Publications of Innovative Regions in the Nordics

Publications derive from the projects under the Nordic Thematic Group for Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017-2020. The research contains different perceptions and perspectives of economic and social resilience in the Nordic region. Publications give also a knowledge of how authorities implement digital strategies, what role digitalization plays in the context of business development, and how it changes the nature of the jobs and the public services. Finalised Reports and shorter Policy Briefs are available here as soon as they are published. Find ongoing projects under "Projects".

Click on the titles to find the whole publications.

Report 2020: Skills Policies – Building Capacities for Innovative and Resilient Nordic Regions

Skills is a topic which is increasingly gaining attention from policymakers. The current Covid-19 pandemic, and its consequences for the Nordic economy and labour market, are now expected to increase interest in skills issues even further. This report highlights who the actors involved in the regional skills eco-systems are. It also identifies the main enabling and hampering factors involved in working with skills assessment and anticipation, skills development, and skills governance.


Policy brief 2020: Strengthening regional resilience through adaptive collaboration: A case study on the fisheries co-management Northern Bohuslän

This policy brief examines how co-management arrangements within small-scale fisheries can play a key role in enhancing sectoral and regional resilience. Despite major challenges, “multi-stakeholder collaborations” – such as co-management – demonstrate the potential for innovative knowledge transfer and strategic adaptation processes within the fisheries sector. The focus here is on Co-management Northern Bohuslän (Samförvaltning Norra Bohuslän), which promotes sustainable local fisheries and blue growth on Sweden’s west coast.


Report 2020: Skills supply and governance in the Bothnian Arc cross-border region

This study investigates the state of play of skills supply and demand in the Bothnian Arc cross-border region. Empirical evidence is gathered to shed light on some of the reasons behind the present and future challenges in meeting the demand for skills supply.


Working Paper 2020: Kompetensbehov för Smart specialisering i Värmland

I Region Värmland pågår arbetet med att ta fram en ny regional utvecklingsstrategi, en kompetensförsörjningsstrategi och en ny strategi för smart specialisering.

Nordregio har fått i uppdrag av Region Värmland att göra en genomlysning av kompetensförsörjningsbehov inom områdena för Värmlands forsknings- och innovationsstrategi för smart specialisering som löper under perioden 2015 – 2020.


Policy brief 2020: Rural perspectives on digital innovation: Experiences from small enterprises in the Nordic countries and Latvia

This Policy Brief explores strategies to overcome the digital divide, with a focus on increasing the competitiveness of small rural enterprises through digital innovation. It is based on a larger project which included desk-based research, a series of workshops held in rural locations around the Nordic-Baltic Region and a webinar series.


Report 2020: Rural perspectives on digital innovation: Experiences from small enterprises in the Nordic countries and Latvia

The baseline study explored the nature of digital transformation in rural areas and reflected on opportunities and challenges for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural areas in each of the Nordic countries and in Latvia. 


Report 2019: Social and Economic Resilience in the Bothnian Arc Cross-Border Region

What global and local risks and long-term challenges is the Bothnian Arc cross-border area exposed to? And how can societies and economies in this area anticipate and respond to them to ensure resilient long-term development paths?

This report provides a background overview of resilience and the methodology applied. Moreover, the report provides a snapshot of the resilience situation in the Bothnian Arc. The data and information gathered were collected by interviewing local people both in Swedish and Finnish sides.

The report is written by Nordregio together with the Bothnian Arc association.


Policy Brief 2019: Implementing Smart Specialisation strategies in Nordic regions

Smart Specialisation (S3) as a policy tool has quickly been adopted across the European Union and in the Nordic countries, but the implementation of S3 is not uniformly adopted. What is the added value of smart specialization implementation in Nordic regions?

So, this policy brief explores the adoption of Smart Specialisation (S3) strategies in the Nordic Region. Strengthened governance structures, clear ownership to S3 processes, and understanding S3 as a process in its own right are some of the key recommendations. The study also explores if there is a Nordic Model of S3.


Report 2019: Is the coast clear? The role of digitalization for enabling blue growth in the cross-border region of Svinesund

Digitalization is impacting various facets of society and holds great potential in radically changing the ways businesses are operating. Despite these radical changes, little has been said about the impact of digitalization on micro-, small and medium-sized businesses within the marine sector.

To close this gap, this complimentary report is a follow-up study of Randal and Berlina’s report Governing the digital transition in Nordic regions: The human element (2019).

This study explores what role digitalization plays in the context of business development and growth in the marine sector in the Svinesund area; the different challenges and opportunities that surface in this context; and what role the Svinesund mega-region may play for the future of blue growth.

The study on digitalization and blue growth has been developed on behalf of the Nordic thematic working group’s member Svinesundskommittén (The Svinesund committee).


Policy Brief 2019: Governing the Digital Transition in the Nordic Regions

The Nordic countries are often positioned as digital front-runners in the European and global contexts. Digitalization is changing the nature of the business, jobs, and the provision of public services. Rapid digitalization and technological change require governments and organizations to introduce proactive measures to embrace new digitalization opportunities.

This policy brief explores the local and regional dimension of digital transformation. It examines the opportunities and challenges that Nordic regions are facing related to digitalization and highlights some lessons learned from five Nordic regions implementing digitalization agendas. It also sets out key recommendations for creating an enabling environment for digitalization work at different governance levels.


Policy Brief 2019: Building Economic and Social Resilience in the Nordic Regions

Building regional resilience is vital in an interconnected global economy where external events have a significant impact on regional and local communities. Resilience thinking gives regions the possibility to anticipate and respond to unexpected events.

This policy brief examines different types of risks and a series of factors that help to build resilience in the Nordic regions.


Report 2019: Governing the digital transition in Nordic Regions: The human element

This in-depth study explores digitalization in Nordic regions by studying how local and regional authorities are implementing national and regional digital strategies.

Further, it seeks to identify the different types of actors (public sectors, companies, and civil society) and actor constellations that are key in the digital transformation of Nordic regions.

The study explores how the Nordic regions are dealing with the challenges and opportunities related to digitalization and aims to identify the strongest potential for knowledge sharing and collaboration at different levels.

In the study, five regional Nordic case studies were chosen for in-depth analysis: Southern Denmark (Vejle), Tampere Region, Reykjavík, Finnmark (Vardø) and Skåne Region (Helsingborg).


Report 2019: The status, characteristics, and potential of smart specialization in Nordic Regions

This report attempts to create a foundation for understanding the added value of smart specialization in the Nordic context and focuses on the cohesiveness and complementarity between the different tiers of government, paying particular attention to the dialogue between the national and regional levels to identify factors that enable or impede the implementation of smart specialization.

It also addresses the role of smart specialization in realizing the green economy and looks at regional commonalities in the pursuit of identifying a Nordic model of smart specialization.

This report is prepared on behalf of the Nordic Thematic Group for Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017–2020, under the Nordic Council of Ministers Committee of Civil Servants for Regional Affairs.


Report 2019: Regional Economic and Social Resilience: An Exploratory In-Depth Study in the Nordic Countries

How capable are local and regional economies of recovering from global and local shocks and threats and ensure resilient long-term development paths?

Answering this question was the challenge of the Nordic Thematic Group on Innovative and Resilient regions, set by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Thus, from 2017 to 2018, an exploratory in-depth study was conducted on economic and social resilience in the Nordic regions.

The empirical research included a close examination of a variety of threats as well as factors driving resilience in regions in all five Nordic Countries.