Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
The original SWOT analysis in the Operational program for Öresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak from 2007 was very general and only based on nationwide statistics regarding trade etc. In 2010, when the financial crisis had led to significant changes in local and regional economic opportunities, which also had significance for the Kattegat/ Skagerrak area's development potential, the regions in Kattegat/Skagerrak requested a better overview of the prerequisite of the regions and municipalities in the Kattegat/Skagerrak area. A new SWOT analysis was carried out during spring 2011, focused on "How we can benefit from each other’s strengths”?
Conclusions and recommendations
Based on the first SWOT-analysis, a number of recommendations were designed to guide the efforts to further highlight the strengths, improve weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities and manage threats in the region. The recommendations then served as benchmarks in the implementation of the remaining part of the program and in the programming of the following Interreg V A Öresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak program. Generally, an increased strategic focus from the political side was desired, so that the program could prioritize and actively stimulate the areas identified as particularly important.
Some of the recommendations from the SWOT analysis were:
• Take advantage of complementary strengths and opportunities to learn from each other in terms of triple helix and innovation. The OECD has for example shown that Sweden , Norway and Denmark have different areas of strength in the innovation system (private / public research and development, large / small business, finance / triple helix etc.). Therefore the advice is to develop projects aimed at cooperation in this area.
• The different regions complement each other through business ventures in related fields. Life science, energy, food, communication technology, nutrition experience and information are broad areas of priority where common Interreg projects can provide synergies.
• There are obvious opportunities for cooperation in investment in renewable energy in different parts of the Kattegat/Skagerrak region. Projects that help to maintain and increase KASK region's lead in this area should be prioritized. Even wide cooperation in environmental issues should be given priority as this is something that naturally combines the region.
• Prioritize projects that work to improve border regional mobility, for example by improving the transport system, to facilitate access to employment in another country and validate qualifications from other countries in the KASK area.
• Strengthen the cohesion of the KASK region, contribute to regional development in peripheral parts of the region who are struggling with for example high unemployment. This can be done through projects working with rural development, creative urban planning, local development, new technologies for dissemination of culture and education etc.
• Work actively to build up a preparedness for disasters as oil spills and other environmental hazards in the Kattegat/Skagerrak region. Experiences in this area have been made in other Interreg programs and it is a natural area for cooperation across borders.
• For the remaining and any future program periods, there are obvious advantages in clustering successful projects working in related subject areas to get them to develop new projects. The program itself can also allocate funds to exploit synergies between thematically related projects, which is made within the INTERREG IV C program. It would also be good to be able to get more municipalities / regions / counties to benefit from successful projects.
• Ensure a wide comprehension of the concept of regional development. Things as entrepreneurship in education, more involvement of the voluntary sector and a more creative and inclusive urban planning has been mentioned but there are more aspects to develop. Projects with this cross-sectoral perspective should be prioritized.
• In working with the SWOT-analysis it has in many areas been difficult to find comparable statistics between countries. Therefore there is a clear need to start a project that can collect and compare statistics.