What do we mean by can, should and want to do?

We cannot consider possible measures for innovation and economic development separately from what is “reasonable” to do. The answer to the three questions above should show us what that is.

• Can: What we can do will depend on what skills/competencies are available, what we are good at, and what our natural advantages are.
• Want: What we want to do is determined by our priorities and wishes, what we are passionate about or really want to engage in.
• Should: What we should do is determined by the market or demand – is there anyone who would buy the goods or services we produce?

This means: We pursue what we may become best at, what we’re passionate about, and where we may make money. The ideal position is illustrated in figure 2 where we see overlap between the three circles. The best thing is, of course, to pursue what we can, want to and should do. But if our project is something we should and can do, but don’t want to do, then we may have to change our priorities.

If it is something we want to and should, but cannot do, we may consider recruiting or developing the skills/competencies we lack. If there is something we can and want to, but should not do, then it’s time to think deeply to avoid investing in the wrong thing.

How do we use the hedgehog principle?

We see the hedgehog concept as a useful tool to identify the area that is best suited for mobilizing resources in a region, a network or a business. The three questions may thus be used on different levels – both on the regional level, network level and even business level for that matter. From a practical point of view, this may be done by gathering people with different backgrounds, e.g. different parts of the value chain and the triple helix, in groups where they discuss to determine the answers to the three questions. The starting point may be simple in form, like the one captured in table 1 (shown on the next page).

The networks we studied in VRI2 2011-14 were in tourism, renewable energy, marine industries, IT and fruits and berries. All of these are well suited to Sogn og Fjordane County. These are natural areas to invest in/pursue, and this is also reflected in county’s Value Creation Plan.

When we look at the network of businesses in the tourism industry in Jostedalen, we can imagine these businesses are passionate about untouched and beautiful nature/wilderness, that theymay become experts at guiding visitors in this nature, and that it may be possible to find market segments wherecustomers are willing to paywell for such a special experience. See table 2.

Table 2.The hedgehog principle applied to the business network in Jostedalen.

Question Possible answers
What arewe be best at? Glacier hiking, climbing, canoeing.
What are we passionate about? Activities in beautiful, untouched nature.
What do we make money on? Experiential trips for nature enthusiasts with a spending-flexible budget/full package.

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