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All content regarding the developments included in this document is the intellectual property of GAIA - Asociacin Cluster de Telecomunicaciones and INFYDE Informacin y Desarrollo, and of the contributing authors, with the express authorisation of these parties being required for full or partial use and/or reproduction.

Working Paper

Document drawn up by GAIA Asociacin Cluster de Telecomunicaciones and INFYDE Informacin y Desarrollo S.L.: Jokin Garatea: Jonatan Paton: Belen Barroeta:


INTRODUCTION: The Urdaibai Bird Centers experience Presentation of the case study
CHAPTER 1: The territorial context The Urdaibai territory in the Basque context CHAPTER 2: Smart specialisation The new models challenges and opportunities CHAPTER 3: The Urdaibai Bird Center A case of Basque entrepreneurial discovery CHAPTER 4: Facilitating elements The roots of Urdaibais smart specialisation CHAPTER 5: Conclusions Lessons learned

1 4 6 8

14 16


The case of the Urdaibai Bird Center UBC



The Urdaibai Bird Centers experience

Presentation of the case study

In the ever more complex current competitive context, marked by an increasing globalisation of competition and markets, a model of smart specialisation must be introduced, in which territories will have to give priority to future projects as the only way to maintain a path of sustainable development. Given these new models, territories will have to look to specialisation patterns that differentiate them from others, and also reinvent these patterns as the economic, technological, social and environmental context changes. This reinvention is to be brought thanks to entrepreneurial discoveries. These discoveries are watersheds in terms of doing things and closely rooted to the territory contribute to creating wealth and employment. The case of the Urdaibai Bird Center UBC is a clear example of one of these discoveries. The UBC complex is located in the heart of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, where, for environmental reasons, there are major limits on the paths for development that can take place.

The differential value of the UBCs entrepreneurial discovery is based on a capacity to make the economy-society-environment triad compatible in a territory that requires a proposal for territorial development different from traditional ones. In economic terms, the Center is currently becoming a technical and research hub that allows the testing of latest generation of ICT solutions. These solutions, applied to monitoring Urdaibais unique biodiversity, can create externalities in fields like logistics, security, aerospace, etc. In social terms, the Center contributes to the creation of a node capable of attracting international talent, which in turn contributes to connecting the territory in an open perspective. For this reason, its development provides the creation of new activities based on tourism, education and environmental education and training.

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For this territory, the Center constitutes a commitment to maintaining the locations environmental nature,_while_ contributing to other activities that could lead to local development and create value for society. This case can be considered an example of entrepreneurial discovery which meets the paradigm of disadvantaged territories which have made use of smart specialisation and the knowledge economy.


The UBC is strongly linked to the territory, which guarantees that its contribution in the three dimensions mentioned has a direct effect on the territory. This link to the territory is the result of the combination of two elements: 1. The differential value granted by its character as a Biosphere Reserve and stopover for migratory birds which is different from any other place in terms of monitoring, research and testing EICTs (electronic, information and communications technologies) applied to biology and ornithology in particular. The particular management model that involves the different parts of the quadruple helix, which, along with their interests, roles and capacities, ensure the maximisation of the Centers contribution to the territorys development within the framework of the triad.

The innovation system (represented by Aranzadi which also manages the Center) guarantees research guidance in the field of biological and environmental sciences, contributing to knowledge creation and transfer. The communities of users (in the form of various organisations and European and international thematic networks) facilitate the testing of the activity carried out at the UBC, also positioning it and the territory in the global economy.


Although it is the combination of both elements which gives the UBC particular interest, the last one is even more important in terms of displaying the success of an entrepreneurial discovery. Every territory, to a greater or lesser degree, has some differential activities that can grant advantages in the medium and long term. However, it is the way they are managed which makes the difference between success and failure. In the case of the UBC, the asset (the Urdaibai Reserve itself) is linked to the local geography and was latent even before the process of discovering its possibilities was even begun. It was the logic of how the discovery process was managed (identification and UBC approach), based on a new collaborative model called Cluster+, which allowed its launch as a formal initiative in spring 2011. The role of each of the Centers stakeholders has been a crucial part of this model: The Public Administration (Biscay Provincial Council and the Basque Government) prioritised the initiative with institutional support and with resources to give credibility to the initiative, also linking it to social and territorial challenges.

The case of the UBC and its surrounding area, Urdaibai, is a clear example of how to discover ways of turning limitations into opportunities that can competitively and comparatively differentiate a territory; a clear example of how smart specialisation should not be understood as a model that is only appropriate for a small number of exceptional territories, but rather that it depends more on making the most of opportunities and on how entrepreneurial discovery processes are managed. In short, the secret of territorial competitiveness is not in the what, but in the how of the entrepreneurial process of conceiving entrepreneurial discoveries that allow a competitive advantage to be obtained and reinvented over time. The goal of this article is to present the UBCs experience, analysing the differential value that an initiative involving an entrepreneurial discovery of these characteristics means for a territory that is economically limited, such as Urdaibai. Furthermore, its aim is to identify the determining aspects that have brought success in the case of this initiatives economic, social and environmental dimensions. This document is divided into 5 different sections in order to do this. The first chapter describes the reality of the local environment where the Urdaibai Bird Center is located (the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve) in order to contextualise the starting point _______


The case of the Urdaibai Bird Center UBC


Lastly, in environmental terms, the Center is contributing to ensure the maintenance of the natural character, the landscape, the ecology and biodiversity of Urdaibai Reserve.

