The Quadruple Helix Stakeholders in the Region of Central Macedonia: inter helix dynamics and gradual engagement
Quadruple Helix (QH) stakeholders’ eagerness to engage themselves in TeRRItoria has not been a straight-forward process. The different QH actors have exhibited differentiated degrees of interest, motivation, commitment, and participation, with civil society representatives and citizens being the most hard-to-reach audience due to an occasional lack of trust towards the authorities. On the other hand, academic and industrial actors have been found to be relatively easy to get engaged. Nevertheless, differentiated responsiveness from some helix actors such as collective associations of industries and individual companies was also observed.
The core benefit of stakeholder engagement presents itself in the understanding of dialogue dynamics and enabled participation (Luoma-Aho, 2015). In general, engagement is referred to as interaction between stakeholders and organisation where interaction influences the stakeholders’ thoughts, actions, and emotions toward organisation (Broodie et al., 2011). The value of quadruple helix stakeholder engagement by progressing with a collaborative network is obvious through access to knowledge, the development of scientific competence, and the obtaining of competitive advantage through the acceleration of ideas. Significant challenges still remain, however, such as how to manage such relationships.
The gradual engagement of the QH actors and the assurance of their constant participation can be maintained through continuous communication and cooperation and a sense of ownership that will provide stability. The main idea is to present RRI as a win-win situation, based on the added value of including responsibility and equality into their working plans. The motivation plan consists of pointing out how the pursuit of gender equality can contribute to institutional growth, as well as to the general public picture and acknowledgement of each organisation involved. In other words, it must be indicated that participation in the regional Transformative Experiment and the consequent adoption of RRI principles will evoke positive transformations both operational and personal benefits as well as changes in working environment and organisational rules.
During the Region of Central Macedonia’s last two stakeholder meetings, Quadruple Helix groups were at some point engaged and even collaborated together. There they expressed their opinion both orally, through the discussions taking place, and in text, answering questions posed to them through online apps. The event activities helped to give a more in-depth perspective on gender equality and the regional Gender Equality Plan (GEP). The aforementioned stakeholders were further engaged through the follow-up activities accompanying the above meetings/events. Google docs and the first draft of the regional GEP were communicated to them before and after the meetings, thus providing them with the opportunity to express their perspective and their ideas without any time limitations.
Moreover, as a result of the various interactions and the collaboration among all QH stakeholders, several benefits have been revealed, for example identifying the overall challenges of each helix therefore being able to develop aspects of the GEP that cover truly existing gaps.
To conclude, the territorial partners of the experiment in the Region of Central Macedonia believe that RRI initiatives need to be self-tailored and attractive to all (Quadruple Helix) stakeholders since the one-size-fits-all approach has proven to be inapplicable. In other words when implementing RRI at territorial level, a corresponding risk management strategy should be applied in order to transform the successful RRI regional framework (adaptation) into reality.
|Article written by Lenia Pappa – Region of Central Macedonia.|
Lenia Pappa is a junior Project Manager at the Directorate of Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the Region of Central Macedonia, working on Gender Equality related projects funded through EU.