feb | 17:20

Open Innovation Policy Workshop

9 februari,17:20 av Erik Borälv

Open Innovation has been on the rise for a long time but can be hard to find in current innovation policy. A number of European practitioners and researchers met up to share experiences and learn what opportunities there are for new policy in Open Innovation. This is a summary of parts of that workshop. A next meetup is planned for summer 2017.

Detta inlägg skrivs på engelska för att också kunna spridas bland deltagarna på detta möte om offentlig strategi (policy) inom området öppen innovation.

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

The New Innovation Policy Workshop took place at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, hosted by Prof. Dietmar Harhoff. The aim was to share experiences from user innovation policy initiatives among policy-makers and researchers. The workshop is about novel approaches to innovation policy, and includes, for example, how individual users and households, as important sources of innovation, can be part of innovation policy.

A number of countries already have experience from specific policy on open and user innovation.

 Short interview with the workshop host.

Denmark is a forerunner when it comes to a national initiative for user-driven innovation (UDI). Their work began to shape as early as 2004 and identified this topic as a key policy to stimulate innovation and growth. A programme for UDI was established in 2007 as a part of the overall Danish Globalization Strategy. It was a government initiative to stimulate R&D, innovation and growth in Danish firms. It was an effort with substantial budget, roughly 500 million DKK if you sum up a number of related initiatives.

The Danish User Driven agenda as a timeline. Click image for PDF.

The Danish User Driven agenda as a timeline. Click image for PDF.

Quite soon, the programme, and the projects it funded, received public criticism. The previous strong political support waned and the programme was terminated prematurely in 2009. Some say a lack of clear definition and (too) many involved stakeholders, in combination with being the first mover, could explain some of the critisism. The funded projects were of a kind that did not necessarily scale well and this did not meet everyone’s expectations. In addition, some of the important aims of the programme got lost in translating it into an actual funding instrument.

In this context, we need to mention another forerunner country: Finland and their 2010 action plan on Demand and User-driven Innovation Policy. It’s a comprehensive document well worth reading. The document has a number of policy contributions: it clarifies the difference between user and producer innovation, provides a definition of user innovation, indicates the level of user innovation activity, and explains some of the policy barriers and outlines possible policy actions. We might return to the Finnish experiences later.

Open Innovation Strategy for Austria (PDF)

Open Innovation Strategy for Austria (PDF)

A very recent and interesting initiative is the Austrian Open Innovation Strategy, with the aim to increase the innovation system’s performance/efficiency. It mentions three core objectives:

  • Open up, broaden and further develop the Austrian research and innovation system (e.g. new sources of innovation, networking capabilities)
  • Increase the involvement of citizens (users) in generating innovation
  • Increase the efficiency and orientation to results of the Austrian innovation system (e.g. innovative forms of knowledge transfer in both directions)

The strategy contains 14 areas/activities where open innovation can be applied – they consists of concrete proposals. Austria was also influenced by and made use of research findings of relevance to user innovation. Several of the proposals target the barriers that prevent/block bottom-up innovation.

The strategy is grounded at a the ministry level and the process involved the secretary of state. The strategy has not its own budget but is integrated into existing innovation programs or tries to influence the development of new programmes. Examples of launched pilots are: (1) a digital platform for agencies to post problems and for companies to come up with possible solutions (crowdsourcing and innovation procurement), (2) the involvement of citizens in the selection of research areas within medicine (crowdsourcing of health problems, validated by experts, and call for proposals).

The Austrian strategy was developed with the help of the winnovation company.

What is also new (or rare) is the way the strategy was developed. A platform https://www.openinnovation.at/ provided the opportunity for anyone to contribute to the strategy. Close to 500 stakeholders provided comments and further contributions.

Im Zuge der Online-Konsultation von 18.1. bis 14.3.2016 haben 452 Personen an der Diskussion zur Definition von Open Innovation und zu den vorgeschlagenen Maßnahmen zur Förderung von Open Innovation in Österreich teilgenommen und dabei 532 Kommentare und 1069 Bewertungen abgegeben – allesamt sehr ausführliche und lesenswerte Beiträge.

The aim is to continue the work on sharing experiences from open and user-driven innovation policy. The current plan is to collect more evidence and present or discuss further at the 15th International Open and User Innovation Conference, held from 10-12 July 2017 at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.


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