An Intervention-Logic Approach for The Design and Implementation of S3 Strategies

-By Mathieu Doussineau and Christian Saublens


Recent analyses regarding the first generation of Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) and the related Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) are showing that the governance system is a key success factor for the implementation of a R&D+I strategy. It has been, nevertheless, acknowledged that those two concepts are not always adapted to reflect the diversity and the specificity of European regions. Moreover, some reports are pointing out that the governance system does not cover the entire cycle of the strategy design. It also appears that not enough regional genuine choices are made, and that lack of result-oriented approaches and administrative capacities are bottlenecks.

The question on how to improve the governance system was at the core of the development of an intervention-logic approach. To do so, the governance system is treated as a value chain. Pay attention that a chain always breaks at its weakest point!

The proposed intervention-logic methodology is conceived as an offer to policy makers to associate all stakeholders to the “co-translation” of the regional vision into practical and targeted inputs and outputs. The approach is an invitation to undertake a journey starting from a fair self-assessment of the regional ecosystem (assets, capabilities, past experience, ex post evaluation, stakeholders needs, etc.) to the selection of realistic means to address the policy objectives as well as the expectations of end-users and markets.


The methodology postulates that strategy inefficiencies often come from an overestimation of the assets and/or an underestimation of the available capabilities. Therefore, the methodology is constructed in such a way that each decision to be taken is supported by a collection of information (place-based intelligence) and by the analysis of the data. The intervention-logic approach is a six-step cascade process.

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