P-IRIS has inspired the cluster program of Norway.  The national cluster program will the coming autumn launch a call targeted at incomplete innovation networks that want to develop their strengths and abilities in cooperation with mature and more complete clusters. The aim is to connect vibrant and competent innovation networks – often in rural areas – to strong clusters. The benefit is supposed to be two-ways; both for the hub and for the rural node.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are less and less an individual issue. It is more and more a collective effort including building supply- and value chains and bringing people together in entrepreneurial discovery processes.

Through 4 ½ year of cooperation within P-IRIS we have studied, discussed, developed skills in innovation-network management and launched ideas for improving policy instruments. At our final conference we adopted a position paper based on the core of innovation networks; to build bridges to share knowledge at different steps of an innovation process.

One of our key messages was: Include rural innovation networks in the cluster policies.

We shoved 4 models - two of these being:

  • The rural innovation network may be a node to an urban cluster
  • The rural innovation network may take a position and even take the lead in developing a value chain

A call is decided! The managers of the Norwegian cluster program have followed the discussions within P-IRIS and now tell us that they have decided to launch a call the coming autumn targeted at incomplete innovation networks. This is based on an understanding of the importance and potential of innovation networks. Many rural networks have dedicated industry leaders, but they often lack critical mass and they lack access to parts of a complete innovation system, e.g. within R&D.

The foreseen call will be target at incomplete innovation networks. All details are not in place. The overall aim is to build strong and competitive clusters. Important criteria for a call targeted at rural innovation networks communicated now (before the official launch), are:

  • Resources allocated for the local innovation network (the node)
  • Formal cooperation with a mature cluster (the hub)
  • The partners need to demonstrate mutual benefits
  • Benefits for the node:

           -  Increased critical mass

           -  A more complete innovation system

           -  New links within the innovation network

Authort: Lars Hustveit [Lead partner of the Interreg Europe project P-IRIS]