The need for a network-like approach is emphasised in regional development work

According to a study analysing the operational and financing models of regional development network co-operation, this type of work, built on cooperation between regional development actors, requires the current knowledge base to be strengthened. In addition, nationally effective networking requires clear objectives and political support for regional development.

Networks are required to display stronger accountability in terms of producing results in return for funding and should strengthen regional development capabilities and peer learning. Solving the “wicked problems” of regional development or exploiting “complex opportunities” is not possible with the resources of a single actor, something which only further illustrates the need for a networked approach.

The study identified four different operational and funding models for regional development network cooperation. These models can be used to better understand what different network cooperation models and activities can achieve in regional development and through which actions the desired effects arise. In addition, the report makes six recommendations for strengthening networking.

We implemented the regional model of network cooperation, i.e. the ‘VALUMA project’ together with 4Front and Nordregio. The project was implemented as part of the government’s 2019 study and research plan and it supports their goal of building Finland’s success around the special features of regions and cities in cooperation with various actors.