The text discusses the transformation of a peripheral region to a ‘virtual world’. The main theoretical approach is quality of life (QL) with three pillars: social, economic and environmental. The case of the Vysočina region in the Czech Republic with strong social and environmental and weak economic pillars is presented. The analysis is focused on the role of the local HEI, the College of Polytechnics. We identified two main barriers in co-operation between the region and HEI: implementation or effectiveness of regional innovation and vertical segmentation of competencies which on the one hand does not allow strong decision-making towards the HEI, and on the other the HEI as an institution under national criteria has problems ‘thinking regionally’.