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 - and you can see the provided short guide, which was created in the beginning of the project. We have through our project time already held more than 10 Living Lab Events with great succes, where a lot of innovative companies have participated and established new business collaborations with big challenge owners. 
See the Living Labs HERE

You can also see the short movies from the Living Lab Events HERE.

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 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. You can downloade the Toolbox v. 3.0 HERE.

Want to know more?

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

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. Get at an overview here or download our Recommendations and tools for Cities and Regions as drivers for innovation

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.


This section will soon be updated with results.