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Recommendations for cross-border innovation policies in Hedmark-Dalarna

The search for economies of scale as well as addressing accessibility issues in the tourism sector are relevant goals that could be complemented by a distinctive “sports, health and green” offer. Given the competitive pressures on tourism industries worldwide, it seems appropriate that the areas in Hedmark and Dalarna join their assets to develop an offer that is marketed internationally. improving external accessibility is necessary for developing the industry. Forward-looking cost-benefit studies, complemented by risk analyses, should inform the stakeholders on the feasibility of an international airport in the vicinity of this touristic area. This connectivity issue is not the only one to be solved. The marketing of a distinctive image, based on unique assets and innovative products and services, is essential for this high-cost tourism area to be competitive. The distinctive local assets contribute to a “sports, health and green” image. This would give several actors, notably the university colleges, the opportunity to participate in upgrading skills and the innovative potential of the sector.

Cross-border co-operation opportunities appear to be limited in other sectors; therefore pursuing them requires that the benefits outweigh costs. Actors from the construction and timber industry have mentioned some potential for co-operation, albeit some key actors may be located in other nearby counties. Teknikdalen and Tretorget (respectively a Swedish entity focusing on SMEs and innovation and a Norwegian agency promoting innovation in the wood processing sector in Hedmark) could play a central role in exploring other sectors and the possibility of joint use of specialised innovation coaches. Further collaboration possibilities between the university colleges, in the area of lifelong and distance learning in particular, makes sense, again in a broader context than the two counties, given the large geographical distances between urban centres in the two regions. Joint services that address the common challenges of these peripheral and sparsely populated areas (e.g. in the health sector), may be another useful area for exchanges, and possibly further development of joint innovative services between the two counties.

Cross-border area: For innovation partners, consider neighbouring Norwegian and Swedish counties of Inner Scandinavia, notably to the south

  • • Tourism co-operation at the smaller scale of the border municipalities makes sense.
  • • Promote proximity innovation co-operation activities, outside of the tourism sector, with relevant partners beyond Hedmark-Dalarna, notably to the south.

Governance: Expand the governance frameworks to include non-public actors (“triple helix”) for innovation co-operation, with project financing from existing national programmes

  • • Associate private and knowledge actors in cross-border governance in a broad sense.
  • • Allow for cross-border funding in national programmes such as Vinnvaxt (Vinnova, Sweden) or Arena (Innovation Norway), subject to demonstration of cross-border value-added.

Innovation policies and instruments: Explore joint cross-border initiatives of mutual benefit and where benefits outweigh costs

  • • Explore the relevance of joint activities of knowledge parks and innovation intermediaries (Innovation Centre Hedmark, Teknikdalen).
  • • Explore joint activities in distance learning and joint education, particularly in tourism and forestry-related industries.

Bibliography

Hedmark-Dalarna Border Committee (2013).

Nauwelaers, C., K. Maguire and G. Ajmone Marsan (2013), “The case of Hedmark-Dalarna (Norway-Sweden) - Regions and Innovation: Collaborating Across Borders”, OECD Regional Development Working Papers, No. 2013/18, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/10.1787/5k3xv0r36gls-en.

OECD (2013), OECD Regional Statistics (database), http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/region- data-en.

 
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