Open Innovation and Public Policy in Europe

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. Read more in the report from ESADE Business School in Barcelona and the Science|Business Innovation Board AISBL.

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.

The authors would like to thank Esther Van Zimmeren of the Centre for Intellectual 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. Property Rights (CIR) of the Catholic University of Leuven for her explanation of various aspects of the European patenting system and the role of patent pools and IP clearing houses.

This report was commissioned by ESADE Business School in Barcelona and the Science|Business Innovation Board AISBL. The Board is a Belgian not-for-profit scientific association that commissions original policy research, engages with policymakers and the press, and works generally to improve the climate for innovation in Europe. Its three co-founders are Science|Business, ESADE and INSEAD, with participation and support from Microsoft, BP, SKF and Imperial College London. In addition, Pfizer contributed support for this particular study. Further information is at www.sciencebusiness.net. The Board is grateful to Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, for her encouragement and comments on this research.

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