A Toolbox for Strategic Leadership of Innovative Networks 2019

Juni 2019

This is the second version of this toolbox for strategic leadership of innovative networks. The toolbox contains tools both for establishing and revitalizing networks (strategic tools), and for running and maintaining networks (functional tools). Both the first and second version are results of a cooperation between Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) and Vestlandsforsking (VF).

The first version was inspired by the project “Innovation in Rural Places - Conditions and Barriers” (“IRCAB”), funded by the County Authority of Sogn og Fjordane, the Norwegian Research Council (the VRI programme), as well as HVL and VF. Even if the IRCAB project resulted in several reports, feature articles, book chapters and presentations, the researchers also recognized a need for the more practical approach. Moreover, both the County Authority and other stakeholders had expressed special interest in developing a toolbox that incorporated the new knowledge developed in the IRCAB project. Accordingly, the researchers elaborated a simple, first version of a toolbox for developing, renewing and operating innovative networks. The toolbox was theoretically based, but contained practical examples from the IRCAB project to be easily accessible and relevant to both business stakeholders and public policy funding schemes. To summarize, we applied a so-called functional analysis of networks, a method recognized internationally (Bergek et al., 2008; Heydebreck et al., 2014), and developed further by us. Our research findings in IRCAB led us to define a set of tools which may be useful when dealing with innovative networks and innovative processes across businesses. 

It was the EU project “Interreg Europe P-IRIS” which presented the opportunity to test and make a second version of the toolbox. In P-IRIS, partners in six countries tested out the first version of the toolbox on three network cases in each country. This gave the authors not only new cases to use as examples, but also constructive feedback and positive motivation for making this new, improved and now tested version of the toolbox.