The Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) is linked to the identification of priority investment fields within the framework of the smart specialization strategy, relying on a comprehensive process involving representatives of entrepreneurship and stakeholders according to market dynamics.
The EDP is a mandatory process to be followed by any country involved in shaping the Smart Specialization Strategy (S3) as part of the methodology set by the relevant S3 framework of the Joint Research Center of the European Commission (JRC).
This is an interactive and inclusive process in which relevant actors discuss development opportunities based on the priority fields identified within the national capacity and potential mapping process.
The EDP sets smart specialization apart from traditional development strategies and policies in the socio-economic field.
Collaboration with interested actors according to the "Quadruple Helix" approach, involving representatives from central and local government, academia, business, and civil society, constitutes the fundamental element at the core of S3 development.
Furthermore, within the context of Albania's negotiations for EU accession, it should be emphasized that the development of a smart specialization strategy based on the EDP methodology is a key requirement for any country seeking to benefit from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) "Effective governance of national or regional smart specialization strategies" (2021-2027). However, implementation is a challenging approach for most European regions and countries.
Based on the experience of various countries that have gone through this phase, EDP requires governments to act as platforms to facilitate, support, and encourage the participation of stakeholders in the policymaking process. The process has evolved into an ongoing activity, starting with the identification of broad priorities during the formulation of Smart Specialization Strategies and ensuring the involvement of stakeholders throughout the strategy's implementation. As an ongoing activity during the implementation of S3, EDP requires public institutions to adapt legislation and institutional structures to ensure proper engagement and active participation by the business sector. In this context, building capacities to encourage greater involvement of stakeholders and effective coordination of this process is crucial. For example, there is a need to build capacities related to 'collaborative decision-making,' 'joint leadership,' 'communication skills,' modes of thinking/acting, etc. In this regard, keeping stakeholders informed, ensuring that their thoughts, ideas, and suggestions contribute to policymaking processes, helps safeguard their interests and their inclusion in this process. Effective communication can also help find the right partners during the development of EDP, especially when they show low interest in getting involved.
In general, the Smart Specialization Strategies being developed will further improve the EDP by aiming for a more effective and inclusive approach.