Innovation for Growth

Stefan Schepers

Stefan Schepers is secretary general of the High Level Group on Innovation Policy Management.

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Stefan Schepers explains how the High Level Group on Innovation Policy Management is designing a new approach for European innovation.

The High Level Group on Innovation Policy Management (HLG), a unique public-private partnership, comprising top-level representatives from European Union Member States, the European Commission, the European Council, business and academia, was launched in December 2011.

The aim was create out-of the-box thinking and concrete proposals on how to enhance existing initiatives, develop and manage a more comprehensive innovation policy in the EU, and to boost sustainable growth and competitiveness.

The group was deliberately structured as independent from the EU Commission or Member States. It has a tripartite composition: senior officials from the Commission and eight EU governments; 10 corporations from different industry sectors; and several academics plus a representative of the European Council President.

All operate without mandate, under Chatham House rules, to ensure a truly open and creative approach. It has not focused on innovation in a particular area, such as, for example, the pharmaceutical or automotive sectors, as some other groups but on the framework conditions themselves that would stimulate innovation in the EU.

HighLevel_innovationInnovation policy is a key component in re-launching economic growth, creating employment and improving the competitiveness of European companies in global markets.

HLG came up with a set of concrete recommendations of what to do and how to bring it about, based on their own comparative analysis and study of private companies and public institutions in selective countries, predominantly those that head the innovation and competitiveness rankings.

Many elements of an innovation policy are already present in the EU but there is a need to develop a real innovation “ecosystem”: a set of ideas, institutions, instruments, policies and regulations.

The EU of 28 loses much effectiveness because of its lack of efficient mechanisms to align diverse views and objectives and because of multiple fault lines, both inside EU institutions and between them and Member States and between industry and academia, to name but a few stakeholders.

The Lisbon Treaty was supposed to remedy this but it clearly has not delivered the desired outcome. As the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2013, published by the Commission, also indicates, only an holistic and ecosystem oriented approach to all the aspects of innovation can achieve the main goal of innovation-policy management, the “European Common Good” or the best living and working conditions for European citizens.

For the full article, you can view the PDF or listen to the podcast.

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