geographical areas or regions The Bled eConference quite often gets connected to the notion of eRegion Therefore we will have a closer look of how the idea of an eRegion has been addressed by the conference in the past 4
  5. 5. ApproachLooking into the papers of the Research Track from 1995 to 2011Looking at the corresponding activities in the Business Track coveringthe years from 2001 to 2011… based of some great analysis provided by Roger Clarke 5
  6. 6. The Notion of eRegionBeyond the Bled eConference the term eRegion has not been appliedfrequently in the literatureSearch on databases reveals mostly authors which are closelyconnected to the Bled eConference“As a concept, eRegion denotes Information Technology (IT)-supportedinitiatives that transcend traditional borders and boundaries.” (Gricar et al. 2007)eRegion understood as “… an information and communicationtechnology (ICT) supported region. […]From a technological perspective, an eRegion integrates the issues ofregional development with the opportunities and challenges comingfrom the latest technologies” (Gricar 2007, 86).… adding additional perspectives on eRegion such as the political,academic, or organizational perspectives 6
  7. 7. The Notion of eRegioneRegion does not refer to political or administrative borders eRegion refers to a region rather based on similarities such as cultural or historical developments, e.g. based on historical trade relations or common language Transcending traditional borders is one of the major motivations as well as challenges developing eRegion activities in Europe triggering respective discussions and projects  Example: The initiative in the Bodensee area starting in 1994But:Cross-border attribute reflects a rather European viewpointFurther motivation: the competitiveness of rural regions Mainly strategic purposes of eRegion activities 7
  8. 8. eRegion - Two distinct streamsActivities are triggered by the intention to stimulate the adoption of ICTamong businesses within a region Mostly economic focus Examples:  Development and provision of a regional (B2B) portal  Regional programs and activities to support the adoption of ICT in general or of eCommerce applications more specifically Mainly focused in the Research TrackActivities encourage inter-linkage among regional organisations andinstitutions in order to provide the basis for future competitive advantageswithin an eRegion Examples:  ALADIN network, the ALpe ADria INitiative Universities’ Network  Internationale Bodenseehochschule IBH Mainly focused in the Business Track 8
  9. 9. Regional issues addressed in the Research TrackA total of 18 (16) papers addressing any regional or geographicalaspect presented between 1995 and 2011 have been identified The term eRegion as such does appear just in one single paper throughout the Bled eConference proceedingsAddressed regions in … Australia (10) UK Slovenia Ireland Singapore 9
  10. 10. … Temporal Breakdown no specific path of development 10
  11. 11. … Main SubjectseCommerce (9)business networks/ communities of practice (3)mCommerce (1)broadband infrastructure (1) Focus on pilots, projects, prototypes, and/ or programs and initiatives within a certain region and … Overall perspective on business and/or regional development Cross-border issues have not been addressed in papers 11
  12. 12.  Most papers conclude a rather positive impact of the different activities Only one paper presents the analysis of a failure Empirical studies have not been presented so far All papers have applied different methods of qualitative research  … mostly case studies 12
  13. 13. Regional issues addressed in the Business TrackFrom the 2001 to 2011 around 40 activitiesFrom 2006 to 2008: 20 respective eventsEvent formats: Meetings (20) Panels (13) Workshops (7)Contributors from business and government 13
  14. 14. 14
  15. 15. … Main Topics cross border commerce and trade in general (11) eInvoicing eProcurement cross border cooperation in the area of eGovernment cross border cooperation of universities  rectors’ and dean’s summits  eUniversity forums  Meetings of the ALADIN network (5) (ALpe ADria INitiative Universities’ Network) Meetings of the eSilk & eAmber Roads Innovative Regions Think Tank (6) Living Lab workshops (since 2011) 15
  16. 16. … Main Purposes to exchange and to discuss experiences in cross border activities to develop new paths for cooperation and activities  in a business context  in an administrative or governmental environment 16
  17. 17. Summary and OutlookRegional issues have been addressed quite intense on different levelsand from different perspectives such as research, business, andgovernment and administrationAddressing of the transformation of regions, states including businessrelated, administrative and educational infrastructures Natural task of the Bled eConference conferenceOpen question:To what extent has the Bled eConference contributed to thetransformation of the country and the region? 17
  18. 18. … Summary and OutlookChallenges to overcome existing borders We have the borderless Internet But: There are still a lot of political, administrative, and also mental borders which hinder a closer cooperation of people, businesses, universities, and governments on local, regional and national areas to the benefit of a certain region. One of the follow up activities: The ‘Inter-Municipality Initiative: Cross-border eCollaboration in the Danube eRegion’ 18
  19. 19. … Summary and OutlookMissing: Systematic evaluation of activities Looking at the Business Track activities from a research perspective: what are the benefits? More empirical research addressing the topics of the Research Track eRegion related activities of both tracks could be benefit from each other A systematic evaluation would be valuable to allocate future EU projects and initiatives often funded by tax payers even more targeted 19
  20. 20. ContactHans-Dieter ZimmermannFHS St. Gallen University of Applied SciencesInstitute for Information and Process Management IPM-FHSTeufener Strasse 2, 9000 St. Gallen, SchwitzerlandTel. +41 71 228 ,,, @hdzimmermann