On Wednesday, October 24, Gonzalo Castellanos Ramallo, an expert in innovation policies in Europe and Latin America, held an online seminar "Is Smart Specialization" intelligent "̈ for the Latin American regions? Opportunities and Challenges" within the framework of the INNOVACT project.

Gonzalo presented the historical context of smart specialization policies in Europe in the 2000s, as well as two case studies in two Latin American regions (in the Bogotá-Cundinamarca region and in Piura in Peru). During the presentation, obstacles were explored for the design of smart specializations in Latin America, as well as the operational limitations of the methodology. The positive aspects and contributions of these experiences were also emphasized, and in particular, the strengthening of local leadership in the field of innovation.
You can find his presentation in PDF format and a summary of his research below.


"Is Smart Specialisation "smart" For Latin American Regions? A Multiple-Case Study" - Abstract

Inspired by European experience with regional innovation strategies and with the goal to develop locally relevant policies for technology upgrading, several subnational territories in Latin America are developing innovation strategies based on the Smart Specialisation concept. As this trend grows is crucial to understand how this policy approach is being ̈tropicalised ̈ and to identify common implementation challenges that enhance inter-regional learning.

Accordingly, this dissertation developed a multiple-case study of the RIS3 initiatives in Bogota-Cundinamarca (Colombia) and Piura (Peru) based on semi-structured interviews and secondary data. The analysis of these cases, aided with the opinion of expert informants, evidence these multi-actor policy definition processes are fostering private-public articulation and providing some discipline to science, technology and innovation investment. However, statistical deficits, weak institutional capacity and various identified conceptual limitations are entailing technical deficiencies in the definition of strategic priorities and policy mix instruments. Furthermore, poor regional financial autonomy and the reliance on national bureaucratic public instruments causing delays in the implementation phase.

The identified technical and political challenges suggest the importance of developing a set of pre-conditions in regions to facilitate the implementation of Smart Specialisation, which includes advancing in processes of devolution, fostering pockets of technical excellence and establishing flexible funding instruments that are also friendly with experimentation.