Northern Connections activities pushing innovation

Innovation opportunities for SME’s

Through our Living Labs we set practices on involving SMEs in solving energy challenges of cities and regions. A sustainable energy Living Lab is a real demonstration project with actual industry investments, technologies and experts - it is not merely a demonstration project, that is static and limited to its existing partners. 

The Living Labs provide, to SMEs, access to an early phase of developing a pool of solutions towards public and private sector challenges. The challenges are made accessible through open-solution pitches and carried out throughout the North-Sea region. Creating a true market place where public and private sector challenge owners can see what the market can offer.

The identification of the Living Labs have been a process with a long list of 170 potential living labs, shortlisted to 40 and now we have app. 1 in each country. See the Living Labs here . 

Below you can download our Short Guide to Living Labs and our Specification form for the shortlist process. Watch the video from the Oslo Living Lab.


  Short guide to Living Labs
undefined    Specification form Shortlist process

Clusters plays a key role

We have identified, developed and tested tools to improve SME’s innovation skills. Clusters use the toolbox to adapt their services to meet the needs of enterprises. 

The toolbox is a guide to understanding and carrying out interregional innovation activities for SMEs around innovation support measures already tied into regional RET value and innovation chains. A model for interregional cluster cooperation, where SMEs can profit from innovation and business opportunities across regions. It will contribute added value to initiatives like Enterprise Europe Network and European Cluster of Excellence Initiative.

Want to know more?

You can read some of our discussion points here. Get info on our toolbox for clusters here and watch a run through of different Innovation tools here. 

Download version 1.0 of our Toolbox of Innovation Support Measures. This compilation of examples can be adapted by cluster actors to enhance innovation capacity. Selected measures are implemented in our living labs. 

Download version 2.0 of the Toolbox - tools for Living Labs.

undefined  Toolbox version 1.0 


Cities and regions - the challenge owners 

By bringing together regions, cities and clusters, we discuss our role and identify tools that we can use to support SME innovation across borders. We wish to stimulate the international competitiveness of our SMEs, of the region by extending innovation collaboration between clusters, regions and cities across borders.

We will develop and test new practices for building an international dimension into regional smart specialisation strategies, with a particular focus on living labs and how a coordinated effort from clusters and cities play a key role in this.

Want to know more?

You can read some of our discussion points here as well as an example from Århus, Denmark. Get at 1-page overview here or download our Recommendations and tools for Cities and Regions as drivers for innovation. Watch the Oslo approach here. 

undefined Recommendations and tools for Cities and Regions

Expanding our knowledge base

We will support the knowledge transfer between the cities and regions, the clusters and academia. Regional innovation strategies (RIS3) focus on the strengths of a region – they seldom take into account the synergies with neighbouring regions and the potential of transnational cooperation

Therefore, we will expand our knowledge on how RIS3 can support internationalisation and how clusters can use this. These findings will provide valuable input to the capacity building on political and strategic level.

We also intend to dig deeper into how clusters support SME internationalization and innovation participation. This will provide a basis for cluster capacity building.

Want to know more?

Read more of our preliminary results and from our meeting in December 2017.

Download the summary of preliminary results below and get at 1-page overview of these activities in the sheet "Northern Connections - Baseline knowledge" below.

Read the short version


Want to know more about Northern Connections - Download our master slides.