The business fabric (through GAIA and its Cluster+ model) guarantees the generation of positive externalities for companies by means of the transfer, development and testing of technologies that create competitive advantages.

point, analysing its major limitations as well as its opportunities. The second chapter presents an overview of the basic elements of smart specialisation model from both a theoreticalconceptual perspective and a political one so that it is possible to understand the UBCs entrepreneurial discovery process within the framework of this new territorial development model. The third chapter is a detailed analysis of the Urdaibai Bird Center, from its origin and characteristics to its business model, referring to the possibilities it offers with respect to territorial development based on smart specialisation.

The fourth chapter describes the management model behind the UBC: the Cluster+. This chapter also includes a reflection on the synergies of the Cluster+ model applied to the case of the UBC and smart specialisation, as well as and the opportunity presented by its instrumentalisation looking to the upcoming Smart Specialisation Strategies of RIS3. The fifth chapter details a series of recommendations that can be used to transfer the experience of this entrepreneurial discovery to other economic/ technological domains and geographical areas with similar starting points and problems.

February 2013

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The territorial context

The Urdaibai Bird Center UBC is located in the small Biscay municipality of Gautegiz-Arteaga in the Autonomous Region of the Basque Country (CAPV). The economic profile of this town and its immediate surroundings1 contrast with the industrial profile of the CAPV in general, being one of the areas with the regions greatest natural riches. The Urdaibai estuary where the UBC is located is a natural area formed by the mouth of the River Oka, that occupies a surface area of 220 km and has impressive ecological assets that have allowed it to be listed as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It is the Basque Countrys most important wetland in terms of size and level of conservation, and is an important stopover and wintering site for birds migrating from northern Europe to southern Africa2. For this reason, as well as its scientific, cultural and recreational importance, the Biosphere Reserve law sets out measures for the areas environmental sustainability, which creates limitations as regards the areas development.

Urdaibai and the UBC area*






Source: Drawn up by the authors * Municipalities of Busuturia, Gautegiz-Arteaga, Ibarrangelu, Murueta and Sukarrieta

Furthermore, these limitations are aggravated by the territorys geo-demographic characteristics. The five municipalities around the UBC are smaller than others in Biscay, both in terms of population (3,953 inhabitants in 2011, 0.2% of the CAPV) and surface area (66.5 km2, ____ 0.7% of the CAPV). They have a lower population density than the average in the CAPV (70 Economic structure of the UBC area* and the CAPV inhab./km2 compared with 294) which means they cannot be EMPLOYMENT GROSS VALUE ADDED considered economic and social 7,81% 2000 2008 2010 7,81% 7,81% 10,58% 14,24% centres. 10,58% 10,58% 7,35% 7,35% 7,35%
14,24% 10,58% 10,58%


13,19% 13,19% 12,07% 7% 69,07% 13,19% 13,19% 5,14% 4,62% 69,07% 5,14% 12,07% 7%


10,58% 2010 - CAPV 13,19% Poblacin ocupada 26,89% 26,89% 71,09% 69,07%

7,81% 7,81%


62,35% 62,35% 71,09%

7,35% 7,35% 26,89% 21,39% 21,39%

69,98% 69,98% 62,35%

71,09% 71,09% 69,07%

13,19% 26,89% 26,89% 5,14% 5,14% 2,95% 2,95%

2,95% 2,95%

62,35% 62,35% 71,09%

26,89% 21,39% 21,39%

1,28% 2,95% 1,28%

69,98% 69,98% 62,35%

5,14% 5,14% 4,62%


1,28% 1,28% 2,95%



6,70% 9,22%



8,61% 8,61%



21,12% 9,22% 6,70% 62,26% 62,26%

62,26% 60,30%

8,61% 8,61%



9,22% 27,71% 27,71%

27,71% 27,82% 27,71%
3,09% 27,82% 3,09% 0,71%

60,59% 62,26%


27,82% 60,30%



27,82% 27,82% 31,60% 0,71% 0,71% 1,40% 0,71% 0,71% 1,40%

Agro Agro.

