Managing Regional Innovation Ecosystems

12th December 2017, 6 pm CET Time

Objective of the Webinar

This webinar aims to bring two distinctive perspectives from an academic and a policy and practitioner perspective. Both speakers will address issues related to the emergence, development, structuring and management of regional innovation ecosystems (mostly now in a context of smart specialisation), including strategies and challenges for policy and governance. Since we are in a Triple Helix backdrop, the interactions around universities, industry (in the broader possible sense) and government (all types) will be also in focus.

Target audience

Traditional Triple Helix members – predominantly academics and innovation consultants, specialising in innovation systems, knowledge transfer, university-industry collaboration, science parks and incubators, and other topics related to the Triple Helix model.

Talk 1 


Regional innovation systems, new approaches to mapping potential and fostering co-operation
Main contents Regional innovation systems theory and policy has evolved considerably over the last 20 years since first emerging in the mid-1990s as a new strand of thinking.  The capacity to map and analyse the capabilities, networks and outputs of RIS has grown and novel approaches to capturing and mapping data (quantitative and qualitative) are being experimented to support regional smart specialisation partnerships to develop strategies.  In parallel, the policy instruments and policy delivery mechanisms are evolving to reflect much more open, complex and diverse types of co-operation that can occur within and across regional innovation systems.  This presentation will provide insights from recent and on-going research carried out both the mapping of regional innovation ecosystems (including the context of the smart specialisation process) as well as outlining new policy approaches that can help strengthen regional innovation systems.
Speaker bio

Alasdair REID has over 20 years experience of advising governments in developing, implementing and evaluating innovation based regional, inter-regional, national and European development programmes and strategies. He has worked on public policy research in the fields of regional economic development and innovation systems. He has advised the European Commission, the OECD, the World Bank, the Nordic Council of Ministers, national and regional governments and agencies throughout the European Union and in third countries.  He is one of the founders and the Research Director of the European Future Innovation System Centre ( 

Talk 2 


Reverse thinking regarding the place of SMEs in a regional eco-innovation system
Main contents Today, most policy makers start to look how the regional assets are able to enhance innovation. This seems to have a limited effect. Shouldn’t they start to analyze what regional enterprises need to innovate and be competitive in order to redesign the support services?

For a lot of reasons SME, representatives have difficulties to understand the intervention logics of public and academic stakeholders. This has for consequence i.a. a mismatch between the offer of public support and the entrepreneurs’ expectations. Should the actors of the innovation ecosystem better consider the enterprises’ needs, the type of innovation matching the 5 critical functions of the enterprise and the interactions between the enterprise with its customers as well as with public and semi-public actors.

The Presentation will focus on the following issues:

– Policy support system of an innovation eco-system,

– Innovation  eco-system of an enterprise,

– What type of innovation for each of the enterprise core assets?

– How can policy makers detect and respond to the enterprises’ needs?

– What can enterprises expect from the high education stakeholders?

Speaker bio Christian SAUBLENS is a commercial engineer. He is Belgian and has an experience of more than 30 years in lobbying the European Union administration.

He has been the Executive Manager of EURADA, the European Association of Development Agencies, between 1992 and November 2015. He is now retired. Christian’s involvement led to the creation of EBAN, the European network promoting the stimulation of informal venture capital at regional or national level. He coordinates efforts to sustain the IRE (Innovating Regions in Europe) network and supported the creation of the European Crowdfunding Network. Christian has served as chairman of the Smart Specialisation Strategy (S³) Mirror Group set up by DG Regio in order to build awareness of that new concept amongst the regions. Christian has written several papers regarding the impact of EU regulations on regional development, the role of development agencies in Europe and the importance of SMEs in economic development. He has also written documents concerning entrepreneurship, access to finance by SMEs, territorial intelligence, public support services in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation, eco-innovation.


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