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Support SMEs innovation and initiatives within Smart Industrial Villages (SIV), an approach for renovating traditional urban industrial areas

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Go SIV (Support SMEs innovation and initiatives within Smart Industrial Villages (SIV), an approach for renovating traditional urban industrial areas)

Reporting period: 2017-10-16 to 2018-10-15

Go SIV project aimed at improving the support provided to SMEs innovation processes by testing and developing a model of innovation ecosystem named “Smart Industrial Villages” (SIV).
Go SIV had therefore the aim to respond to specific needs (renovate the industrial areas; qualify the SMEs located in the area and assure the attractiveness of the area itself for new investors and settlement of new enterprises, respond to new criteria of urban quality, etc.). It also had the aim to develop and test an innovative model for designing and developing the upgrading or refurbishment of industrial and crafts areas through inclusive and participatory processes, creation of synergies with public transport, accessibility, promotion of full integration with the “living urban context and the citizenship, activation of new «smart» services or forms of circular economy and sustainability.
Through this upgrading or renovation process, the urban industrial area can be promoted as a real part of the urban context and an effective innovation ecosystem, where new forms of innovation and entrepreneurship can take place, also by the means of dedicated tools or services.
The project used as a reference method the peer learning methodology promoted by the INNOSUP-05-2016-2017 topic, involving different regional development and innovation agencies with complementary expertise about the topics relevant for the “Smart Industrial Villages”. The partners exchanged knowledge and experience, and developed proper local case studies (obtaining a process of “learning by doing”) as test activity. The joint work of project partners together with the peer learning produced the present Design Options Paper for the implementation of local initiatives aimed at the development of “Smart Industrial Villages” and related innovation support services.
Expertise, knowledge, case studies, ideas and points of view of the different local stakeholders and managers provided the contents for feeding both the peer learning workshops and the local workshops case studies (through local workshops and meetings) as well as the contents of the DOP resulting from them. Direct involvement of local stakeholders was a basic component of the Go SIV project scheme.

The structure of the project takes into consideration three working environments:
1) The international peer learning workshops, by which the partners were be able to meet, exchange their knowledge and expertise, provide mutual master classes on specific topics and work together. During the meetings, partners discussed outcomes of the peer learning and the case studies and tried out the contents of the DOP, which is be the main deliverable of the project. After the third International Peer Learning workshop, partners prepared the final release of the DOP.
2) The regional case studies published, by which the partners were able to work on a specific local pilot areas for the application of the concepts of “Smart Industrial Village” approach.
3) Activities in pilot areas - each partner worked with a specific local industrial area or a specific local context including different industrial urban areas to be renovated. The measures were intended for renovation of the area and also for including new industrial and crafts activities, cultural and/or artistic activities, developing commercial and recreational functionalities of the area, optimizing mobility and means of public transport, etc. Focus groups and/or local meetings enabled discussion and learning by doing about the possible design options for the local initiative and the renovation of the area as a means for building an effective innovation ecosystem, and for specific local innovation support services.

As a result of the work of all partners, three case studies, Delivery Option Paper presenting the development model for SIV and tools to support the process of creation, regional workshops were produced within the project Go SIV. The event and achievements of the project are also documented on the project website Through the website the documents describing the results of the work will be available.

The project results are disseminated through the direct contacts with the stakeholders and interested third parties, presentations on various meetings, the presentation during the international event in Brussels within the European Week of Regions and Cities, through the social media used by project partners and on their internet websites. Additionally, the information about the DOP will be disseminated by EURADA among the members and other stakeholders. Partners also communicate the availability of DOP to the stakeholders and will encourage them to further dissemination of the results - this is done by the direct personal contacts, emails, websites and social media. Dissemination and communication activities are going to be continued among stakeholders.
Through the project activities, the development agencies involved were able to:
- exchange their respective expertise,
- identify the basic elements of a common reference model (the Smart Industrial Villages model),
- implementing activities (focus groups, meetings) at their local level,
- build a local case study (the study for requalification of an urban industrial area) and, therefore
- developing a process of learning by doing that provided additional added value to the peer learning.

The three agencies worked together to define features and tools connected with the different elements of the model, finalising the preparation of a Design Options Paper for the startup and design of local initiatives intended to develop a “Smart Industrial Village”, and for the design of innovation support services for the enterprises of the area, intended this latter to be an effective innovation ecosystem.

Through this experience and the application of the Go SIV project scheme the development agencies enhanced their role as promoters of SME’s innovation processes. The application of the model described in the DOP, and its inclusive character was intended for assuring an higher level of satisfaction by the local stakeholders, who were involved in the design process and stimulated by the opportunity to produce new forms of innovation. This was intended to make the methodology and the expected results coherent with the challenge the specific Horizon 20202 programme reference topics addresses.

Moreover, the proposed approach is coherent with the objectives of the call in which the reference topic is in included as it refers to new forms of innovation (such as new services, integrating commercial and leisure functions, promoting micro craft or art/design activities, possible applications of “smart technologies”) and new entrepreneurship connected with them. The industrial area (close or included in the urban context) is tested as an effective environment for promoting and supporting an innovation ecosystem. The model can be capitalised at the regional level and promoted at the European level, as the peer learning process developed by the partners will keep into consideration that different local situations across Europe can have different starting point in terms of features, available structures and local services, entrepreneurial and business culture.