InFocus – Smart Specialisation at City level
TASO was appointed as principal consultant by a consortium of 10 cities led by Bilbao and including Frankfurt, Turin, Porto, Bucharest or Bordeaux, to work in an in-depth exploration on how the Smart Specialisation concept may apply to cities and metropolitan areas.
Smart specialisation and its related methodology known as Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) have been assessed as “the most comprehensive industrial policy experience being implemented in contemporary Europe”. Both concept and method add two key values to previous regional innovation strategies in the EU, namely: the value of prioritizing (making smart choices) and how such prioritization should be done and kept current through an inclusive, bottom-up and permanent process referred to as “entrepreneurial discovery”.
InFocus is an attempt to contribute, from the city perspective, to the smart specialisation concept and the RIS3 method, pursuing a double aim. First, re-invigorating the urban agenda on business-led economic development by means of smart specialization as an overarching approach. That is, testing how this concept may foster and refine the work cities and their stakeholders are doing (or can do) in four key areas in particular: cluster development, entrepreneurship, workspace provision and investment attraction. Secondly, making a bridge with the existing RIS3 strategies at regional level. Now, at the crucial time of implementation, many local and metropolitan authorities feel they have much to contribute in taking RIS3 visions and roadmaps forward.
To that aim, TASO designed a cuttingedge cross-learning itinerary aimed to crystallize locally in an Integrated Action Plan for each of the participating cities. This itinerary included baseline study, series of five thematic workshops, peer-review exercise, final conference and final report.
IN FOCUS–Smart Specialisation at City Level [Bilbao, Bielsko-Biala, Bordeaux, Bucharest, Frankfurt, Grenoble, Ostrava, Plasencia, Porto, Torino]. URBACT Programme. Principal consultant. 2015-2018.