3,09% 3,09% 0,71%

60,59% 60,59%

8,61% 8,41% 8,41% 69,57% 27,71% 69,57% 60,59% 21,12% 69,57% 21,12% 69,57% 27,71% 21,12% 60,59% 21,12% 0,91% 0,91% 3,09%
0,91% 0,91% 3,09%

8,41% 8,41%

69,98% Besides, the proximity of 21,39% urban centres like Gernika-Lumo 69,98% and 21,39% Bermeo accentuate any 1,28% potential dislocation. It is not a 1,28% coincidence that the percentage of the population who work outside 8,41% their municipality is nearly 90%, 8,41% which is 70%69,57% more than the CAPV average. 21,12% 69,57%


21,12% 0,91%

Industry Industria

Constr. Const.

ervices Servicios

Source: Drawn up by the authors using EUSTAT figures. Regional Accounting

* Municipalities of Busuturia, Gautegiz-Arteaga, Ibarrangelu, Murueta and Sukarrieta

1Municipalities 2The

of Busuturia, Gautegiz-Arteaga, Ibarrangelu, Murueta and Sukarrieta

These characteristics have largely determined the nature 0,91% of the local production system of the UBCs surroundings, which is linked to services for the _________

ornithological importance of this reserve has meant it was declared, in 1994, an Area of Special Protection for Birds, being integrated into the Natura 2000 network. It is included on the RAMSAR Conventions list of internationally important wetlands according to a decision taken by the Council of Ministers in 1992.


The case of the Urdaibai Bird Center UBC



The Urdaibai territory in the Basque context

Important figures for the UBC area







Population (inhabitants) 2011 Surface area (km2) Density (inhab./km2) 2011 Population variation (%) 2000-2011 Vegetation growth rate (%) 2010 Elderly population (% inhab. +65 years) 2012 Working population (% 16-64 years) 2006 Unemployed population (% 16-64 years) 2011 GDP per capita (CAPV = 100) 2008 GDP per worker (CAPV = 100) 2008 Total personal income (CAPV = 100) 2009 Employment in micro-companies (%) 2011 Population working outside the municipality (% +16) 2001 Potentially contaminated soil (% total) 2008 Protected area (% total) 2011
Source: Udalmap Basque Government municipal indicators, based on Eustat figures

1,776 19.63 90.45 6.16 -3.39 23.61 67.10 8.08 36.20 92.42 95.16 42.32 85.71 0.14 19.14

879 13.57 64.79 5.40 -4.58 17.91 66.72 9.53 39.08 96.19 119.71 73.38 92.17 0.02 70.79

636 15.56 40.86 21.84 -8.00 24.49 75.99 6.88 44.33 111.36 110.31 100.00 80.19 0.04 50.96

308 5.45 56.54 38.12 -9.74 14.24 70.05 6.07 122.30 117.92 115.36 25.58 89.57 0.76 55.55

354 2.3 153.98 13.10 0.00 26.61 58.90 8.80 196.64 145.22 139.34 22.06 85.35 0.03 18.83

3,953 56.51 69.95 10.88 -4.59 22.02 67.94 8.12 59.22 103.02 108.59 55.39 86.53 0.14 38.55

2,127,900 7,234 294.15 2.73 0.82 19.84 64.99 10.04 100.00 100.00 100.00 36.68 51.37 1.16 20.66

local population and an economic profile in which primary activities play an important role. It can be observed from the Eustat economic figures that industry provides a percentage of gross added value significantly lower than the CAPV average (13.1% against 27.8% in 2008), while primary activities and service industries are above the average. This distribution has held level for the last decade, although with an increase as regards primary activities (4.6% in 2000 compared with 5.14% in 2008) which is the opposite to what has happened in the CAPV (1.4% compared with 0.71%). In terms of working population, the distribution by sector is similar to that of the CAPV, although this has a nuance, since most residents work outside these municipalities. This characteristic can be clearly seen in the GDP per capita and per worker figures that give information about the dormitory nature of these municipalities. In short, the geographical surroundings are marked by an absence of major towns (absence of critical mass), their predominantly rural nature (traditional activities), and by the restrictions that the _

natural environment imposes, limiting the development of economic activities with a major impact. This kind of territory involves major challenges when it comes to finding a place for it in the current competitiveness context, with few options for a local development policy.

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Key elements
Unique ecology and landscape as differential assets Small population centres (lack of dynamism) and absence of critical mass Traditional economy, mainly rural with associated services Limited options in terms of a local development policy



