The studio: a process instrument to facilitate cooperation (de Kenniswerkplaats) (NL)

Project partners NOFA municipalities

Contact data
Wim Oosterhuis/Andree Hofer
Municipality of Dantumadiel
PO-box 22, 9104 ZG Damwâld
The Netherlands.
Tel. 0031511426428 / 0031646366083

Websites (in Dutch)
Comprehensive background information (in English) NL Background document Kenniswerkplaats

Key words education, sustainable, incubator, partnership, Triple Helix

Main problems to be solved (analysis)

The north-eastern part of the Province of Fryslân is a beautiful, mostly rural area. with a lot of possibilities and chances: strong social cohesion, charming nature and beautiful landscape and a rich cultural history. The region is confronted with a number of socio-economical problems: a relatively high level of unemployment, imbalanced labour market, a relatively low level of education and low incomes, substantial migration to more urban areas and an ageing population. The importance of agriculture is diminishing. In European regions new sectors are growing in importance but regions have to realize the good conditions for a vital transition. In the region itself is no university (of applied sciences) education. Regions with good sustainable connections with university education or universities of applied sciences seem to be more successful in maintaining good socio economic conditions.

The region of North East Fryslân is facing a lot of challenges and public and private organizations partners have lots of questions regarding this challenges and changing circumstances. In the region educational institutes settled in the neighbouring cities Leeuwarden en Groningen are active with lots of individual projects and lots of studies and investigations in cooperation with regional organisations, but there is not a structural link between the regional questions and projects and no structured system, no directing roles on knowledge questions.

A structural support and therefore a sustainable link between region and university education is needed for a structural support to innovation and entrepreneurship in line with the Agenda for the region and to attract young talent to the region. De Kenniswerkplaats is a process instrument that structures cooperation in regional triple helix environment.

Policy frameworks to be dealt with/fitting in

Local, regional, provincial and national government to set up an Agenda for the region and to connect it in a sustainable way to the infrastructure of university education. For the agenda of the region also a long term connection with the associations of entrepreneurs.

Aim of the project

De Kenniswerkplaats is an initiative to activate SMEs to cooperate with educational institutes in order to direct the knowledge needs of the region (government, entrepreneurs, inhabitants) with educational institutes to use, develop or create knowledge needed for the region. De Kenniswerkplaats is a place where entrepreneurs, public authorities, educational institutes (universities and universities of applied sciences), research institutes, and representatives of the local environment come together to work the challenges of the region for a better socio economical future, i.e. to bring more innovation and innovative awareness to the SME’s. This results in an innovative approach towards challenges of the region (because of social, economical and demographical transition) for which a joint innovative approach is needed.

De Kenniswerkplaats is a centre of innovation and of knowledge creation. Universities and university schools of the region Leeuwarden Groningen and the Wageningen University Researchcentre (WUR) are connected to De Kenniswerkplaats. Also the authorities of the NOFA-region and the province of Fryslân are connected. In De Kenniswerkplaats involved partners are working on the key question for agenda for the region North East Fryslân. Keywords for implementation are innovation and linking/joining. Most Pilot projects out in De Kenniswerkplaats will contribute to the goals of ‘Empowerment of SMEs’.

All parties have to work from their individual problem definitions to arrive at new, shared questions. They have to become aware of the transition assignment, want to create new knowledge together and jointly learn how to get there.

Expected outcome within the WP A built structure for the organisation of De Kenniswerkplaats Multi-annual cooperation programme / a knowledge agenda Showcases / best practices

A. building a structure The structure is distinguished between the internal structure of De Kenniswerkplaats on the one hand, and the external structure with the stakeholder parties from education, business, government, environment and research institutions on the other. During the survey phase a steering group was formed, consisting of: Representatives of the region A representative of the green educational sector and as secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation's Green Knowledge Cooperation (GKC), The national programme leader Regional Transition/GKC as advisor for the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation; The Kenniswerkplaats coordinator.

