The networks in VRI2
In the spring of 2012, we conducted an initial mapping of innovative networks active in Sogn og Fjordane County. This was done via interviews with representatives from 25 of 26 municipalities in Sogn og Fjordane County. As a result of the mapping, we identified 117 networks. The networks were reviewed by the researchers and led to collection of more information about the networks enabling classification.
After a careful sampling process, we were left with four networks and two business cases: IT Forum Sogn og Fjordane (IT-F), the Fruit and Berries Network in Sogn og Fjordane (FBN), The Jostedalen Business Network (BJ), Sogn og Fjordane Energy Region (ESF), and the two business cases Hellenes and Sogn Aqua. Through the contact with Hellenes and Sogn Aqua, we were informed about a marine network in the establishment phase, “Marint Vekstforum” (Marine Growth Forum). In the following, we refer to this as our fifth network (MSF). Beware of the fact that since both the Jostedalen business network and Sogn og Fjordane Energy Region were relatively new networks, they were not as evolved in their innovation activities as the IT Forum and Fruit and Berries networks.
We obtained the most crucial information via in-depth interviews with key members in the networks and business cases. Moreover, we supplemented this information with available secondary data – first from websites and the organization database ravninfo.com, later also through internal documents from the networks and business cases.
P-IRIS is an EU project (Interreg Europe) with partners from six countries: Norway, Finland, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy and Spain. The partners are:
• Sogn og Fjordane County Municipality (SFCM), lead partner (Norway)
• Development centre of the Heart of Slovenia (Slovenia)
• Local Development Agency PINS (Croatia)
• Regional Council of Central Ostrobothnia (Finland)
• Society for the Development of the Province of Burgos (Spain)
• Poliedra – Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
The P-IRIS project aims to boost innovation through better cooperation in business networks in the areas mentioned above, in order to develop attractive jobs for well-educated and creative young people 2. As part of the project, each partner tested out the first version of this toolbox on three networks, producing 18 case descriptions. In appendix 2 some of these cases are presented. We will refer to P-IRIS network cases throughout this second version of the toolbox. Moreover, the P-IRIS partners, along with some of our VRI2 informants, have given constructive feedback on toolbox 1.0, giving us valuable input for toolbox 2.0.