The ONE project is here to help you figure out how to better tailor ICT interventions towards your specific regional needs, providing you with a proven methodology set of guidelines on how to develop and exploit ICT in your area. The project is about to finish this month. We consider this the perfect opportunity to inform you about our achievements. The partner regions consider the ONE project to be just the beginning of their ICT Observatory activities. This is therefore also the best time to let you know, what our next steps will be and how YOUR REGION CAN GET INVOLVED!
The third main conference of the ONE project took place in this period. The ONE Conference Brussels 2014 – Policy (R)Evolution & Every European Digital brought together more than 120 representatives from throughout the EU. Regions are currently rolling out the next generation of EU programmes for growth in the context of the radical reform of EU Regional Policy. The data-driven economy can provide Europe with a chance to emerge from the multifaceted crisis with new capabilities. Are Europeans ready for the Data Revolution? Are politicians able to make informed choices and manage changes? These and many other paramount question were discussed at the Conference, which took place on April 24th, during its three plenary sessions and five parallel workshops. Full book of proceedings is available HERE.
The Czech Ambassador to the EU welcomes the participants of the ONE Conference Brussels 2014.
One of the main goals of the project was to create Implementation Plans for the nine participating regions. All the plans were written in the local language (English summaries available HERE), taking into consideration the current state-of-play in terms of an ICT Observatory development. The Implementation Plan of ICT Observatory of the Lodz Region, for example, has been developed by the Marshal’s Office of the Lodz Region. It is based on experiences of other European regions, as well as on strategic documents, reports and analyses on regional level.
Through their Implementation Plans, the regions make a commitment to continue in the activities they have started as a part of the ONE Project. The Plan in the Lodz Region was, for example, endorsed by the Regional leadership. The general objective of their Observatory, described in the Plan, will be enhancing regional development supported by the use of ICT. It will lead to increased effectiveness of regional development policy, in particular tasks planned within the Regional Operational Program of the Lodz Region 2014-2020. The ICT Observatory of the Lodz Region started its activities in the beginning of 2014.
Another practical document written for interested organisations and individuals is the Methodology Set of Guidelines. This document offers an in-depth description of the ICT Observatory concept including guidelines on how to set up own ICT Observatory and analytical synthesis of state of the art in partners' regions. Partners of the ONE project believe that such theoretical and practical background gives sufficient information for initial long-term planning of an ICT Observatory creation.
In order to assess own territory, the regional governments need an option to compare with another European territories. While there is to a certain level a unified use of common statistical indicators on national levels across EU, the statistics on the regional level need closer attention. The statistical data are either not comparable or not collected at all. Moreover, there is currently no common indicator, which would provide sufficient explanatory data on certain aspects of ICT development and proliferation such as connectivity level of a territory. The ONE project therefore comes with a suggestion of possible common regional (territorial) summary indicator, which would allow such comparison needed for launching the work on an ICT Observatory. This broadband coverage and internet access indicator would provide a homogeneous picture of ICT in the EU.
The final month of the ONE project also brings results of the thematic workshops and forums that took place throughout the past 30 months in the form of a comprehensive ONE Good Practice Guidebook. The good practices in this book include:
- “Indicators and statistics management: information identity card”: CSI-Piemonte (Italy)
- “Regional organizational model for digital public policies": La Fonderie (France)
- “Living Labs methodology and the use of Web 2.0 applications”: Manchester City Council (United Kingdom)
- “ICT Regional Organisational Model”: Insiel (Italy)
- “Data Until Eternity”: MFG (Germany)
Lessons learned on regional level
Considering the increased importance of monitoring activities in the new EU 2014-2020 programming period, it is important to evaluate what ONE project may offer to the future. First of all, it is important to point to lessons learned: observatory activities are manifold, and all aspects are equally important. In general, the different activities depend on the degree of “maturity” in ICT of the Region, in which they are carried out, and they are connected to the different regulations and competences of the reference territory.
Secondly, it emerged that one of the essential aspects of an Observatory is its connection to the territorial stakeholders, from the political actors, to the business sector, to the research institutes, etc. In this regard, the stronger the connection to the stakeholders, the more effective and fruitful will the monitoring and analysis activity be.
Thirdly, an Observatory must have tools to carry out its functions, be they data, business intelligence tools, or human resources. Only through a successful combination of these elements will true and concrete results be produce, otherwise knowledge will be left in some drawers.
To summarise, the ultimate objective of an Observatory, in terms of the current social and economic situation in the given region, is contributing to the growth of its territory.
Going beyond a region…
We are part of the EU ecosystem that is rich in initiatives and programmes fostering regional growth, and must think beyond regional borders. ONE, with its initiatives carried out over the past 30 months, laid the foundations to go beyond these regional borders: it shared its good practices aiming to define a common working method and it made an effort to propose a first small set of shared indicators to measure ICT in the different regions. In doing so, the ONE partnership learned that the EU regional landscape is rich in projects and initiatives that, each in its own way, deal with ICT, and that the connection and collaboration with these projects is an element of paramount importance. This collaboration highlighted the need to have a – structured – European regional observatory network to carry our joint, shared and complete monitoring activities on ICT diffusion over the territories, sharing resources and costs. Thus it would also be possible to truly compare monitoring results, based on common standards and indicators.
… all the way to the EU level
The ONE partnership believes that the right time has come to offer the results of ONE to all those that may be interested, and to promote the setting up of some form of a pan-European ICT Observatory. Such grand Observatory would support regional policies, but may also be a link to EU institutions, unifying the flow of information from the regional to the EU level. This would make ICT Observatory activities even more concrete, maximising efforts and results, while supporting the monitoring of the EU Cohesion Policy on ICT topics.
The ONE partnership plans to work in this direction with all those interested, so that the activities carried out in the framework of the ONE project are a stepping stone for an even wider collaboration project, for all the EU regions.
For more information about the project please visit www.oneproject.eu or join our groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and epractice.eu Or contact the ONE dissemination manager, Iva Walterova – EPMA (email@example.com).
The ONE project has been funded under the INTERREG IVC programme. The Interregional Cooperation Programme INTERREG IVC, financed by the European Union’s Regional Development Fund, helps Regions of Europe work together to share experience and good practice in the areas of innovation, the knowledge economy, the environment and risk prevention. EUR 302 million is available for project funding but, more than that, a wealth of knowledge and potential solutions are also on hand for regional policy-makers.