Pandemia, digitalisation, climate change and demographic shifts are shaping the future of Baltic Sea Region’s institutions, cities, ports, and daily life. The Smart-Up BSR with ten regions in all the nine Baltic Sea Region countries has been to testing practices of regional innovation and transformation and to encourage cross-regional initiatives including the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030.
While the starting point of the projects has been to understand the role of Smart Specialisation strategies for a sustainable and entrepreneurial Baltic Sea Region, the work of the participating partners has increasingly shifted to the promotion of instruments leading to capacity building. Change management was a part of the work tackling cross-regional innovation. This has been a way to endorse and put into action the Smart Specialisation strategy content and chosen spearheads and to launch pilots. More importantly, the action has shown the potential of capacity building as through our partners activities we realized that inter-regional collaboration, sustainable development goal implementation, nor economic transformation are not yet the norm in the Baltic Sea Region.
As a result, we are pleased how our joint efforts stirred up immediate action and new aspiration for future implementation. Diving into regional and place-based innovation and solution finding camps and hackathons we have created a view on cross-regional strength. We have aimed at practicing ways for Baltic Sea Regions to strive for cross-regional, cross-issue and evidence and practice-based transformation.
Based on the action the project also published a book on sustainable transformation through Smart Specialisation and is on the strategic instruments for sustainable and entrepreneurial capacity building. The publication was launched at the high-level conference on September 28, 20220: Baltic Sea Region – Towards Sustainable Economic Transformation. The conference and the book is replayable at this link https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=JMdmxs8WjsI.
The links to the publications is: https://smartup-bsr.eu/
In Smart-Up publications, we looked behind the scenes on how regions embed Smart Specialisation strategy creation and implementation in their regional economic development policies. The thorough regional analysis in the book utilising the Regional Strategy Diamond the regional strategy stories points to the processes which drive sustainable and cross-regional economic transformation. Essentially, every actor and citizen in the Baltic Sea Region wants to contribute in making our regions more sustainable and entrepreneurial and we need to ensure that the necessary capacity building instruments are available and implemented.
In the Smart-Up BSR innovation camps and thematic pilots the major insight for the participating actors, stakeholders, organisations, regions and individuals is that capacity building both helps solving new challenges and helps enhancing new approaches towards sustainable transformation. The Smart-Up BSR community hopes to inspire structural change, but also human progress. We hope that the Nordic secret (Andersen & Björkman, 2017) can enable people to keep and develop their local cultural heritage and help them find purpose and meaning in a rapidly changing world.