Smart specialisation

Although the effects of globalisation are determining the rules of competitive play, it is the territories and their assets that allow companies to have the elements necessary to differentiate themselves from the competition. As a response to this new paradigm, an ever more important factor is the smart specialisation of territories as a mechanism to rationalise and increase the efficiency of economic systems and business competitiveness. The concept of smart specialisation arose from the general reflections of a group of European Commission experts regarding the endemic gap in terms of innovation between Europe and the USA, as a result of less economic and technological specialisation and a poorer prioritisation of efforts in this regard at a regional level (Pontikakis et al. 20091). The underlying idea stressed the importance of having a regional system based on few, very specialised activities which, interacting with each other, give rise to other new sources for competitive and comparative advantages (known as entrepreneurial discoveries). This current way of thinking became so influential that it caused a reorientation of European Regional Policy within the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy. Currently, smart specialisation must be included as a governing principle for two of the conditions for obtaining FEDER funds during 2014-2020 (COM EC 20112). In this respect, the European Commission has urged the regions to follow a model of smart specialisation by means of the definition of an ad-hoc strategy (RIS3) as a condition for receiving European regional policy funds in the upcoming 2014-2020 period. However, smart specialization is still a concept under development, whose Contents come mainly from academic authors who currently ____________

advise the Commission itself (Foray et al. 20093 and McCann and Ortega Argils-20114). It can be defined as: The establishment of priorities that are implemented at regional level in a series of activities and/or technological domains that are potentially competitive and able to create new activities in a global context.

What is Smart Specialisation?

Considering the GLOBAL CONTEXT
Achieving COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES by means of specialisation, from the current possibilities offered by the specific territorial reality (comparative advantages). This in coherence with the priorities of other regions.


Achieving COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES giving priority to specialisation choices based on key enabling technologies.


Exploiting the potential of SPECIALISED DIVERSIFICATION based on the links among different but related activities / technologies.

Giving priority to diversified specialisation in coherence with the historical heritage and capacities of the region, taking into consideration the global economys determining factors and possibilities.


Y VAN BAVEL (2009) The question of R&D Specialisation: perspectives and policy implications. JRC Scientific and Technical Reports.

(EC 2011) Communication from the EC to the EU Parliament, the Council, the CoR: Regional Policy contributing to smart growth in Europe 2020 D., DAVID, P. A. Y HALL, B. (2009) Smart Specialisation: the concept in Potocniks Expert Group Knowledge for Growth Report. P. and ORTEGA-ARGILS, R. (2011) Smart Specialisation, regional growth and applications to EU Cohesion policy. Economic Geography working paper 2011.




The case of the Urdaibai Bird Center UBC



The new models challenges and opportunities

The concept can be broken down into three main elements: (1) coherence of the process in the global context, (2) giving priority to specific specialisation patterns, and (3) specialised diversification by means of the identification and promotion of entrepreneurial discoveries. One of the most widespread criticisms of smart specialization is the potential risk of slipping into the dynamic of picking winners, or, in other words, that the best positioned territories have more options when it comes to taking advantage of the benefits of specialisation. Therefore, a priori, a model focussing on the processes of entrepreneurial discovery as a keystone for a territorys development may appear more beneficial for those areas with economies of agglomeration, critical mass and business dynamism, where these kind of discoveries will be more probable. However, experience shows that the key is actually found in the process by which an entrepreneurial discovery is achieved and there a good smart specialisation policy can contribute to ameliorating less favourable starting point to that. All territories, independently of their profile, have elements which, when combined, can give rise to entrepreneurial discoveries. The difficulty is in (1) identifying the enabling elements, (2) discovering the creative combination of these ____

elements that give shape to the entrepreneurial discovery and (3) support the process by which it becomes a formal initiative able to contribute to territorial development. The two last points are ad-hoc aspects that depend on the availability of the different elements that define and characterise an entrepreneurial discovery, which are: aspects linked to (1) the degree of specialised diversification (type of innovation generated), (2) the level of technological hybridisation (creative combination of separate knowledge fields / technologies that are transversal to different activities), (3) the representation of the regional helix (involvement of all agents), and (4) the window of opportunity (scope and impact in market terms).

The case of the UBC is an example of entrepreneurial discovery that largely meets these elements. In the next chapter there is an in-depth analysis of the UBC as regards each of the elements that define and characterise it as an entrepreneurial discovery within the framework of territorial smart specialisation for the Urdaibai area. Furthermore, it also looks at the Cluster+ management model covering the case of the UBC and by means of which it has been identified and promoted.

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Elements defining / characterising an entrepreneurial discovery

Incremental innovation Radical innovation Sector-Sector (non-technological inn.) Sector-Technology Technology-Technology (technological inn.) Business fabric Society and users RDI system Government


Source: INFYDE

Does it contributes to the diversification of the current regional specialisation pattern? Are different knowledge / technological fields combined?

Does the entrepreneur come out of and/or is supported by the quadruple helix? Does it have clear possibilities in terms of the international market?

Period for marketing and sale Geographical scope


The Urdaibai Bird Center - UBC

The Urdaibai Bird Center is an example of the potential entrepreneurial discoveries that can occur from a combination of a territorys assets and opportunities. As it has been mentioned, all territories have elements that, when combined creatively and aimed at specific windows of opportunity, can result in initiatives that contribute to territorial development. The key is in the process by which these discoveries are made and then turned into a successful business initiatives. This chapter includes both stages, based on the study of the UBC in the Basque Country. In the first, the Centers origins and the business model in which it was set up are analysed, which will allow an identification of entrepreneurial discoverys defining and characterising elements for a particular example. With respect to the second stage, there is an analysis of the Cluster+ management model created by GAIA, and through which the UBCs defining and characterising elements acquire a logic of entrepreneurial discovery within the much wider framework of a process (strategy) of smart specialisation.

