CHERRIES workshop at the EU Week of the Regions and Cities. How does the next generation of regional innovation policies look like?

On October 12th, 2022, CHERRIES (Constructing Healthcare Environments through Responsible Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship Strategies)  project organised the workshop “Shaping the Next Generation of Regional Innovation Policies: Open, Responsible and Inclusive”  in the framework of the #EURegionsWeek 2022.

Chaired by Stefan Philipp, ZSI researcher and CHERRIES coordinator, the session offered an opportunity to share some reflections on the role CHERRIES methodology can play in the changing European Regional Innovation Ecosystems.

The introduction allowed the audience to understand the RRI driven project methodology, which focuses on demand-driven innovation processes and co-creation approaches to the definition of innovative solutions to societal needs, through the concrete examples of regional expriments carried out in Murcia (Spain), Örebro (Sweden) and the Republic of Cyrpus in the healthcare sector.

The session then was enriched by the insights from Cristina Fanjul Alonso, President of EBN (European Business and Innovation Centre Network), Lotta Karlsson-Andersson, CEO of Activa Foundation, and Adrián Zittelli Ferrari
Director-General for the European Union Affairs for the Region of Murcia and Representative of the CoR Region of Murcia.

They brought to different perspectives on stage: the one of the EU|BICs (Business Innovation Centres, Incubators, Business Support Organisations, Regional Innovation Agencies, Regional Development Agencies etc), the one of the Civil Society Organisations, and the one of a regional policy maker.

Cristina Fanjul Alonso presented the EU|BICs as multidisciplinary organisations that can act as catalysts for local ecosystems as they can connect the different stakeholders and facilitates on the ground the innovation process, being able to explain/introduce new frameworks and terminology such as RRI and co-creation to different stakeholders (ie: policy makers and SMEs).

Lotta Karlsson-Andersson focused on the importance of creating regional platforms that contribute building coalitions around a perceived problem and co-creating and testing dedicated solutions, thus bringing together actors in a network of shared understanding, trust, and visions.

Adrián Zittelli Ferrari shared the experience of the Region of Murcia in capitalising the results of EU-funded projects (such as CHERRIES) and related EU policies to transform regional innovation policies and instruments. He stressed the importance of international collaborative projects as source of inspiration and mutual learning and the relevance of experimental approaches to regional innovation processes that need to involve citizens more and more.

The workshop continued with an interactive session facilitated via The session aimed at grasping ideas and reflections from the audience on how demand-driven innovation processes and co-creation approaches are/could be applied in other territories (challenges and opportunities).

To conclude, the session highlighted the following findings:

  • Open, Responsible and Inclusive Innovation is a set of processes that can be beneficial beyond normative reasons.
  • Experimental approaches are needed to deal with complexity and uncertainty. They are a way of learning, building coalitions and challenging hardened institutions.
  • Place-based approaches are needed to fit localised problems and capabilities. Context matters!
  • Innovation often is evolutionary. There is a need to manage the transition between practices and approaches.  Implementation includes the discontinuation of old solutions.
  • Power and resources. Not every stakeholder has the same preconditions to engage in this innovation journeys but that does not mean they are not relevant.

Rationales for Regional Innovation Policies are changing as there is an increasing push for moving from innovation for developing an economic competitive advantage (S3) to innovation for meeting sustainability goals (S4, Agenda 2030). The required transformation of socio-technical systems will require a broad set of innovations, and the source of innovation thus might arise from unusual spots and cooperations.

As CHERRIES showed through its regional experiments, RRI driven approaches can un-lock the innovation potential of the wider society therefore leading to the Next Generation of Regional Innovation Policies: Open, Responsible and Inclusive.

If you missed the session, you can watch the recordings here

And you can download the CHERRIES presentation here: 2022_EWRC_CHERRIESeu workshop