The external structure has two interconnected aspects: Systematically connecting regional partners, including SME and the public: There is already a reasonable foundation for this in Northeast Fryslân with the Agenda Network Northeast, The structural interface with education B. A multi annual cooperation program Phase 1: an inventory and vision of the regional developments. In the Northeast Fryslân region, these are described in the socio-economic master plan SEMP. In this master plan, the municipalities in Northeast Fryslân, the province of Fryslân, the entrepreneurs and society in the region jointly set out the direction for Northeast Fryslân. Phase 2: deriving the region's knowledge needs from the SEMP, and then translating these into projects that the region wanted to see worked on in the coming years. This is the regional Agenda for the Network Northeast, which then served as the basis for the regional knowledge questions. The agenda distinguishes between ambition projects, priority projects and other projects. For the knowledge questions, the ambition projects are important. These are theme-based projects in which the region wants to work with stakeholders on themes to further define its ambitions. This depth step connects individual running projects, reinforces cohesion and defines the direction of further choices. Within the region, theme groups have set to work on the setup and performance of all projects. Each theme group is headed by one of the directors of the participating municipalities. Phase 3: For all theme-oriented projects within a theme group, the relevant project leaders have drafted knowledge questions.

C. Performing showcase projects Showcase projects are learning-by-doing projects that give a good picture of the kind of projects that can be carried out in a structural phase in Kenniswerkplaats. Projects that have been performed or initiated since the start of the survey phase have included (among others): Energy from wood: o results of logging methodology; o experience survey; o structure of calculation model Rock flour Community centres: o Setting up activities in order to involve villagers in the community centre o Engagement of volunteers Knowledge map (Mapping innovative regional entrepreneurs with special qualities and needs in order to reach open innovation)

Expected outcome for the region as a whole (impact of the project effects may be written in terms of the sustainability triangle = 3 P approach (people, planet, profit), i.e. benefits on the social, economical and physical part)):

A structural support and therefore a sustainable link between region and university education and higher education leading to a structural support to innovation and entrepreneurship in line with the Agenda for the region and to attract young talent to the region because of the infrastructure built with De Kenniswerkplaats for connecting education with regional knowledge questions. People: In the Stavanger partner meeting it was concluded that De Kenniswerkplaats may help stimulate both people, planet and profit aspects of regional development. Especially the people-side will be reinforced by capacity building and using the potential of people in the region. Planet: De Kenniswerkplaats facilitates sustainable resource management in combination with sustainability as a central development theme in the region for example as elaborated in the pilot Rock flour, Profit: De Kenniswerkplaats leads to innovation and capacity building in the region of all representatives of participating regional partners (not only students), preconditions for profit

Planning 2010-2013.

Costs 110.000 for pilot projects and for a transnational approach description.

Financing - Funding of the region (Municipality of Dantumadiel for 4-5 partner municipalities - provincial funding (in ANNO) - ministry of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation; program Regional Transition - Green Education Institutes (Green Knowledge Cooperation GKC) - AOC (agriculture education) and Van Hall Larenstein (green university school) - Vital Rural Area

Implementation of the project (cf. CAA)

which stakeholders were involved? Van Hall Larenstein, AOC, Wageningen University, NHL (Educational institutes), Association of regional Entrepreneurs, Province of Fryslân, Ministry of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation, NFW (landscape organization of farmers)

what process did you run through to fit the project into local conditions? To define a regional master plan on socio economic development in cooperation with partners in the region, to define knowledge question based on this master plan, to combine knowledge questions and educational institutes to create a knowledge –agenda. The first steps have been made.

how did you sustainably implement the project (locally, regionally)? After the exploration phase (2009-2011) De kenniswerkplaats is part of the Agenda for the region as one of the important projects with high priority for the region.


1 Which successes were achieved so far in the pilot project? Successes have been: Structure of master plan, regional agenda, steps to knowledge agenda and united parties have been built. Pilots have been carried out :

Rock Flour: the project is proving a positive result using rock flour on soil-minerals and production of crops (as well in quantity and quality) as well as sustainable aspects (CO2 in soil, less wash of fertilizer and (toxic) waste in a joint project of farmers, educational institutes, professors, students local government and a research bureaus. Community centres: volunteers and setting up activities: a plan how to set up a cooperation of volunteers and how to maintain a structure of volunteers and a plan how to set up activities for a better exploitation of a community centre in a joint project of university of applied sciences, a professor, students, a community centre and a local government. Knowledge map (Mapping innovative regional entrepreneurs with special qualities and needs in order to reach open innovation)

All pilots were based on innovative principles.