The Urdaibai Bird Center - UBC

The Urdaibai Bird Center - UBC is a public-private initiative that commenced in spring 2011 with the inauguration of its facilities in the municipality of Gautegiz-Arteaga. Urdaibai Bird Center was created through the refitting of an old industrial unit in the Orueta neighbourhood of Gautegiz-Arteaga. Due to its location close to the protected wetlands of Urdaibai, there are significant limits on the tipologies of economic activities that can be carried out there. Because of the protected and limiting nature of the environment where the complex is located, the Center has become a very important piece with respect to development opportunities and capacities, not only in the municipality of Gautegiz-Arteaga, but also in the surrounding area. Despite the areas limitations, its location had some prime conditions for the observation of birds. This research activity, linked to the potentiality of the application of new technologies, gave GAIA the chance to discover the inherent opportunities that this project could have within the wider framework of its new management model Cluster+, aligned too with the principles of the territorial smart specialisation models. In 2009, work began on the old industrial complex that was to form the setting for the new scientific Centre. This came about through an agreement between the BBK Obra Social Foundation and the Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi organisation. The resources needed for refitting work came from the Biscay Authorities (a total of 3 million Euros) and the BBK (2 million). The structure of the original building was conserved, although with a new exterior to better integrate it into the exceptional natural setting. The interior was fitted also in a very functional way, taking into account multiple uses, with different ______

Key elements
All territories have assets which, combined within a framework of opportunities, can give rise to entrepreneurial discoveries The key lies in identifying the entrepreneurial discovery or discoveries and consolidating them An entrepreneurial discovery refers to specialised diversification through hybridisation within the framework of a window of opportunity and with the participation of the quadruple helix


The case of the Urdaibai Bird Center UBC



A case of Basque entrepreneurial discovery

The UBC facilities

exhibition areas, conference rooms, research areas and ornithological watching points, along with a library museum specialising in the matter of birds and their migratory journey from northern Europe to Sub-Saharan Africa. This design, based on taking into account multiple uses, was intended to make the Center a meeting point for researchers and the rest of society, and so that it could fit into a model similar to that of a living lab thus serving scientific, educational and instruction purposes, and also acting as a place to test solutions for the market in international markets.

The Urdaibai Bird Center was formed from the refurbishment of a former industrial complex which, because of its location, had some unbeatable conditions for the observation of birds migrating from northern Europe to Sub-Saharan Africa. Although the original buildings structure was kept, the interior was fitted with a series of modules designed to meet the needs of a living lab model (research, education, dissemination, testing, etc.). The Center has the following facilities:


Welcome area for visitors. The introduction to the center is given next to a large, back-lit map that shows the East Atlantic Flyway, showing the connection of Urdaibai with the major wetlands of Europe and Africa.

The UBCs business model

The UBC is rated as an innovation centre of excellence (ICE) with a business model (set of defining and characterising elements that make it an example of entrepreneurial discovery) in which the following aspects can be highlighted: The UBC as a source for the specialised diversification of the territory Although the UBCs activities focus on scientific research and educational activities related to birds, their migrations and the habitats where they live, the UBC is a project with considerable economic and social interest. The Center, with its multiple possible uses, is designed to be able to generate, in addition to research activities, returns in economic and social terms, by running related activities. The Center has identified the following within its operational logic: 1. Frontline research in the field of ecology, climate change and biodiversity through the study of the migratory patterns of birds, with links to related domains such as the environment.


A replica of the Euskalmet Kapildui Weather Radar, giving information about basic notions of meteorology and its influence on birds, their ecology and migratory movements. Audiovisual education module through which, with modern technological equipment, information is given on the habitats and birds of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, the current ornithological state of the wetland and research interests and projects.

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A working area for processing the data obtained in the research studies. Here information is analysed, edited and prepared for publication either at the center or on the Internet.

Hall fitted for conferences or events, with capacity for 48 people, which is supplemented with a meeting room with capacity for another 15 people.


Preparation area for materials needed for the management of the protected areas, the wetlands or the handling of ringing devices.

Source: UBC


The Urdaibai Bird CenterUBC is an innovation centre of excellence (ICE) that favours exploitation of the surrounding Basque related variety. It involves technological hybridisation projects across different knowledge fields/economic activities with an international focus. The linking of the UBCs ICEs to global value chains that allow internationalisation

Source: Infyde and GAIA ICE: Innovation Centre of Excellence (see chapter 4)

Training and education on the environment and biology (ornithology) both at a general level (primary schools, secondary education etc.) as well as at the research level (tertiary education, exchange of researchers etc.). Testing of technologies that are convergent with scientific, technological and economic uses and potentially commercialised in the field of EICTs (electronic, information and communication technologies) and their transversal applications. Generation of innovation projects based on technologies that may be applicable at the Center and as part of global value chains (with a European or international scope) and networks of excellence such as ENOLL, EURING, ARTEMIS etc. Tourism, of a selective nature and with high purchasing power, linked to researchers who stay at the Center, as well as other visitors from the local area, Europe or further afield.

