Building adequate expertise of public sector officials and experts deploying the programmes

Why is this a policy challenge?

Limited expertise in building and deploying inclusive and STI-intensive projects sometimes hampers the effective implementation of programmes. For example, the implementation of the Royalties for Science, Technology and Innovation programme in Colombia was hampered by the lack of experience of regional authorities (outside the area of Bogota) in structuring proposals for STI-intensive projects, which had to be subsequently evaluated and accepted by the national government. This discouraged applications and led to low take-up of available funds.

Some programmes also face difficulties in attracting and retaining technical, financial and other experts and advisors with adequate skills to deploy the programmes on the ground, which might prevent their successful and timely implementation. For example, the Productive Territories programme in Mexico, which critically relies on experts to implement business plans, suffers from shortage of staff in regions. The Kiút programme also proved difficult to implement because of the wide range of skills required to field workers (as they were requested to act simultaneously as mentors, community workers and loan agents). 

How can these challenges be addressed?
  • Have teams of experts assist regional authorities, to enhance their capacities to design and execute projects. See examples.
  • Involve third parties in addition to regional authorities in the design of specific projects (e.g. research organisations and actors from departments other than where projects are to be executed). See examples.
  • Set up a targeted recruitment process to select experts to deploy programmes on the ground, where conditions of everyday work are clearly specified – including the challenges that might have to be faced – to ensure that jobs are offered to the candidates that best fit the job requirements. See examples.
  • Provide tailored training to experts, mentors, counsellors or advisors before implementing the programme, with the objective of reinforcing their capacity to face both expected and unexpected challenges. See examples.
  • Recruit experts that belong to or have experience working with the target group and/or the region where the programme is being implemented. Such experts have a good knowledge of local conditions that might hinder adequate deployment of programmes and of how to address them, and are likely to be more committed tothe objectives of the programme. See examples.
  • Involve specialised intermediary institutions and use ICT solutions when an adequate number of experts cannot be accessed. The ICT solutions may include online databases maintained by central or regional bodies to register experts and online platforms. These may be especially useful in cases where local knowledge is less important than technical or industrial expertise. See examples.

Royalties for Science, Technology and Innovation programme – Colombia

2012-present

Measure implemented: Provide expert assistance to regional authorities to enhance their capacities to design proposals and execute projects

The programme created teams of experts to provide assistance on the ground to regional governments (gobernaciones) with lack of previous experience in bulding STI-intensive projects. The teams help them structure proposals (which have to be evaluated and accepted by the national government) and execute projects. The central government is also developing a portfolio of standardised projects to be promoted in regions with limited use of their share of STI royalty funds.

Measure implemented: Involve third parties in addition to regional authorities in the design of project proposals

The programme also favours interregional proposals involving research organisations and other innovation actors from regions other than where the project is to be executed. This measure aims at enhancing the capacities of regional authorities in project design and ensuring that proposals meet the programme requirements.  

Productive Territories Programme – Mexico

Pilot phase

Measure implemented: Set up a targeted recruitment process to select experts to deploy programmes

The programme has introduced changes in the selection process of experts to deploy the programme on the ground. In particular, the programme establishes that the conditions of everyday work are clear to the applicants, including the challenges that might have to be faced, so as to ensure that jobs are offered to the candidates that best fit the job requirements.

Kiút programme – Hungary

2016-18

Measure implemented: Provide tailored training to experts, mentors, counsellors or advisors before the start of the programme

The programme introduced training courses for field workers, as often these social workers were well-prepared but had few business development skills (e.g. legal and financial knowledge), crucial to assist the target group in developing their business activity.

EuroAgri Foodchain – Eureka Countries

2014-18

Measure implemented: Use ICT solutions when an adequate number of experts cannot be accessed

Since the objective of the programme is to develop multi-disciplinary, cross-sectional projects, there was a shortage of appropriate project evaluators at a local level. A dedicated expert database was developed for identifying experts who can evaluate new project proposals from the scientific, innovative, financial and business points of view.

Other examples

Measure implemented: Provide tailored training to experts, mentors, counsellors or advisors before the start of the programme

The Step by Step to the Labour Market programme, implemented in Vukovar (Croatia), promoted self-employment among disadvantaged women through the provision of psychological counselling, as well as ICT and entrepreneurship workshops. To ensure that workshop trainers were fully prepared for the specific needs and interests of the target group, they had to undertake a number of training courses provided by the employment service (OECD/EU, 2016).

Measure implemented: Recruit experts that belong to or have experience working with the target group and/or  in the target region 

The Ethnic Coach for Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurs programme, in Denmark, enlists the help of ethnic minority and immigrant entrepreneurs as coaches, in order to assist people from the same ethnic community in starting their own businesses. These coaches provide professional advice related to regulatory and social norms, business plan development, available funding sources and personal skills development (OECD/European Commission, 2013).

Measure implemented: Involve specialised intermediary institutions and use ICT solutions when an adequate number of experts cannot be accessed

The Honey Bee Network in India, a not-for-profit organisation that developed an extensive database of inclusive innovations and aims to diffuse this vast knowledge by, among other means, connecting grassroots innovators with scientists and engineers possessing the necessary expertise.

References

OECD/EU (2016), Inclusive Business Creation: Good Practice Compendium, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264251496-en.

OECD/European Commission (2013), The Missing Entrepreneurs: Policies for Inclusive Entrepreneurship in Europe, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264188167-en.