It is hard to build a structural relationship with educational institutes because they have there educational programs and tempo so alignment of activities of educational institutes and other partners is very complicated and needs a long term planning, mutual understanding and a flexible approach of cooperating partners. It has been very important for the region to keep control of the process and not to hand over control to representatives of educational institutes, or national program directors. The total process was depending on change agents of the cooperating partners, their enthusiasm, perseverance, conviction and creativity.

In the best practice analysis an extensive description of the project and achieved successes are included.

2 What are the expected boundary conditions for the project to be implemented? - Confidence of the mayor, alderman and management of the region; the offered space to their change agents for building an innovative project and supported them; - Keeping clear delineation of the project, goals, budget & physical borders. - cooperative attitude and financial support of participating municipalities - a national consciousness of the need of sustainable connections between regions in transition and educational institutes and a policy of supporting these - Regional support and participation of educational institutes and entrepreneurs - A minimum of critical mass to run a number of pilots in De Kenniswerkplaats to have a recognizable relevance and value for the region. - A sustainable entrance to the educational institutes.

In the best practice analysis an extensive description of the project with all boundary conditions is included.

3 Which related projects can be studied or consulted (other innovative best practice examples) before starting to think on implementation?

- Werkplaats de Veenkoloniën :

- Innovation house The objective of the house is to stimulate enterprises to grow and create new jobs, and to do so in collaboration with others in the Innovation House and beyond in the community and the region. The target group is enterprise in the house, but enterprises outside are welcome to use the services as well. Enterprises in the house should have a distinct sense of communality and be willing to establish bonds with each other. With a positive atmosphere in the house and with substantial support and inspiration from the staff, the Innovation House wanted to pave the road for high profile job creation activities in a rural area.

4 What is the applicability / transferability of the project? a) as derived from the project results In situations where there is: - a regional consciousness of the need for a sustainable link between region and university education/educational institutes on different levels: Universities, universities of applied sciences, higher education. - an agenda for the future of the region (or the conditions for creating a regional agenda); - an attitude for regional cohesion; - a good representation by regional government of inhabitants, partner organization, entrepreneurs and a good cooperation between regional government and cooperating / organized entrepreneurs - an interesting region (because of e.g. transition processes) for educational and research institutes - a learning attitude amongst all partners - and where participating partners have change agents with enough freedom of manoeuvre based on confidence of administrators and management De Kenniswerkplaats can bind together partners to a successful triple helix.

In the best practice analysis an extensive description of the project is included.

b) as derived from testing or implementation the project or the project results elsewhere. What were the results there? -

5 Which tools does the project bring in to alleviate / help starting up implementation elsewhere? - De Kenniswerkplaats methodology, an instrument to organize triple helix corporation. The methodology of De kenniswerkplaats has been described in a book on how to prepare and implement De Kenniswerkplaats in a region according to the example of De Kenniswerkplaats North East Fryslân. NL Background document Kenniswerkplaats. In the best practice analysis an extensive description of the project and all derived tools is included.

- The matrix of cooperation on regional themes (In the matrix on the left side (Y-as) the themes of the region (government, entrepreneurs and strategic partners) have been specified, above form left to right (X-as) the educational institutes have been specified. In the matrix is fields is indicated which educational institute signs for commitment in which regional theme.

6 Sustainability a) How is/can the project be sustainably implemented? What is needed to reach this? Regional support and participation of educational institutes and entrepreneurs have been crucial for the success of the project. Furthermore it is important to have a minimum of critical mass to run a number of pilots in De Kenniswerkplaats to have a recognizable relevance and value for the region. And it is important to have a sustainable entrance to the educational institutes. The project De Kenniswerkplaats is implemented to the regional agenda, the ANNO-agenda. All regional partners support this agenda and the agenda is the regional platform. For this agenda the region has determined her priorities and organized budget. De Kenniswerkplaats is appointed as one of the priorities for the region. That was the reason that convinced other partners to contribute sustainable in the project. For the project the budget for the coming years has been settled. So it is very important to connect to a regional agenda. In the best practice analysis an extensive description of the project including the way of implementation is included.

b) what are the benefits of the project seen from the Profit, Planet, and People side? In the Stavanger partner meeting with support of a member of the scientific team, is concluded De Kenniswerkplaats benefits positively people, planet and profit. People: capacity building and using the potential of people, Planet: sustainable resource management in combination with sustainability as a central development theme in the region, Profit: De Kenniswerkplaats leads to innovation and capacity building in the region, preconditions for profit.