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Co-designing and piloting demand-driven mechanisms, skill-sets and measures for stimulating and facilitating open innovation across European innovation systems

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INVITE (Co-designing and piloting demand-driven mechanisms, skill-sets and measures for stimulatingand facilitating open innovation across European innovation systems)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2018-08-31

The European Union is a world-leading knowledge generator. Still, this wealth of knowledge remains underexploited as many ideas and research results with promising business and social potential never make it to the market. This market failure of European innovation systems to translate their most promising scientific advances into marketable innovations was coined by the European Commission as the “European Paradox” in 1995 and more than 20 years later has yet to be resolved.

In this context, INVITE is set on co-creating a well-connected European Open Innovation (OI) ecosystem, in which knowledge meaningfully flows across borders and is translated into marketable innovations, bringing increased socio-economic benefits to EU citizens. To this end, INVITE will co-design, pilot and demonstrate a pan-European service platform, which we dub as the Open Innovation 2.0 Lab (OI2 Lab), to better link the currently fragmented innovation systems of the EU, empower EU businesses to tap into Europe’s knowledge-base as well as increase the participation of private investors in OI projects.
The work performed so far under the framework of INVITE kicked-off with an in-depth analysis of the current landscape of the European OI ecosystem and its stakeholders, with a view to setting the stage for the demand-driven design of the OI2 Lab and its services. An interview-based survey of 50 OI stakeholders shed ample light on the needs and requirements of prospective users of the OI2 Lab, whereas a comparative analysis of the services offered by key European OI intermediaries revealed meaningful insights into gaps, complementarities and opportunities for the OI2 Lab.

Building on the findings of these activities, INVITE involved 30 expert stakeholders in the co-design of the OI2 Lab during a dedicated co-creation workshop. The meaningful ideas collected during the workshop served as the starting point for the demand-driven development of the services and tools of the OI2 Lab. In particular, 3 digitally-enabled services are being developed to help SMEs find and collaborate with partners across borders to get their OI projects off the ground. At the same time, an e-learning programme with 14 distinct modules is being elaborated to build the capacity of SMEs to make the most out of OI. Last but not least, a suite of 4 ICT tools are being customised and integrated into the platform of the OI2 Lab, with a view to smartly catalysing and facilitating cross-border collaborations.

Along the way, a series of preparatory actions have been paving the way for the post-project rollout of the OI2 Lab. A careful analysis of the market for OI support services was performed in order to reveal fresh insights into the target market and future operational environment of the OI2 Lab. The market intelligence produced this way fuelled a series of collaborative vision building and design activities leading to the selection and elaboration of 3 alternative business models that could be adopted for the commercially viable and sustainable operation of the OI2 Lab beyond the end of the project.

Finally, two well-tailored strategies for stakeholder engagement and communication respectively, have been set in place and are now guiding the respective activities of the project. In this respect, INVITE has developed well-tailored promotional material, set-up its Advisory Board, established a firm online footprint through its web portal and social media pages, issued informative newsletters and blog posts, attended external events and created mutually beneficial synergies with complementary initiatives.
The development of the OI2 Lab is scheduled to be completed in the next period of INVITE. It will be deployed in real-life settings enabling INVITE to experiment with bottom-up collaborative models of innovation in order to yield valuable evidence on how Europe and its businesses can tap into the potential of OI to resolve the persisting “European Paradox”, while addressing real business needs and societal challenges along the way.

In this framework, 2 pan-European Open Innovation Competitions will be launched by the OI2 Lab, stimulating the creation and supporting the implementation of 40 cross-border OI projects by SMEs with promising business and social potential. The most promising SMEs will be empowered with skills and tools to better pitch their OI projects to prospective investors. In parallel, through its e-learning programme, the OI2 Lab will seek to equip 300 SME managers with the knowledge and skills to professionalise the way in which they capture and capitalise on knowledge outside their own firms.

With the deployment of the OI2 Lab, the activities of INVITE are expected to escalate accordingly, engaging SMEs and OI stakeholders into the testing and validation of its offers, with a view to fine-tuning them according to their needs and paving the way for their widespread adoption. The valuable knowledge, evidence and experiences gained through the experiments of the OI2 Lab will be diffused across the EU so as to fuel their replication and scale-up for the benefit of the European economy and society as a whole.