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Smart Specialisation Implementation Processes in the North

Lessons Learned from Two Finnish Regions

Jukka Teräs, Antti Mäenpää

The smart specialisation concept, aimed at generating unique assets and capabilities based on a region´s industry structure and knowledge base, is currently widely implemented across Europe. The literature on the implementation of regional smart specialisation strategies is not, however, abundant. This article introduces the practical implementation of smart specialisation processes in two Finnish regions: Ostrobothnia and Lapland. The article analyses similarities and differences in the smart specialisation implementation processes in different regions within the same national context, and also analyses what is really new in the two smart specialisation strategies. The findings indicate that implementing regional smart specialisation strategies is a challenging and time-consuming exercise. They also suggest that the key concepts associated with smart specialisation have not yet been fully adopted by the regions. In order to fully implement the smart specialisation strategies, regions need to dedicate enough time and resources to the implementation phase.

Jukka Teräs works as a Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio in Stockholm, Sweden and Antti Mäenpää works as a Doctoral Student at the University of Vaasa, Finland. For the views expressed and analyses provided, the authors are solely responsible. Both authors would like to express their deep gratitude for relevant Regional Council representatives and the anonymous reviewers for their input to the article.


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