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From theory to practice in smart specialization strategy: Emerging limits and possible future trajectories

: Capello, Roberta; Kroll, Henning


European planning studies 24 (2016), Nr.8, S.1393-1406
ISSN: 0965-4313
Fraunhofer ISI ()
smart specialization strategy; limits of the present policy design; future policy trajectory

The smart specialization strategy is now a reality. With regions and nations having completed the technical fulfillment of the ex-ante conditionality and the related action plans, the first evaluation studies have been launched with the aim to assess the consistency of the concept, once moving from the design (theory) to the implementation phase (practice). From these first evaluation exercises, strengths and weaknesses emerge in the way the smart specialization strategy has been conceived that lead to reflections on its possible future adjustment trends. The paper highlights emerging bottlenecks (e.g. the lack of local pre-conditions in the local economy and limits of governance) as well as possible future trajectories to overcome such bottlenecks, like the shift from a compulsory to a voluntary RIS, and from an industry-focused to a territorial development strategies.