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Niukkanen, Harri Petteri
Harmaakorpi, Vesa Kalevi
Hennala, Lea Maritta
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
42nd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "From Industry to Advanced Services - Perspectives of European Metropolitan Regions", August 27th - 31st, 2002, Dortmund, Germany
In a network society different areas and cities are forced to compete with and against each other. The success of urban districts is partly dependent of the people`s level of know-how and the districts` capability to create, process and spread out knowledge. Although Lahti Region has been considered a declined industrial region, it is full of potential: There are a sufficient amount of inhabitants; its infrastructure is competitive; its logistical position in Finland is central; it is near the capital city, Helsinki; the nature is near in Lahti. The city has innovative enterprises in wood, metal and plastic industries. On the other hand, the lack of university leads to remote R&D-spending, low standard of education and to the fact that the flow of young, educated people is easily passing the urban district of Lahti. Although Lahti does not have a university of its own, it has been able to attract some Finnish universities to start up branch offices in Lahti. Nowadays, there are three units from different universities with nine professorships. The lack of the university emphasizes the need of local actors, like research and education organisations, companies, authorities and Lahti Region Centre of Expertise Programme to co-operate strategically with each other. One example of this co-operation is the Lahti University Centre (LUC). LUC is a network of independent university level organisations in the city of Lahti. According to the co-operation contract, it consists of the following actors: Helsinki University of Technology Lahti Center; Lappeenranta University of Technology; University of Helsinki, Palmenia Centre for Research and Continuing Education; Helsinki University, Department of Ecological and Enviromental Sciences. The basic task of the LUC is to raise the university level know-how capacity in Lahti region and serve its economic life in areas of research, development and education in order to increase regional competitiveness. Although Lahti University Center has been established it does not have a proper strategy or an action plan. The network of these independent university organisations needs a strategy which guidelines and supports their actions and is compatible with the regional innovation system. The study focuses on the strategy process of a network organisation. Research problems are: - how leadership will be decentralized in a network - the roles and commitment of actors - how to formulate a viable vision - what are the main areas of strategic co-operation The study is an action research, where researchers also be actors in the strategy process. The strategy process will be understood as a learning process of the network. Some traditional strategic analyses such as feasibility analysis and benchmarking as well as some creativity tools like vision workshop will be tested. Leadership will be decentralized among all the actors in order to get the full engagement of the actors. The network strategy of the Lahti University Center gives information and serves as a possible benchmarking partner for other similar network organisations in Europe. This case will be one part of the researchers` study project to develop a model for the strategic planning of the network.
Document Type: 
Conference Paper

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