The UBC as a generator and tester of technological hybridizations The UBC has a number of general research lines focussing on biology (ornithology) and ecology, which can essentially be summed up as follows: 1. Specifically, bird migration a) analysis of the factors that determine behaviour and the use of space in stopover areas, and b) migratory connectivity of the populations that pass through Urdaibai 2. Population dynamics of species at Urdaibai 3. Spatial ecology (use of the habitat and movement patters) These research lines, combined with technological solutions that can potentially be applied to those lines, create innovations that have


The case of the Urdaibai Bird Center UBC


The case of the Urdaibai Bird Center (I): entrepreneurial discovery model

have possible uses in other scientific and technological fields, but above all, in market-based economic activities. The GAIA cluster (which collaborates on the UBC) manages the Centers living lab (BIRD Living Lab) whose mission is to facilitate and test in situ technological hybridisation projects that many later result in marketable solutions that contribute to improving the competitive position of its companies and the area in general.

The UBC unites the territorys quadruple helix

The scope and resulting impact of the technological hybridisation projects that take place in the Center and in the BIRD Living Lab are multiplied by being carried out within the framework of the multi-disciplinary nature of agents that the living lab itself brings together from the different parts of the territorys quadruple helix. Each of them (agents from the Basque innovation system, the business fabric, government bodies, society, and communities of users) provides different elements that allow the UCB to generate value linked to the territory: RDI agents (Aranzadi, ESTIA, ESA/Galileo, UPV/EHU etc.) provide the R&D component and knowledge intensity which feed the technological hybridisation processes. The Public Authorities (Biscay Provincial Council, the Basque Government, the Indian Consulate etc.) provide credibility, resources and institutional support, as well as consideration of the Center and its lines of work when it comes to defining policies and development strategies for the territory. The business fabric (GAIA Cluster, Innovatec, Satec, Navteq, Lotek Wireless, Virtualware, Biotrack, etc.) provides the innovation component that allows the results of the Centers different lines of action to be oriented to the market, contributing thereby to the creation of wealth and employment. User communities and networks (Obra Social BBK, Global Nature Foundation, EURING, ENOLL etc.), provide testing with regard to social challenges and major trends. They also allow integration of the Centers fields of activity and the spheres of application of its results into international channels.

Example of a hybridisation project: Bird Ringing and Tracking

Examples of technological hybridisation projects carried out and tested through the UBCs BIRD Living Lab involve bird ringing and tracking. These projects are groundbreaking R&D that combine technological and electronic ICT solutions within the field of biology, which are carried out in conjunction with other technological agents and with companies at a European level. Specifically, the different projects executed within the sphere of hybridisation have been aimed at devices that have been miniaturised to the greatest extent and are sufficiently able to track birds as well as exchange, in real time, information for the needs of the Centers research teams, with regard to the birds. These devices do not exist on the market, and testing them among a group with high requirements, such as the Centers scientists and researchers, ensures their comparative advantage when applied to other activities where the concept of traceability and monitoring is key, for example: security, defence, logistics and transport, aerospace, tourism, health, etc. Furthermore, given that bird migration patters are indicators of climate change, they are a technological solution with a component for analysing environmental risk. EXAMPLES OF EUROPEAN PROJECTS Bird Ringing and Tracking Displayed to the Scientific Community BIRDS - FP7-GALILEO MONNA: Monitorizacin de la Naturaleza y de los Animales POCTEFA BIRD - CANADEKA

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Source: GAIA and Infyde with GAIA illustrations and projects





Source: GAIA ICE: Innovation Centre of Excellence (see chapter 4)

The UBC identifying and exploiting windows of opportunity Thanks to the Living Lab focus and to the action of the different agents directly and indirectly involved in the Center, the UBC exploits its results from a threefold perspective: Bearing in mind the environmental perspective, given current environmental challenges, the UBC contributes to improving knowledge and scientific fields related to ecology, biology and climate change (through risk monitoring). Furthermore, it contributes to a sustainable use of the Urdaibai Reserve. From the social perspective, the UBC contributes to connecting the municipality of Gautegiz-Arteaga and surrounding municipalities through visibility and the attraction of high-level visitors, not only within the CAPV but also at a European and international level, a key aspect with respect to achieving an open economy for the territory. Lastly, from the point of view of the economic impact, the testing of technological solutions is creating a competitive advantage in the field of ICTs applied to the different sectors mentioned. Furthermore, the UBC is opening up possibilities for the surrounding area in terms of tourism, educational activities etc.

