The project is going forward

June, 2012
Ramon Garriga
Ramon Garriga - Industrial Engineer, expert in Energy Technology Assessment analysis of indicators and follow-up of action lines R+D+4i Project Euro-Action Group Association

Last 26th of April, took place the fourth General Assembly of the R+D+4i Euro-Action Group Association and an open session on Regional innovation at the Aula Europa of the EU institutions headquarters in Barcelona. Sessions were opened by representatives of the European Commission and the Parliament Office in Barcelona.

These two sessions represent a step in the consolidation of the partnership led by the academic, professional and employer’s institutions to collaborate in each economic locomotive region of European Union (EULER) to push his growth through a benchmarking and analysis process of their factors of excellence. It's the only way to remain competitive and to overcome the present crisis in a globalized world.

The first session was the fourth R+D+4i General Assembly of the association. It was welcomed by the president, professor Lanfranco Senn and by the vice president of the association in Catalonia, Joan Vallvé, and was attended by representatives of many of the entities involved in the project.

The meeting was lead by Joan Amorós, the executive secretary general who explained the progress reached in the allocation of positions within the organization and the contacts made to add more EULERs to the project in order to have a group that represents 20% of European GDP. He summarized the procedures and interviews hold with the authorities of the European institutions to present the project and ask for opinions, and the search carried out to find the appropriate CE call proposal for funds to apply to in order to undertake the analysis indicators phase. In fact, the selection of the most relevant macro and micro indicators of the six factors of excellence is already made.

Professor Leo Sleuwaegen from Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School and Catholic University of Leuven opened the Round Table of the second session, to present the study “The pillars of a creative innovative region” he has carried out with the collaboration of Priscilla Boiardi from Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School.

This paper, that will be presented in further detail in a next Newsletter focuses on regional entrepreneurial creativity and investigates the pillars, or underlying basic conditions, that are essential to direct resources toward a creative use and growth generation. The emphasis is on innovation as one of the fundamental creative processes. Following the introduction of a conceptual model of creative regional development, four essential pillars for regional innovative creativity are identified. They are the so called 4I: Institutions, Intelligence, Infrastructure and Inspiration. For each of these pillars a regional statistical indicator is developed. Using this indicators, the model is tested against the innovations performance of a wide set of European regions, following the NUTS-1 classification. The testing and interpretation of the results is followed by a case study of Leuven region in Flanders, Belgium. The case focuses on the process of innovation in relation to the 4I and shows the interaction between the creative process of innovation, entrepreneurship and internationalization in generating a continuous flow of regional innovation.

According to the fact that this was the first time the study was presented professor Sleuwaegen asked the participants in the panel, Professor Lanfranco Senn, from Lombardia, Associate professor Marc Valax, from Rhone-Alps, Professor Asko Miettinen, from Finland and Dr. Xavier Baulies, R+D Director of Catalan Territory and Sustainability Ministry, to criticize the paper to enrich it.

A very interesting discussion started, with the participation of the assistants to this open session, about the content of each of the 4I, in which of the three factors of performance (innovation, internationalization or impact entrepreneurship) is the emphasis placed, if number of European patents is the best way to measure performance, and on the relative weight of each of the 4I, or the indicators selected to represent them. The panellists also explained how the creativity is pushed in his regions. The assistants acknowledged Leo Sleuwaegen and Priscilla Boiardi for their very good work and asked them to place also emphasis in internationalization and impact entrepreneurship.

The R+D+4i Project thanks both panellists for this paper that will very much help in the definitive selection of indicators of different EULER as soon as they will be calculated and compared.
Joan Amorós closed the Round Table making a call to all the institutions involved in the R+D+4i Project Euro-Action Group Association, in order to make presentations of studies and papers on regional development and competitiveness in different cities under the umbrella of the R+D+4i Project.