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What is our Smart Specialisation and Strategic Approach?

An introduction to the new Gippsland's Smart Specialisation and Strategic (GS3) approach.

Dec 10, 2020


Words: Gippslandia

Do you remember when the tag ‘one-size-fits-all’ was a hyped marketing slogan?

It makes sense for a watch or baseball cap, but mostly the term has a more negative connotation, as it never seems to fit anyone that well at all. That’s why we’ve moved towards items that are customised, bespoke or tailored — thoughtfully created for a specific purpose.

It’s why, when creating innovative solutions to grow our region, we’re less interested in the roll-out of a generalised path forward, one that could be loosely applied to any or all of Australia’s regional areas. Rather, we would actually enjoy being seen as the individual snowflake that we are and have an innovation approach specially developed for us, Gippsland.

Established in September 2017, the Gippsland Smart Specialisation and Strategic approach (GS3) was initiated by the Latrobe Valley Authority (LVA) in partnership with the University of Melbourne and RMIT, to work with the community across Gippsland to understand how the smart specialisation approach might be implemented in the region.

On the ground, this means:

— Developing capability, leadership and networks within and between sectors in Gippsland;

— Identifying and defining key sectors of competitive advantage, and;

— Supporting sustainable growth and innovation in the region.

Now three years on, working with over 2500 people and 140 partner organisations across Gippsland, we have more of an understanding of Gippsland’s assets, its people and economy, the level of innovation and the local operating environment.

The key findings about the region from the initial Regional Context Analysis were:

1— A need to build a stronger connected region;

2— An opportunity to learn from others at a global level;

3— The identification of four high potential growth sectors: energy, tourism, food and fibre, health and wellbeing;

4—That presently a moderate level of innovation activity and an emergent innovation eco-system exists in the region.

The four high potential growth sectors became natural starting points for exploration using the innovative Smart Specialisation process, a technique that aims to boost growth and employment by enabling Gippsland to identify and develop our own globally competitive products and services. After all, today’s increased connectivity now provides broader horizons for our prospective markets.

Connection and collaboration are central to the Smart Specialisation approach.

Connection and collaboration are central to the Smart Specialisation approach. For example, it requires state and local government, education, industry and the community to work together to identify and develop regional competitive advantages and long-term growth strategies and actions. By reading on, you’ll see how the Gippsland community has developed an understanding of the Smart specialisation approach and how it could be applied in the region.

Changing the business and innovation culture of a region takes time. That’s why Gippslandia is putting in the time to understand the work of the GS3 team via a series of informative lift-outs presented in upcoming editions. These provide you with a clear view of what the project has achieved and what the future may look like for Gippsland.

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