Title: Regional ICT Innovation in the European Union: Prioritization and Performance (2008-2012)
Citation: JOURNAL OF THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY vol. 6 no. 2 p. 320-333
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC94351
ISSN: 1868-7865
URI: http://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13132-015-0240-0
DOI: 10.1007/s13132-015-0240-0
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: In the current programming period, European Union (EU) regions and member states that want to use Regional Development Funds (ERDF) are required to develop innovation strategies for smart specialization (RIS3) based on the idea of rational strategic management. In order to explore the relationship between strategic policy design and policy performance, this article maps regional strategies for information and communication technologies (ICT) and their effects in the period 2008- 2012. Furthermore, it generates suggestions for relevant case studies. We first conduct a quantitative analysis of the effects of ICT strategies and ERDF expenditure on regional ICT performance in Western European regions. ICT is a relevant priority for many regions and it reflects EU priorities fostering ICT activities through regional development funds. Second, we propose a framework to categorise EU regions in the context of ICT policy based on the expected distribution of regional ICT performance. Our analysis covers 97 regions in 9 EU member states, out of which 29 have a dedicated ICT strategy. In line with ideas of rational strategic management, our working hypothesis states that regions with a dedicated strategy should display better performance. However, our findings suggest that having a dedicated ICT strategy has not had a clear effect on performance in terms of Internet and broadband access, while allocating dedicated ERDF and other expenditure to Internet infrastructure has had a positive effect. At first sight, this questions the effectiveness of rational strategic management. However, more research is needed to assess the quality of ICT strategies and their fit with broader innovation agendas. It is indeed the degree of embeddedness of ICT in the regional innovation ecosystem that is likely to condition the effect of strategies on performance. To this end, our mapping indicates interesting case studies and we suggest additional factors to be taken into account in future analyses. New insights into strategy design and performance will also be important to inform the implementation of the new generation of innovation strategies for smart specialization.
JRC Directorate:Growth and Innovation

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