Smart Specialisation Concepts and Significance of Early Positive Signals
We emphasise the need of keeping in mind the definition/focus of the smart specialisation strategy (S3) approach regarding place-based regional economic transformation, as well as the importance of avoiding both the Charybdis of top-down dirigisme, and the Scylla of hands-off handicapped government. Short-termism should be avoided for transformation processes; nevertheless, there are certain visible first steps and first fruits in a long regional economic transformation process can be highlighted (such as compliance with ex-ante conditionalities, strategy production, administrative innovation, revisiting compartmentalisation, etc.). An additional promising development regards the attractiveness of S3 as a more generally transposable policy framework, applicable in other policy areas, as well as the global interest, far beyond the EU, that is being shown in the S3 process/concept. At the same time, one must beware of longer-term, deeper caveats regarding top-down temptations, simplistic one-size-fits-all recipes, and issues of participation/representation-giving voice to the voiceless.