Developing a Smart Specialisation Policy for North Ayrshire: the Role of Co-worker and Maker Spaces

Stephen Talbot

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This paper introduces the concept of smart specialisation and shows how it can be used to enhance North Ayrshire’s policies on economic growth and social cohesion. At the centre of smart specialisation is a demand-led approach to economic development that seeks to engage all levels of the local economy in innovation.

National and regional economic strategies tend to focus exclusively on a supply-led approach to economic development; that is, they seek to mitigate the impact of market failure and information asymmetry through policies relying on interventions that tend to be top-down in nature and prescriptive in delivery. A notable exception to this method is Team North Ayrshire’s client-driven approach to business support. However, while this approach is proving to be highly successful and is seen to be a model of best practice, its demand-led nature is not explicitly recognised in North Ayrshire’s Economic Strategy document.

This paper provides North Ayrshire with a framework for a demand-led strand to complement its current supply-led economic strategy. Under this framework the role and potential of business support and their effect on innovation policies can be understood more effectively.
The purpose of this paper is to:
1. Show that a smart specialisation policy for North Ayrshire would align with EU, National and regional growth and cohesion aims;
2. Demonstrate how a smart specialisation policy could be operationalized, and
3. Identify a means for achieving this.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCrichton Institute
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


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