Blue Growth and Smart Specialisation: How to catch maritime growth through “Value Nets”

This policy brief from the Joint Research Centre looks at how the principles of smart specialisation and value nets can be used to stimulate the blue economy.

The report gives a review of the opportunities and challenges policy makers face when applying smart specialisation to the maritime economy and provides suggestions for seeking international and regional cooperation through value nets.

Blue growth and smart specialisation have many commonalities

There is much scope of valuing both concepts together as they both have an integrated and bottom-up approach, and focus on economic activity rather than sectors. They also embrace innovation and young enterprises, which are vehicles for economic transformation.

Still, the two concepts have been developed separately. As both have reached the stage of implementation, it is now practical to compare them and understand how they can support each other. This should be done through value networks, which  are instrumental in advancing business and institutional practices.

The benefits of using value nets

The purpose of value nets is to create the most benefit for those involved in the network. The policy brief underlines that the intangible value of knowledge within these networks is just as important as a monetary value. In order to succeed, knowledge must be shared between countries and regions to create the best situations or opportunities. Three pathways to building blue value nets are presented in the report:

  • Expanding nets through suppliers and enablers
  • Sharing infrastructure
  • Boosting blue clusters and networks

To expand and transform the existing value chains, it is important to ensure competency development and knowledge sharing. Maritime clusters should also be used as a tool to promote smart specialisation. Moreover, increased trans-boundary cooperation and collaborative labs are needed and these should be stimulated. All of this will require actions from both the private and public sector.

The report is based on the presentations, discussions and exchanges during a S3 Platform Implementation workshop held in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, on 8/9 October 2015.

By Martine Farstad