Monitoring the innovation ecosystem and the of effectiveness smart specialisation strategies

Mona Roman, Olli-Pekka Mutanen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Smart specialisation policy aims at enhancing innovation and economic growth of the regions. The core mechanism for developing smart specialisation strategies is the entrepreneurial discovery process. The regions are to discover their innovation priorities in a bottom-up process involving all regional quadruple helix actors – university, industry, government and civil society and to focus their innovation efforts in the priority areas in order to be able to develop competitive advantage globally in these areas. While the concept of smart specialisation has been widely adopted in European regions since 2013, few studies have so far investigated the actual mechanisms to monitor smart specialisation implementation. This paper explores the mechanisms to monitor smart specialisation strategies and the innovation ecosystem development as the whole in Finnish regions. We adopt a grounded theory approach with multiple case design. Our semi-structured interviews with the facilitators of smart specialisation strategy process cover all 18 Finnish mainland regions. Based on 28 interviews conducted with altogether 36 facilitators in the subsequent interview rounds of 2016 and 2017, we can conclude that the regions have adopted a variety of monitoring tools that utilize both quantitative and qualitative data collection mechanisms. We describe three innovative tools - “Situational picture of innovation”, “Partnership barometer” and “Connectivity tool” – that succeed to both drive policy learning and implementation. Our paper contributes to current debate on smart specialisation regarding how to engage the stakeholders to the monitoring process and how to identify the causality between policy measures and the overall regional innovation ecosystem development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication27th International Scientific Conference on Economic and Social Development – Rome, 1-2 March 2018
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Scientific Conference on Economic and Social Development - Rome, Italy
Duration: 1 Mar 20182 Mar 2018
Conference number: 27


ConferenceInternational Scientific Conference on Economic and Social Development


  • Monitoring
  • policy learning
  • regional innovation system
  • research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation
  • smart specialisation


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