European Association of Regional Development (EURADA)
Dominique Foray defines smart specialisation as the capacity of an economic system (a region, for example) to generate new specialities through the discovery of new domains of opportunities and the local concentration and agglomeration of resources and competences in these domains.
The entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP) can be described as a process through which entrepreneurs identify opportunities to generate innovation (in a broad sense, i.e. technology and non technology) and to develop new activities based upon competitive advantages at niche market level. All regional stakeholders have to contribute to help enterprises realise this process and the policy mix of public support services has to be reviewed to match the entrepreneurs’ needs.
The European administration has made this concept an ex ante conditionality to finance the 2014-2020 new generation of R&D+I strategies set up by the EU28 Member States or their regions.
In order to propose a good policy mix to entrepreneurs, the public authorities have to make sure that their interventions match the needs and ways for enterprises to build competitive advantages or to be engaged in R&D and innovation activities in terms of access to infrastructure (research and demonstration), financial and non-financial supports, human capital and management capacities.
The graph below tries to define those needs and ways to innovate by enterprises and could lead to an enterprise centric EDP instead of a “policy” EDP. The graph can also be the basis to monitor the policy mix attached to any RIS.