The UBC and smart specialisation

As part of the new governing model of smart specialisation, the UBC contributes to territorial development by means of the following dimensions: 1. prioritisation of the Urdaibai areas specialisation pattern, gearing it towards activities with a high scientific content in the field of eco-innovation (biology-ecology), 2. exploitation of the related variety inherent in the Centers fields of specialisation, through technological hybridisation of ICTs as major enabling technologies and the possibilities of application in biology-ecology, the environment and other industries (security, transport and logistics, tourism etc.), 3. the Centers commitment to a global dimension, in terms of both its activities and the application of its results, by means of participation in international networks and the Cluster+ management model. The fact that the UBC fits into GAIAs Cluster+ model is, in large part, the facilitator of a focus aligned with the principles of smart specialisation. Below it is a description of the UBCs contribution, as an entrepreneurial discovery, to smart specialisation within the Urdaibai setting.


The case of the Urdaibai Bird Center UBC


The case of the Urdaibai Bird Center (II): quadruple helix model

Smart specialisation, entrepreneurial discovery and the case of the UBC

How does an entrepreneurial discovery contribute to smart specialisation? How does the Urdaibai Bird Center contribute to smart specialisation?

(Fitting in with international trends)

An entrepreneurial discovery comes about as an innovation that responds to one or more windows of opportunity, meeting major economic, social and/or social challenges that are created internationally, and which offer a comparative advantage compared with other territories options.

The UBC was founded with its activity intended for a global orientation, and is part of European and international networks both with regard to birds (EURING, Global Nature Foundation etc.) and the technologies which come out of its living lab (ENOLL), through Cluster+.
The UBCs results are in coherence with the overall challenges and trends of its surroundings

(Prioritisation of efforts in specific activities / technologies)

Working Paper

An entrepreneurial discovery offers signals of activities, fields of knowledge and technological domains that can offer a competitive advantage and which should be considered as priority areas in terms of efforts, over and above other considerations which are not rooted in the territory or have no future there.

The UBC came about from a very specific activity with a highly scientific content in the field of eco-innovation (biologyecology) and due to its nature it could only be developed in Urdaibai , giving it a competitive advantage that would be impossible to copy.
The UBC has revealed the prioritisation that makes the environment compatible with territorial development

(creative combination of solutions to generate new activities)

An entrepreneurial discovery reflects the creative combination of knowledge, technologies and skills from now, or which can potentially be applied to the territory, which result in innovations that generate/ reveal new activities that can be commercialised.

The UBC exploits related variety by means of technological hybridisations among the ICTs as major enabling technology and the possibilities of being applied in biology-ecology, the environmental sector and other industries (security, transport and logistics, tourism etc.).
The UBC combines ICTs with biology and ecology creating hybridisation that result in new or related activities

Source: Infyde and GAIA



Facilitating elements
The Urdaibai Bird Center is one of several entrepreneurial discovery initiatives which GAIA Cluster de las Telecomunicaciones del Pas Vasco covers within a much wider framework of a cluster model of smart specialisation called Cluster+. The Cluster+ model created by GAIA is an answer to the question of how cluster associations can contribute to smart specialisation in a territory, more specifically by means of entrepreneurial discovery and its consolidation in formal initiatives.

GAIA and the Cluster+ model

GAIA Cluster de Telecomunicacin del Pas Vasco, has implemented a new cluster management model, the Cluster+, through which it puts its companies and agents from the Basque Country in contact with other companies and agents in other clusters in other territories with an international profile. The goal is to identify technological solutions, products and services resulting from creative hybridisation, which can be commercialised internationally. PROJECTS CARRIED OUT WITHIN THE CLUSTER+ MODEL AEI-010400-2011-42 CLUSTER + AEI-010400-2012-34 CLUSTER +2 AEI-010400-2012-43 - EICLAB

The Cluster+ model in practice

Alternating between the global and the local dimension, the Cluster+ model sets three levels of action: (1) the global value chain (CVG), (2) the smart region and (3) the innovation centre of excellence (ICE). The model is configured by means of global value chains defined as a set of activities and their technological domains that work in a coordinated and connected way, facilitating the setup of an integrated production process for a product/service oriented at international markets. This integrated production process originates on the local scale, with smart regions being the analysis units where it is possible to find technological segments and activities upon which the global value chain is built. At the local level, the smart region is represented by a leader or innovation centre of excellence (ICE) which is the party that identifies the activities and technologies which the territory can exploit as an entrepreneurial discovery. Each smart region may have one or more ICEs working as part of the Cluster+ model. The number of ICEs that a smart region can host depends on its critical mass and on its capacity to exploit related variety by means of entrepreneurial discoveries that become specific initiatives.

