Fomento San Sebastian, as Lead partner of ecoRIS3 project, participated in a networking event along with Birmingham University (Urban M) and Design4Innovation (Cardiff Metropolitan University) to address common challenges in innovation:

  • Design thinking- putting the user/citizen at the heart of the innovation process 
  • Tackling silos in the city innovation ecosystem
  • Focusing on collaborative processes particularly between clusters – so called cross innovation

This event, organised in Brussels within the framework of the European Week of Regions and Cities 2018, was an opportunity to present each project’s findings so far to city and regional policy makers and then participants had a chance to take part in an interactive design led thinking session. Challenges or briefs from each project were presented and participants were encouraged to ‘think broad’ using a number of design thinking techniques. The session presented the projects with a number of new perspectives and ideas on the challenges they are tackling which will be fed back to partners and stakeholders in the next phase of policy learning. 

Image: Participants were encouraged to ‘think broad’. 

Participants provided feedback and exchanged ideas to foster regional innovation ecosystems based on the main findings of the ecoRIS3 SWOT analysis: 

  • How to turn weaknesses into opportunities? 
  • How can we turn opportunities into actions to deliver better innovation policies?

Within a lively session, participants suggested to strengthen stakeholder engagement by organising monthly cross-department meeting to identify common challenges on how to learn from each other experiences, or holding recurrent events bringing all stakeholders together allowing direct exchanges.

To increase business involvement in the innovation policies, participants proposed large companies to mentor SMEs using job-shadowing and peer to peer learning. 

How to better communicate among the local and regional stakeholders was also tackled by: developing guidelines allowing each party to share information in a standardized manner, creating a direct inter institutional communication channel, or using storytelling to communicate policies.  

Clementine from KEA said: “I very much enjoyed the workshop associating three INTERREG EUROPE projects with various perspectives on innovation. Thank you for a great and unusual brainstorming session on local ecosystems for innovation inspired by the design thinking approach”.

Image: Participants in the networking event using Design Thinking to feed the ecoRIS3 SWOT analysis.