EPE, Your Partner for Non-Technological Innovation
The general term of 'innovation' includes 4 types of innovations, which are not mutually exclusive: project innovation, process innovation, marketing innovation, organisational innovation. With resource efficiency constraints in particular, we will see more non-technological innovation in the two coming decades that during all the XXst century to increase our sustainable production and consumption efficiency in particular.
There are three main kinds of dominant organisational innovation where EPE can help you to think ‘out of the box’:
- New business practices
- New methods of organizing external relations
- New methods of organizing work responsibility and decision making
Trade, fairs, conferences and professional events are the most important source for bringing external knowledge about organisational innovation into one’s firm. In this regard, EPE’s Multi-‐stakeholders Laboratories are a unique source of ‘out of the box’ thinking. EPE will help you to address the major trends of policy towards organisational innovation in particular in relation with value chain management:
- R&D and science industry linkages, (via EPE contacts with Universities)
- Innovation for global and societal challenges
- Open innovation
- Service innovation (increased attention)
- Public sector innovation (new area)
- Social innovation
- Creative industries
- Horizontal governance
EPE Multi-stakeholder Laboratories Leading to Innovation Partnerships
EPE’s laboratories bring together public and private stakeholders to accelerate the deployment of major innovations with societal benefits by committing them to undertaking supply and demand side measures (funding, regulation, standards, procurements etc) across sectors and the entire innovation system. EPE laboratories act across the whole innovation value chain, bringing together all relevant actors at EU, national and regional levels in order to: (i) step up research and development efforts geared around best practices and success stories to be scaled up; (ii) coordinate public and private investments in demonstration and pilots; (iii) anticipate and fast-track any necessary regulations and standards; and (iv) mobilise ‘demand’ to ensure that any breakthroughs are quickly brought to market and to the benefit of the society.
These laboratories create “framework condition” that make it easier for partners to cooperate and achieve better and faster results compared to what exists already. Therefore, they build upon relevant existing tools and actions and integrate them into a single coherent framework. Innovation partnerships will be the main outcomes of these multistakeholder laboratories. Such partnerships will be critical in addressing the societal challenges we currently face, including: using energy and natural resources more efficiently, ensuring raw materials supply, promoting food security as well as efficient use of water, and making transport or the building sector more efficient and sustainable. Because of the scale of these challenges, collective action, building on Europe's strengths and tackling weaknesses, is the best route to solutions. These innovation partnerships provide stakeholders with a forum in which they can – united around a common goal - identify, develop and test innovative solutions and ensure the smoothest possible transition from conception to implementation. In particular, the partnerships will:
- Define a common vision and mobilise resources to achieve breakthroughs more rapidly. Partnerships are organised to achieve ambitious, realistic (common) European targets, which resonate with citizens and obtain voluntary commitment from stakeholders. The partnerships also promote new ways of working, using modern means of communication, and breaking down silos, which too oftenprevent key players in innovation to work together across policy areas and disciplines. Commitment will mean pooling efforts, aligning instruments, removing obstacles and achieving critical mass.
- Considerably reduce time-to-market/society of innovation breakthroughs. This should be achieved by promoting better co-ordination of public and privateactions, by anticipating regulatory and other needs for the different stages of the innovation cycle and by ensuring the involvement of those representing the demand side along the whole innovation chain.
In practice, EPE multi-stakeholder laboratories leading to innovation partnerships perform a number of tasks and present a series of ‘deliverables.’ A clear deadline is usually set for the delivery of each of these, since the partnerships aim above all at speeding up progress:
- As a first step, a steering group is formed. The steering group of the partnership should identify bottlenecks to be overcome (e.g. gaps in research, modifications to the regulatory framework, speeding up standardisation and ensuring interoperability, specific skills needs, strategic use of procurement, etc.) to reach the agreed target(s) of the partnership (aligned to the EU2020 and innovation flagship targets). In other words, there must be a shared ‘problem analysis’;
- Next, the partnership needs to undertake a mapping of the measures needed to overcome the bottlenecks, and define opportunities for innovation, which could take the form of a background paper to be used to steer discussion with interested other parties outside the partnership. This background paper, usually fairly concise, non-technical document should set out a clear vision and direction of work, discussing competences, resources, responsibilities, activities and timelines, and placing special emphasis on ways to overcome fragmentation by working together. The mapping must include an analysis of how the different existing policies, instruments and programmes can contribute to tackling those bottlenecks.
- Drawing on the mapping exercise, the partnership is exposed to external inputs via workshops and consultation with interested other parties. The aim is to draft a strategic action plan and identify voluntary commitments of all key stakeholders – each acting in its own sphere and employing its own relevant instruments and resources – to work together to overcome the bottlenecks and implement the strategic action plan. The required commitments should be sufficiently detailed in terms of what is needed, who needs to take action, and justifying why this is the most effective way of overcoming the bottleneck.
- Finally, the partnership identifies clear and concrete milestones in the short, medium and longer term to enable effective monitoring and reporting.