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Collaboration, Learning, Innovation and Regional Development in Norway: The Systems Perspective


Collaboration and learning play an important role in innovation and development of regions within a country.
Research Council of Norway administrates a large innovation programme (called VRI) to facilitate this kind of development.
The programme is operative for 10 years, from 2007 to 2016, and is implemented in 15 regions. One of the means that is
applied is competence brokering. The basic idea of competence brokering is to improve collaboration between companies
in the regions, research and development (R&D) institutions, and public agencies in order to facilitate innovation and value
creation in the regions. The major characteristic of competence brokering is to assist companies to obtain the R&D
knowledge and apply it. The aim here is to carry out company specific projects. The projects are conducted under the
supervision of a broker, however the company is responsible. R&D personnel are hired to work in the project. Fifty per cent
of the cost of hiring the R&D personnel is paid by governmental founding. Companies can participate as single or in network
with more companies. The company specific project may be a pre-study for a larger and more expensive innovation project,
or the project may solve a specific problem that the company has. A wide range of possible innovation projects can also be
carried out – for instance, in design, product development, process development, knowledge management, innovation
strategies, etc. The paper will present the Norwegian approach and experiences of competence brokering in regional
innovation and development from the systems perspective. Systems perspective focuses not only on the elements that
constitute a system, but also interactions between the elements. Furthermore, the systems perspective is closely related to
learning in organizations. The paper will look at the experiences of competence brokering, and describe the interactions
between different actors in the process of competence brokering when the process establishes a system for collaboration,
learning and innovation. The paper will present the aspects of: (1) Competence brokering process and facilitation methods
of the collaborative endeavour, (2) Looking at competence brokering from the systems perspective. The paper will also
present case study in this regard. The paper is based on reflection on experiences and literature study. The first is an
experienced competence broker who has worked in several regional development programmes for more than 20 years. In
this regard, the study on which this paper is built, will present elements of action research, at least to a certain extent.


Academic chapter/article/Conference paper





  • SINTEF Digital / Technology Management
  • SINTEF Community / Mobility and Economics
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology




Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited


Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Knowledge Management






264 - 273

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