Urenio Watch Watch: Innovation Strategies

Intelligence and co-creation in Smart Specialisation Strategies: Towards the next stage of RIS3

The white paper on “Intelligence and Co-creation in Smart Specialisation Strategies’ outlines some key conclusions from the Online S3 project, funded under the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission. The Online S3 project has produced an online platform composed of software applications and roadmaps that facilitate the design and implementation of Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3).

Using a baseline set of methodologies for strategy design, Online S3 is advancing the understanding of RIS3 as a place-based and evidence-driven innovation policy, relying on large datasets and software for user engagement, co-creation and collective intelligence in policy design. In this white paper, the core building blocks of RIS3 are presented, as they appear in EU documents and related literature, such as ex ante conditionalities, stakeholder engagement, specialisation by diversification, entrepreneurial discovery, policy co-design, monitoring and assessment. This white paper also discusses weaknesses of the current period and what can be done better in the near future; thus, puts RIS3 in retrospect and prospect for 2021-2027. At the same time, it looks into critical dimensions for the next stage of RIS3, focusing on how strategies can be improved by datasets and software, enabling the implementation of complex methods; thus, facilitating collective intelligence and co-creation of solutions, which both are able to usher a transition from the triple to quadruple helix model of collaboration. Finally, the annex presents a short description of the 28 software applications and the 4 roadmaps hosted on the Online S3 Platform, which enable the use of datasets and sophisticated methodologies by policy-makers.


Online S3 is positioned at the interface of these trends, offers web services and tools to  implement RIS3 methodologies across regions and facilitate the design process with the use of  datasets and software agents. Having developed online assistants for 28 methodologies,  documented as the most used or useful in 30 EU regions, these web solutions have been tested  in four regions (Scotland, Central Macedonia, Galicia, and Northern Netherlands). In the pilots,  142 stakeholders were engaged, 12,000 users, of which 1089 were contributed with ideas and  comments by open consultation. The degree of acceptance of the proposed online applications  assisting RIS3 methodologies was very high, with strong and very strong acceptance ranging  between 58 – 82 percent. It became evident that online services contribute to smart  specialisation strategies in three ways:

(1) easier access to data, use of larger datasets, and  data-based evidence on regional context and trends,

(2) use of complex methods, transferring  the complexity to algorithms, roadmaps, and routines embedded into software applications that  facilitate their use, and

(3) wider user engagement, easier dissemination of strategy vision, and  collaborative elaboration of priorities and action plans.

In our mind, these directions are setting the scene for the coming programming period 2021-2027, in which the smart specialisation agenda and RIS3 will reach a more mature stage,  enabling higher quality and more informed strategies.

You can read the full white paper here.

Reference:  Komninos, N., Kakderi, C., Panori, A. , Garcia, E., Fellnhofer, K., Reid, A., Cvijanović, V., Roman, M., Deakin, M., Mora, L., & Reid, A. (2018). Intelligence and co-creation in Smart Specialisation Strategies. Towards the next stage of RIS3. Online S3 White Paper.