Henry CHESBROUGH & Wim VANHAVERBEKE, fathers of Open Innovation have just released a very insightful report on Open Innovation and public policies in Europe, in collaboration with Tuba BAKICI and Henry LOPEZ-VEGA.


Abstract of the report

Industrial innovation processes are becoming more open. The large, vertically integrated R&D laboratory systems of the 20th century are giving way to more vertically disintegrated networks of innovation that connect numerous companies into ecosystems. Since innovation policy ultimately rests on the activities and initiatives of the private sector, it is vital that policy follows this evolution.

Previous innovation policies relied on large companies to act as the engines of innovation in the EU. While large companies remain quite relevant to innovation within the EU, they themselves report that their processes involve many more SMEs and other contributors outside their own walls. Therefore, innovation policy must also move outside the walls of these large companies and consider the roles of human capital, competition policy, financing, intellectual property, and public data in promoting an environment of open innovation.

In this report, we combine new research and analysis on open innovation with focused interviews of major participants in the European innovation system. The result is a series of recommendations for public policies that could, if implemented, improve the climate for open innovation to take place in the European Union – and thereby improve the competitiveness of the European economy overall. Taken together, these recommendations comprise an informal ‘charter’ for EU open innovation policy.

(abstract copied from the original report)

 Main recommendations

  • Education and human capital development
    • Increase meritocracy in research funding: research funding should move to EU level to reward excellence.
    • Support enhanced mobility during graduate training: graduate training is unequal across Europe. Promising researcher should be supported to do part of their training outside of Europe.
  • Financing open innovation: the funding chain
    • Introduce the funding chain concept: R&D public funding is currently not in accordance with Open Innovation. The French “CIR (Crédit d’Impôt Recherche – tax return for R&D) could be generalized across Europe.
    • Increase the pool of funds available for VC investment: the European VC market is currently dwarfed by the American market.
    • Support the formation of spin-offs to commercialise research discoveries: public policies should foster promising but risky projects in their early stage.
  • A balanced approach to intellectual property
    • Reduce transaction costs for intellectual property: current IP costs are too expensive for SMEs, which is a serious issue as more and more technological innovations are made by small companies.
    • Foster the growth of IP intermediaries: EU should foster the growth of the IP market.
    • Rebalance EU policy towards universities with publicly funded research: many universities are focused on maximizing the royalty income, which limits the flow of knowledge to industry, hampering the technological progress and competitiveness of the industry.
  • Promoting cooperation, competition, and rivalry
    • Shift support from national champions towards SMEs and start-up companies: policies should support SMEs creation, expansion and exports outside of EU as they are extremely important innovation players.
    • Promote spinoffs from large companies and universities: governments should support large companies to spin-off promising ideas.
    • Focus on innovation networks: policies should focus on the creation and the animation of networks and ecosystem, propitious to innovation.
  • Expanding open government
    • Accelerate the publication of government data wherever possible: releasing public data is source of tremendous innovations.
    • Utilize open innovation in government procurement: governments should use open innovation and innovation intermediaries (such as Presans) to seek out solutions anywhere in the world.
    • Foster commercial application of technologies developed for the government:  Governments should foster the commercialisation of technologies originally developed for military, aerospace, road and railway infrastructure, and national security.

The report can be downloaded here or here.