The Smart Specialisation approach is a significant policy innovation, operationalising Europe 2020 objectives and incorporating social and non-technical innovation, so the potential contribution of experiences in Territorial Cooperation programmes gains a new relevance. In the depressed environment created throughout the MED space by the financial and growth crisis, it becomes increasingly urgent to leverage the high level of motivation, creativity and innovation demonstrated in the MED projects that constitute the CreativeMED baseline.
CreativeMED is one of 13 Capitalisation projects of the ETC (European Territorial Cooperation) MED Programme, aiming to integrate and promote the results of previous transnational projects in view of the 2014-2020 programming period. CreativeMED in particular focuses on innovation, and thus aims to contribute to on-going Regional Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) processes.
CreativeMED integrates main outcomes of experiences of MED projects to formulate a coherent policy model, which maintains the evidence base of the individual activities carried out while deriving bottom-up a strategic framework at a level that is compatible with what policy makers need to do to define and carry out a Smart Specialisation Strategy. The project’ s 18-month workplan develops this model to align with regional RIS3 processes by a) bringing together results to define a common “Mediterranean Way’ towards innovation and b) supporting the mobilization of local actors in the 12 participating regions to enrich entrepreneurial discovery, build consensus, and identify opportunities for inter-regional cooperation.
The specific contribution here is evident from an analysis of each of the six elements:
- Vision: CreativeMED can help Regions make implementation of their Smart Specialisation visions more effective by broadening out to a wider range of territorial energies and creativities both in the context of the common Mediterranean model and local territorial specificities.
- Policy Architecture: CreativeMED can extend the scope of possible programme structures, normally based on thematic axes or priorities, to include spatial approaches, innovation dynamics, and multi-disciplinary research.
- Measures: CreativeMED can broaden the portfolio of specific actions based on the experiences of the baseline projects, to include: systematization of knowledge, building strategic partnerships, promoting collective learning, broadening participation, integrating service platforms, establishing interaction facilities, and accompanying innovative startup ideas.
- Governance: CreativeMED extends the scope of governance issues beyond policy management to include the innovation ecosystems promoted; the baseline projects suggest common principles, approaches, and open issues to help foster open and participatory innovation dynamics with sound management.
- Policy tools: CreativeMED background projects throw up a range of options to enhance the toolkit of available options beyond traditional calls for tender, to include: new conditionalities for traditional tenders, funding of services and infrastructures, training and capacity building, matching funds, promotional actions, and the innovative use of social networks.
- Indicators: CreativeMED highlights the importance of extending both the portfolio and the usage of indicators, beyond the common patent-counting and the monitoring mindframe; work is in fact under way to identify indicators capable of identifying and evaluating social and territorial innovation processes for monitoring purposes but also to support self-governance processes.