“The strength of the enhancing system depends greatly on an array of intangible assets. These include the internal dynamic of the regional, socio-cultural, and political assets; the informal flow of knowledge between different parties generating the bulk of territorialized externalities; and the opportunities for the region to build and keep its distinctive competence” (Michael Storper – The Regional World – 1997).
Importance of communication
It is a proven fact that stand-alone innovation initiatives or educational systems does not enhance or stimulate cooperation, commercialization or innovation to the expected benefits.
However by promoting interaction and bridges of communication, transparency and collaboration between all involved parties, outcomes and benefits can be enhanced in order to reinforce regional or cluster capabilities and competitiveness, adding incentives for a quicker and better market uptake.
Setting up a collaboration and interaction platform in the form of a Digital Collaboration Arena is characterized by a faster route to reach co-operation in innovation.
The platform project includes placing creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and interaction at the heart of strategy, building strategic innovation and educational networks and research programs that add value to the context.
The Digital Collaboration Arena enhances the regional or cluster brand when combining the information flow to one website, enabling international reach and critical information mass. It also creates a one-stop position for external parties such as journalists, students and financiers.
A Digital Collaboration Arena will boost the region or cluster in terms of innovation, education and entrepreneurial potential and enhance the governance and transparency of systematic innovation. Furthermore it will establish a seedbed for the site, region or cluster to keep, and further develop its distinctive competence. Another added function is transparency and insights for auditing, funding and principality as well as European Union relations.
Business function of a digital collaboration arena
The Arena is an advanced environment that provides each audience with specific or customized communication and collaboration services, a project management system, an integrated marketing and sales solution, a market place and a document room.
Ideally, the Arena is developed on open source software with a modular architecture. It is operated, and strictly managed, by a team of web editors monitoring and boosting topics, themes, articles, and subjects, keeping information flow constant, qualitative, balanced and relevant.
a) The ability to bring together three forms of intelligence: the human intelligence of the cluster’s members and the collective intelligence of educations, institutions, companies, financiers, officials supporting learning and innovation, and the artificial intelligence of digital networks and Internet-based services for innovation.
b) The Arena is far more than just the local network; it is a business network of individuals, educational institutions, projects, companies, organizations, media and other stakeholders that interact through specific Arenas and tools, potentially crossing geographical and other boundaries in order to pursue mutual interests or goals.
c) The Arena allows qualitative communication to be conducted efficiently, in depth and in real-time.
d) The geographical dimension of digital communities: they can be extended from a city district to being multi-continental. The language barrier is removed with modern and integrated translation tools and multiple language levels.
e) The possibility to extended and enhance auditing of all relevant processes, project development and interaction between projects, parties and principals.
f) The aggregation of information on one site in order to reach ‘critical mass’ for as an example developed cooperative and competitive marketing, search engine optimization, one point of call for the local and international press, proof of concept for governments investments etc.
g) The creation of a cross border branding and unifying Arena enabling further and international reach, cost effectiveness, and cooperation.
Functionality and service layers
In order to deliver both internal and external benefits and added values the Digital Collaboration Arena should ideally be divided in three service layers (modules) of which the first two are basic components and the third is an optional layer;
(1) External service layer; a state of the art external presentation Arena aiming at reaching target groups on both the national and the international arena. As an example, this will develop critical information mass, marketing, media, political issues and transparency, where the main function is presentation but also adding aggregation and inward distribution of external information (i.e. www.ri.se)
The external information flow is used for marketing, opinion and transparency from officials, companies, educational institutions, projects, and individuals becoming a showroom for all on-going initiatives and projects, and also adding functions such as Employment service, Billboard (i.e. market place, procurements, funding), press management, official calendar, competitor information, transparency, edu-collaborations, news (internal – outwardly directed).
From a political and principal point of view, the external presentation Arena adds transparency and auditing and thus enhances the governance of the innovation system as well as reducing costs.
For all parties the marketing synergies are clearly visible by cooperation reaching levels the small operator would never reach i.e. cost, experience, visibility and efficiency but also international SEO (search engine optimization) for global reach and competiveness. For the press and other interested parties it becomes a one point of call for reference materials, inspiration, and insight once the collective information reaches critical mass.
(2) Internal service layer; an internal Collaboration Arena for the stakeholders, adding functions and tools to develop auditing, cooperation, communication, project effectiveness, competiveness and attraction where the main functions are communication, education, innovation, and project development (i.e. www.trip.se).
It features internal news (outside in, as well as internal) by relevance from individuals, projects, partners (TT, Reuters TV, etc.), co-actors (Educational, institutes, governments, funding, etc.), and industry and business intelligence.
It also features a market place for employment and housing service, educational cooperation, procurement, resources and funding issues. The Arena is set up for presentation and collaboration purposes, and it features an internal calendar and channels for distribution of news and information. It further enhances governance and insight in the innovation and education system.
(3) The Innovation Ideagora Arena is seeking to involve the global arena in the development of the existing or coming projects by inviting externals to on-line participation in chosen parts of projects or R&D, or by collecting ideas and knowledge from the same; ranging from specialist knowledge to basic commercial thoughts and ideas.
Information flows both ways, adding cross project ideas and knowledge flows as well as external and internal marketing, opinions and transparency.
It features an open place where large numbers of people and/or businesses gather to exchange ideas and solutions adding massive reach, a collective register and referral of knowledge. It invites all to participate and is an excellent scouting area for knowledge, new talents, and similar projects.
These three layers collectively add a diversity of functions to multiply the output and sums up to a unique state of the art Arena creating a new generation of effective innovation systems.