DIALOG for Innovation and Local Growth – Interreg Europe

Six European partners are collaborating in the framework of the Interreg Europe Program for the implementation of DIALOG. The project has the objective of improving the effectiveness of innovative policies for regional competitiveness through the involvement of local stakeholders and citizens in policy and decision making processes. This involvement will be crucial to address common needs and face mid- and long-term challenges related to sustainable territorial development.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

The innovation will provide a framework (though models and guidelines) for public bodies to design, plan, implement and assess complex policy instruments related to sustainable territorial development. These instruments will be appropriately connected with the expectations of the territory's socio-economic actors and citizens. Citizens are the final beneficiaries of the innovation, public actors increase their consensus, businesses enhance their growth opportunities, and social operators achieve their goal of strengthening social inclusion and territorial cohesion. This innovation can be strengthened and enhanced in the future if partners effectively share good practices and learning experiences. For this reason, the partnership will be regularly consolidated and activated.

Models and guidelines have been set up on the basis of partners' experiences in 6 European countries with very different socio-economic and cultural characteristics. These experiences gave rise to unique features that can work as a ‘common denominator’ for shared actions. The project has been implemented with different methods: good practice analyses, peer reviews, SWOT analyses, literature reviews, field surveys, study visits, etc. In this way, partners' experiences within ‘European territorial cooperation’ (INTERREG) work have been valorised according to their different territorial dimensions and contexts. Partners can enhance this innovation (with proper action plans) in the sectors where they value widespread societal participation the most.

The innovation has not come from any precedent action but seeks to enhance typical interregional cooperation tools. It started from the widespread idea among partners that despite the availability of EU Commission handbooks and recommendations, ‘partnership’ processes still refer to the designing phases of policy intervention tools only and are fulfilled almost exclusively through rushed information collection of uncritical opinions.

The following levels have been explored by the partnership: INFORMATION, CONSULTATION, INVOLVEMENT and COLLABORATION. For each one of them, effective methodologies, instruments, and simple formal support actions have been analysed. Subsequently, core elements and strengths have been defined for all methodologies and tools to improve their performances. The result is a framework of ‘suggestions’ and guidelines that can be easily actionable, along with warnings on the most common errors at all stages. Each partner transfers and adapts each tool to its peculiarities in terms of institutional impact, legal constraints, previous experiences and consolidated traditions.

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

Innovation Reflections

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  • Developing Proposals - turning ideas into business cases that can be assessed and acted on
  • Implementation - making the innovation happen
  • Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed
  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

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