UBC and the Cluster+ model

Within the framework of the Cluster+ model, the UBC is a ICE belonging to the smart region of the Basque Country where other actors in the region (Aranzadi, GAIA, UPV/EHU, Biscay Council, BBK etc.) support the initiative and contribute to its excellence. The UBC and the Basque Country in turn form part of a global value chain regardin the possible applications of ICTs for monitoring birds which involve ICEs from other smart regions (ESTIA in Aquitania, Lotek in Wales etc., and European and international networks like ENOLL European Network of Living Labs, EURING European Union for Bird Ringing, etc.). Cooperation among all the ICEs has given rise to technological hybridisation projects with a strong commercialisation potential (for example, the MONA European project or proposals within European frameworks such as SMEILL or BIRDs Control).

In this case, the UBC represents one of the ICEs that GAIA manages within the Cluster+ framework along with other centres related to sport (SPORTIC) and mobility and transport (Mobility Lab). In short, each of the Cluster+s action levels responds to the elements of smart specialisation: Innovation centres of excellence are entrepreneurial discovery-based initiatives that arise from technological hybridisation across specialisation patterns in a smart region. These centres, through coordination within the framework of a global value chain with other smart regions, take on a global dimension.



The case of the Urdaibai Bird Center UBC


The roots of Urdaibais smart specialisation

The cluster response to smart specialisation: the case of the Cluster+ model LEVELS OF SMART SPECIALISATION
GLOBAL SCOPE and the open economy
Achieving competitive advantages by means of the specialisation that a territory may have, but which must also be comparative with regard to the options and trends that arise in other territories at an international level.
Level at which the entrepreneurial discovery is successful

CLUSTER+ MANAGEMENT LEVELS What is the Global Value Chain?

A diverse, but related and coherent set, of technological domains and economic activities distributed throughout a value chain without geographical restrictions and at an international level.


Discovering specific activities / technological domains which, based on the territorys unique strengths and opportunities permit the building of competitive advantages.

What is the Smart Region?

The geographical setting from which the segments of the GVCs segments arise by means of the placement within it of an Innovation Centre of Excellence and all the territorys agents and assets that contribute to its excellence.

Level at which the entrepreneurial discovery is consolidated


Discovering and exploiting the potential of related variety inherent in a territory based on combinations among different but related activities / technologies, that are located within it.

What is the Innovation Centre of Excellence?

The entity/entities of a Smart Region that form part of a Global Value Chain discover innovations combining specific fields of activity / technological domains in which a competitive / comparative advantage is present.

Working Paper

Level at which entrepreneurial discovery arises

The Cluster+ model advocates the bringing together of niches of excellence at international level in one or more technological domains which, represented by innovation centres of excellence in smart regions, combine and integrate into a global value chain that allow them to be marketed and sold under the entrepreneurial discovery business model.
Source: Cluster+ Model Strategic Plan. GAIA and Infyde



In a new global context marked by unending competitive pressure and the value of innovation, the role of the territories as facilitators of competitive advantages is more important than ever. Recently, there seems to have arisen a general belief that territories should give priority to activity fields and areas of technology and knowledge in which they have comparative advantages; with strengths that can make better use of the opportunities offered by international economic, social and environmental trends. The underlying questions with respect to these new models of smart specialisation regard what to give priority to, and how. It is here where the concept of entrepreneurial discovery takes on key importance within the process of building territorial competitive advantages, more specifically, about how to discover and support them. The case of the Urdaibai Bird Center is a clear example of an entrepreneurial discovery that responds to the underlying idea of territorial smart specialisation: 1. It involves prioritisation around a specialisation pattern for the Urdaibai area, towards knowledge-intensive activities. It contributes to the diversification of a rural area towards new and very specialised activities that arise from hybridisation of the Centers technologies and activities. It involves a channel to global networks, giving Urdaibai a global dimension in economic, social and environmental terms.

Key elements
All territories play a role within the framework of smart specialisation since they have assets which, combined with opportunities, can bring about entrepreneurial discoveries The UBC is an example of an entrepreneurial discovery in a rural territory that has limitations in terms of critical mass, and environmental determinants: Differentiating asset: ecological riches Opportunity: environment challenges Model: application of ICTs to the environment Results: generation of activities for the territory and impact on related sectors The Cluster + model includes the entrepreneurial discovery within the logic of smart specialisation, granting it: International perspective and access to networks Prioritisation of efforts at the territorial level Focus on economic, social and environmental returns, based on the possibilities of hybridisation smart specialisation, has contributed to its success, especially with regard to global economic networks and channels.



The UBC has been discovered and supported within the quadruple helix framework where the different parts (public authorities, RDI agents, companies and user communities) have contributed to the final success of the initiative and, more importantly, to the embedding of results in the territory. The exploitation of the UBC, through the logic of the new management model that combines the cluster-type elements with those of___________

The Urdaibai Bird Center is an example of the potential of entrepreneurial discoveries as opportunities within the framework of smart specialisation for all territories, independently of their profile.



The case of the Urdaibai Bird Center UBC


Working Paper


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