The development of a vision is an integral part of the RIS3. A vision outlines where the region would like to be in the future, what the main goals are, and why are they important. As highlighted in the RIS3 Guide (Foray et al., 2012), this vision should be clear and widely communicated to the stakeholders in order to keep them engaged in the RIS3 process. Despite this, some regions do not actively seek to communicate their RIS3 vision or process.
The mapping process of RIS3 strategies indicated that around 73% of the mapped regions held dedicated information events and around 60% spread information through other means such as websites and brochures. There is a clear need to encourage regional policymakers to communicate with stakeholders more actively. One method to do this could be to provide policymakers with ready-made visually attractive material on RIS3
The simplest option is to provide policymakers with ready information material templates that could be easily used to share information and to request feedback on the RIS3 process. Template designs could take a range of forms, including brochures, websites, social media, etc. These templates would be designed to look attractive and they would describe the RIS3 process concisely. The content could also be translated into all official EU languages to make the RIS3 process more accessible to everyone. The templates would be available for download from the Online S3 platform. Additionally, information about the role of communication in the RIS3 process and instructions for using the templates would be provided. The instructions would tell how to fill in the templates with own information, such as vision, contact details, etc., and how to use them to effectively communicate with the stakeholders.
Another option would be to create a tool that retrieves relevant digital content from other services and combines them into a template for policymakers to use. This would ensure up-to-date information on the templates and possible personalisation of content. However, this approach can be technically difficult to develop, whereas using standarised templates does not require the development of bespoke applications.
Communication with stakeholders takes place in all the phases of the RIS3 process. Therefore, different types of informational material are needed for each phase:
- 1. At the initial stage of the process → templates for:
- Informing stakeholders on RIS3
- Inviting them to collaborate
- During the formulation of the strategy → templates for:
- Informing on the progress, planned policies, and vision
- Inviting to collaborate and to give feedback
- When the strategy is in place → templates for:
- Informing stakeholders on the final strategy, implemented policies, and results
- Requesting feedback
The information used in the templates has a different emphasis in each stage:
- Start of the process:
- General information on smart specialisation and the R&D&I funding from the EU
- Invitation to collaborate
- During the formulation:
- Information on the progress, planned policies, vision of the region, etc.
- Invitation to give collaborate and to give feedback
- Strategy in placeable
- Information on the strategy, implemented policies, and the results
- Invitation to give feedback,
Additionally, a guide is needed on the website. Firstly, it should contain information about the role of communication in the RIS3 process. Secondly, it should assist users in filling in the templates with correct information and to distribute them effectively through multiple channels.
Ideas for the templates can be drawn from similar material created by regions:
- e.g. helsinkismart.fi
The data on RIS3 can be retrieved from multiple sources:
- S3 platform
- RIS3 guide
- Other official material from the EU
Multiple tools exist for creating the templates:
- Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Sway, etc.
- Lots of infographic providers on the internet
- infogr.am, piktochart.com, venngage.com, etc.
- Download the templates that are suitable for the step of the progress
- Fill them in with required information
- Distribute the ready material to stakeholders through multiple channels
- Foray, D., Goddard, J., Beldarrain, X. G., Landabaso, M., McCann, P., Morgan, K., … Ortega-Argilés, R. (2012). Guide to Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialization (RIS3). Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Available at: https://bookshop.europa.eu/en/guide-to-research-and-innovation-strategies-for-smart-specialisation-ris-3–pbKN3212216/.