Digital innovation requires access to digital networks, the skills to exploit them, and the individual and community capacity and willingness to seek change and develop solutions to meet social, economic and environmental challenges. The extension of high-speed broadband to reach increasing numbers of rural communities has laid the foundations for rural stakeholders to play a role in the rapidly developing digital economy and society.

Truly bottom-up digital transformation in rural, peripheral, and emerging regions is more than speeding up the application of digital technologies; it is about ensuring that each rural village, town, and region, and their communities, can translate the potential of digital technologies into economic and social opportunities. Inclusion in digital transformation is the singular most important factor in participating in European future integration; just as exclusion risks further social and economic isolation of rural and peripheral areas. Crucially, digital transformation increases the pressure on communities, companies, and public bodies to innovate continuously.

Smart villages cannot be achieved simply through top-down imposition of digitalisation. In ERUDITE our aim has been to fully exploit the economic and social potential of local assets and networks by designing new digital services with and for local stakeholders, responding to real public, private, and community need, and as a result better direct public and private investments in infrastructure and uses. Through our merging of Open Innovation and Social and Economic Return on Investment into our SEROI+ process, partnerships have been fostered between businesses, citizens, and public administrations, empowering them to innovate and plan services for maximum impact and benefit.

Smart villages and towns in the rural, peripheral, and emerging regions of Europe need smart citizens, business, and public administrations and above all require investment in networking and co-operation in and between rural communities, their citizens, and stakeholders, including at European level, to maintain the dynamic they have begun.

SEROI+ has enabled ERUDITE to change the way our partners approach service design and roll-out by creating a clear value-led roadmap with four steps that constitute the building blocks for digital service co-creation for smart rural communities +and ecosystems:

1. Define policy or practice goals for the services
2. Identify and engage relevant stakeholders and define their goals
3. Co-design the service
4. Set indicators and values; estimate then monitor social, economic and environmental return on investment.

To assist other rural areas in adopting our own 'Smart Village' approach we have put together a collection of guides, links and support materials. In the Library Section the following documents can be found in the folder Smart Village Documents:

SMART VILLAGE FIRST STEPS : Use this set of slides to discover more about what digital services your village, its inhabitants and stakeholders need and find important.
SMART VILLAGE  EVOLUTION MODEL: Showing the key steps on the pathway to becoming a Digital Player.
SMART VILLAGE RESOURCES AND FUNCTIONS: An infographic of Smart Village Building Blocks.      MAPPING of the legislative and strategical environment for Smart Territories/Villages in France

Also check out the ERUDITE SEROI+ Pages where the Valuing Rural Communities Workshop we organised with the ENRD in February 2018, showed how the SEROI+ methodology can be used to co-design Smart Villages and their Services.


Cooperation with the ENRD:

Back to Back with its final conference in Dijon, ERUDITE co-organised the ENRD 8th Thematic Group Meeting on ‘Smart Villages’ in Lormes, (Nièvre) France:

ERUDITE also contributed to the ENRD publication French strategies for digitising rural areas:

ERUDITE contribute to the ENRD Publication Smart Villages and Rural Digital Transformation

Article in SCITECH EUROPA: ERUDITE & smart villages - Co-creating the digital transformation of rural Europe: