The Strategy Implementation
How to foster innovation?
The LEADER sources of innovation
The LEADER innovative character is fuelled by
- bringing new and surprising interest groups together,
- transnational cooperation allowing the exchange of the best practices and
- reactive local development strategies offering risk-tolerant funding.
Bringing different actors together
Innovation in local development is often based on unexpected meetings of people or local actors with different backgrounds. A LAG is an unbiased, non-profit and non-political arena suitable for bringing these actors together:
"It is crucial to get to know or get in touch with the innovators and visionary actors of the territory. These people are not always the noisiest or the ones in power. Success always needs a good and fruitful combination of power and innovation. This requires open minded decision makers and integrative innovators. The latter are not always the easiest to co-operate with. However, LEADER does not change anything if only those actors that have been in power for decades are the ones who are deciding upon innovation and the future of the territory." (Ausserfern LAG, Austria)
Promoting transnational cooperation
Transnational cooperation is another surprising arena prone to innovation. From new perspectives one can better see the new opportunities. Identification and transfer of best practices is an essential part of transnational cooperation.
"There are lots of arguments for cooperation. Getting good ideas from other regions. Getting other people’s eyes on your development. That’s a very big thing." (Swedish Rural Network)
Being reactive and tolerating the risk
Best innovations always have a surprise element within them, which makes them difficult to be pre-defined or included in the LEADER development strategy documents. That’s why it is important that the strategies can be flexible and reactive when new opportunities emerge bottom-up during the implementation phase. Funding such initiatives also requires risk-tolerance from the LAG decision makers and the Managing Authority.
"The failure of a pilot project should not be considered as a misuse of funding."
(Ausserfern LAG, Austria)