Service Innovation Can Really Strengthen European Innovation and Growth

The Expert Panel on Service Innovation in the EU handed over its final recommendations to Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission with responsibility for Industry and Entrepreneurship, at a conference entitled ‘The Transformative Power of Service Innovation’ held in Rome, on 17 and 18 February 2011.

The work of the Expert Panel on Service Innovation in the EU has come to a fruitful conclusion. In four intensive workshops during 2010, the 20 experts worked together to deliver an inspiring case that would illustrate how service innovation could help Europe to get back on track and deliver smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The Expert Panel was established by DG Enterprise and Industry with a clear mandate to tie its work directly to the Europe 2020 Strategy. It was also expected to address how service innovation could provide solutions to wider societal challenges such as sustainable growth, the ageing population and the pressure on welfare services.

Its report entitled ‘Meeting the Challenge of Europe 2020: the transformative power of service innovation’ has just been presented to Vice-President, Antonio Tajani. In addition, to illustrate their findings, the experts have produced a collection of more than 20 encouraging examples of innovative businesses in Europe in areas such as tourism, transport, energy, health services, business support and banking.

Mr Allan Mayo, Chairman of the Expert Panel and Vice President Tajani

In the report, the Expert Panel made a total of 13 individual recommendations aimed at strengthening the policy framework in the following five main areas:

1. Raising awareness of the transformative potential of service innovation and its contribution to EU competitiveness;

Key Recommendation: that the European Commission establishes a European Service Innovation Centre (ESIC) to strengthen the links between policy-makers, business and academia and to help raise awareness of new developments and emerging opportunities related to service innovation.

2. Strengthening political leadership at the European, national and regional levels;

Key Recommendation: that Member States review their strategies towards the use of Structural Funds and, in particular, develop measurable outcomes in relation to supporting innovative services.

3. Building new competitive business from service innovation and improving the agility of policy making to do so;

Key Recommendation: that the European Commission adopt established mechanisms for encouraging the development of new innovative services. The European Creative Industries Alliance may provide such a model.

4. Developing dedicated programmes in support of innovative services or opening up existing programmes that are biased towards technological innovation;

Key Recommendation: that the European Commission develop a Service Gazelles programme to support high impact gazelles in the EU.

5. Promoting the application of service innovation to meet societal challenges;

Key Recommendation: that urgent consideration be given by the European institutions to the selection criteria and governance of Innovation Partnerships (demonstrators) with a view to adopting this policy tool as a key driver of innovation and industrial policy in the EU.

By Emilie Normann

More information about the Expert Panel at: