First among smart regions in Norway. Evaluation of Nordland's innovation strategy for smart specialisation 2014-2020
A successful innovation in industrial development policy. The report evaluates Nordland County Council's innovation strategy (2014-2020), the first regional strategy for industrial development in Norway following the EU scheme for smart specialisation. The strategy differs from earlier industry development by focusing innovation as the prominent driver of growth, using place-based strengths, targeting a more diversified industrial structure, increasing companies' research interactions, and cooperating broadly in order to discover, facilitate, and release innovation initiatives with great potential for growth. The most important measures have been to develop, diffuse, and anchor a new body of thought among policy and public support actors, to co-ordinate instruments towards the strategy, to improve relations between the county council and trade and industry, to increase the region's capacity for relevant research and education offerings (modern localisation conditions for companies), to use innovation system hubs to drive company collaboration in innovation and relevant research, and to direct cluster projects towards the latter. The strategy work has i.a. resulted in strengthening a sustainable experience economy in tourism and increasing company-initiated R&D in industry, and exciting side effects like a broad initiative towards algaculture and advanced plans for a giga-factory for electrical car batteries in Helgeland. The organisation of further work should adapt to new constraints following the recent regional reform.