Creative MED
Project MED CAP

The Advisory Board members’ evaluation of the Green Paper has specific and common elements.

Firstly they agree that one of the main consideration of Creative MED resides in asserting the difference between the traditional innovation policies and the emergent meaning of innovation: “this is a process where different types of knowledge, creation and use – not only industrial and scientific, but also cultural and social – interact with each other in a way that is specific to the place where these dynamics unfold”.

The CreativeMED background projects is providing concrete evidence of the importance of local communities to identify innovation potentials often unknown to policy makers. This place-based view of creative knowledge management in its various dimensions contributes to defining an “innovation landscape”, a dynamics of open innovation and technology transfer processes that requires close, durable collaboration between research, industry, institutions and local communities to consolidate self-production skills; a sharing of visions, objectives, as well as languages and meanings which evolves as a system along the different phases of ideation, development and implementation.

The Advisory Board suggests to provide a definition to different concepts by the Green Paper to be shared: policy makers, local and regional actors, expert community; maybe a simple glossary could be useful.

Besides Creative MED highlights the core weakness of the ETC projects in the framework of the EU cohesion policy at regional level: “the problem is that ETC projects have a level of granularity that is difficult to incorporate into the broad policy objectives (required to frame a Smart Specialisation Strategy), as they generally deal with specific topics, in a short pilot-project approach having no impact on ‘mainstream’ policies.

Though at Programme level projects selection criteria could be improved: if ETC projects were selected more carefully on the basis of their strategic character and of their relevance to the policies of the regions they come from, it is likely that their impact on the broader policy objectives would be higher. In principle core government institutions should be involved in order to integrate the (Creative MED) proposals with the concrete objectives and measures of individual S3 strategies and ensure endorsement of the (Creative MED) methodology at the regional level.

The Advisory Board boosts the Creative MED concreteness: a very important part of the exercise should focus on the application of the model. If put into practice in an operational way it could become an element contributing to its cross-cutting strength. Tracking the progress of a RIS3 is very different to tracking an operational programme that (partially) funds it. The calendar or temporal scale aspects for the Creative MED implementation by Regions could be further developed. Opportunities for policy integration should be deepen, including for example policies for training, the support to self-orientation, self-employment and incubation / acceleration of enterprise and finally between policies supporting innovation, credit support and internationalization, as the specific innovative types of measures/actions that Creative MED proposes would be potentially useful to regions - Managing Authorities. Therefore, a tailor-made monitoring system - a Balanced Scorecard - that connects the regional S3 vision to priorities and interventions is probably the best way to do it.

To go on this work Creative MED should profit the potential of cooperation between regions of the current Structural Funds, also through the so-called cooperation component (art. 70 CPR) as well as CLLD.  It would also be interesting to look at European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs); apart from Smart Cities the Agricultural Productivity & Sustainability EIP might also be relevant in the MED region (see Commission guidance on TO 1 which also provides some further insights on potentials and linkages).

On the governance issue according to the Advisory Board remarks the “balance” between top-down and bottom- up dynamics could be reinforced. Governance, should be anchored to the mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation. The Governance Guide, written by a Dutch expert in October 2013, also can be an excellent approach.

On the other side, the Creative MED model should take into account the EU environment approach and the specific Mediterranean particularities and be relatively more specific in shaping its proposals,addressing and relating them to themes of interest for the S3 of Med regions beyond the experiences of the background projects. (i.e.issues related to the Sea, BlueGrowth, or Renewable Energies and Efficiency Energy,Maritime affairs, etc). Maybe this environment angle should be considered a de facto element or aspect to include in a crosscutting or specific way within the indicators that will be developed. Moreover,the “socio-cultural” dimension could be reinforced as well.

Furthermore, despite difficulties and the fact that Smart Specialisation strategies formally apply mainly to the EU Med Space, Creative MED could include some reflections concerning Mediterranean perspectives for the adaptation and the implementation of the model in the territories of the Med Partner Countries without which a global cohesion and a long-term oriented Macro-Regional approach would fail.

About the added-value of introducing a new terminology for the indicators, the Advisory Board says again that European Commission has already proposed a specific approach in its Guidance note on Monitoring and Evaluation (January 2014): the proposal made in the Green Paper is not too far from the Result Based Accountability where a principle distinction is made between the population accountability (CI & TI) and the performance accountability (RI & PI). The Creative MED background projects provide concrete evidence of the importance of identifying relevant indicators for creativity and innovation.

Such indicators can be used not only by Managing Authorities to monitor programme implementation, but also by local stakeholders to identify needs and areas for action, by innovation actors to gain feedback, improve network governance, and better focus on-going activities, and by local communities to evaluate the impact of S3 actions on regional well-being and growth.

The question of indicators should be addressed in collaboration with local stakeholders and in relation to the new, broader and more encompassing objectives posed with the aim to jointly define a coherent measurement of S3 for learning regional policy makers and innovation actors: to this end a short tailored questionnaire with specific key questions could be usefu to “customize” and diffuse (multiplechoice and openquestions) the CreativeMED approach.