TeDIS in collaboration with Veneto Innovazione developed a methodology to analyse the degree of innovative regional attractiveness. This methodology was applied to the five regions of the START network (Veneto, Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Vienna, Hamburg) and the results of the analysis was presented in November 2005 in Padua.
The analysis aimed at identifying context variables which foster a successful transfer in different territorial contexts of financial tools classified as “good practice” supporting innovative entrepreneurial activities.
This analysis identified creativity as one of the drivers of regional innovation and development, and attempts to measure it through a number of indicators, including tools suitable for measuring creativity and innovation.
The results of the analysis provided a new and complementary way to identify innovative processes and to measure innovation at both local and national level.
The first phase of the investigation provided a comprehensive view of the socio-economic frame of each region by analysing the role of the different subjects and the interactions between them. This analysis highlighted the differences between regions, and the features of the undertaken regional development programmes.
At a first glance, the results showed a sharp difference between Northern European regions (mainly Hamburg and Edinburgh) and Southern (Veneto), in terms of R&D infrastructures and services. The former undertaken specific economic programmes to shift from traditional/manufacturing to innovative/technological productions and services. This was less evident in Copenhagen, which supported a rather diversified economic system, where traditional manufacturing productions play a crucial role. On the other hand, the Veneto region had a productive structure almost entirely manufacturing-based, such as textile, clothing, leather and footwear. For these production sectors, the role of technology was low. The results of the first phase pointed out heterogeneous socio-economic situation which imply and sustain different regional innovative patterns.
The TeDIS analysis classified these innovative patterns by pointing out the most relevant features of each of the territories. The innovative processes which characterise every region were a combination of diverse innovative methods (multidimensional innovation model, MDM). More specifically, the three basic innovation models on which the MDM is built are either science-based, entrepreneurial and marketing oriented. The science-based model relies on the role of R&D, technology-oriented human resources and technological innovation. The second model relies on variables such as combination of different skills, governance of production and commercial network and distributed innovation. The model based on creativity and marketing assumes brand strategies, design, communication and interaction with the final costumer to be core variables.
Every one of the three dimensions varied in time and has importance in the adopted innovation model. The changes in the weight of the three components lead to a variation in the innovation model characteristics, better to meet the requirements of the economic and social environment. The innovation processes were closely tied with both the features and the objectives of an area. The shift from an innovation model to another was a process where enterprises and institutions work together.
The results were confirmed also by the third part of the investigation, focusing on identifying financial tools to support innovative productions.
In the framework of the analysis, the financial tools acted as components of the innovation programme. It seems pointless, indeed, to speak of financial tools without defining a programme for innovation which relies on the peculiar features of the area to indicate the most suitable path for local innovation. Consequently, also in the light of the results of the analysis of the five START regions, two complementary approaches to innovation was proposed. The former relies on the concept of scientific innovation, whereas the latter is much more oriented to creativity. Since these two approaches were not mutually exclusive, there was undoubtedly an area where both science and creativity play a pivotal role in creating innovation.
A creativity-based innovation strategy was adopted by the Veneto region, whereas Hamburg and Edinburgh implemented a rather scientific one. The Great Copenhagen area and the region of Vienna, though to a different extent, were examples of regions capable to combine high-tech and creativity-based productions.
Therefore, the financial tool was just one of the elements of a regional programme to support innovative start-ups.
An R&D based innovation methodology needed large capital to sustain sunk costs. It also required infrastructure to help enterprises such as incubators and science and technology parks as well as a due-diligence focused on both technological and business related aspects of the projects.
On the other hand, a creativity-based innovation programme required lower capital, reduces the risk and implies a due-diligence focused mainly on the business related aspects of the projects.