Value of Smart Spec: the view from BIS

June on the Smart Spec blog will focus on why regions across England should put Smart Specialisation at the heart of their business strategy. This week, we take a look at why the Department of Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) think Smart Specialisation is so important to the way businesses encourage innovation.

The view from BIS

It is very important that we understand – and have the evidence that tells us – where we have excellence, and the potential for excellence, across the country and for this to shape innovation policy and investment decisions.

Smart Specialisation is a key part of this because it provides a long term strategic approach to informing the design of future policies to support innovation. It recognises the value of an ongoing process and it also has great breadth and can be applied to all places.

It also takes into account the specific circumstances of each. BIS outlined its commitment to the concept in its “Smart Specialisation Strategy for England”, published in April 2015.

The role of the Hub

Smart Specialisation and the work of the Hub are valuable tools in expanding, validating and underpinning this evidence. Importantly, it also takes into account the importance of the spatial dimension of innovation, rooted in place and yet not constrained by it.

Charlotte Heyes, Deputy Director of Business Innovation at BIS, said:

“When we talk about identifying the innovation assets of local areas, Smart Specialisation really shows its worth: not just in mapping and prioritising current strengths and convening resource behind them.

“We will also be scoping what the specialisations of the next five to ten years – and their cross-cutting applications – will be.

“Along with the Science and Innovation Audits, Smart Specialisation and the work of the Hub will help Government, academia and industry really get a grip on what we as a country are good at.”

If you would like to find out more about Smart Specialisation and how it can help businesses, or you have your own story to share about it has helped your organisation so far, contact

About the author

Kim is the Digital Communications Officer for the Smart Specialisation Hub.

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