19. Juni 2013

Creating smart Regions through Open Societal Innovation - Panel at the 26th Bled Conference

It was a pleasure to organize and moderate the panel Creating smart Regions through Open Societal Innovation as part of the 26th Bled eConference on June 11, 2013.

From the panel abstract: 

“This panel will continue the discussion about eRegions which emerged from the Bled eConference and attempts to embed the concept within a ‘Smart City’ and ‘Open Innovation’ context.

The notion of eRegions mainly refers on utilizing ICT to support commercial activities in a greater regional context. Similarly, the term Smart City usually begins with a focus on ICT utilization to create ‘smart’ urban areas. Although the notion of Smart Cities comprises intellectual and social capital as well many current activities focus on infrastructural and environmental issues such as energy, traffic, or climate. The idea of Open Societal Innovation refers to the utilization of open innovation approaches from business to state and society to solve societal challenges through involving smart people as innovators into idea creation and problem solving processes.

The panel will bring together the different perspectives contributing to a broader understanding of smart regions:

(1) ICT focus: Nowadays, utilization of ICT means are crucial to cope with the current challenges.

(2) Regional focus: Beside megacities and metropolitan areas the interplay of a number of municipalities with complementary profiles creating regional clusters is an important issue in many European countries, but also beyond.

(3) Open innovation focus: The open societal innovation approach includes people living in specific areas into respective processes in order to cope with current challenges reflection a general trend addressing participatory strategies.”

In the discussions Julia Glidden came up with some lessons for regions:
  • Think big, start small 
  • Prioritise regional openness and interoperability from procurement through to architecture design 
  • Promote your region as an innovation platform 
  • Connect the innovation dots.

Geert Mareels impressively presented Flanders as a really smart region and introduced the Citadel on the Move project.

And Bror Salmelin discussed the reinforcement of the attractiveness of innovation hubs pleading for building innovation ecosystems.

Introduction to the panel as presented in Bled:

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