The outlines of the next industrial economy are becoming much clearer - shaped by globalisation, disruptive technologies, emerging business models and growing sustainability concerns. There is an overarching need for transformative innovation if Europe’s significant industrial assets are to realise their new competitive potential in this new economy - whether through technology, resource-efficiency or high skills – or by focusing on how clusters can connect disparate value chains across finance and end–markets.
For Europe to reap the benefits of this transformation, its policymakers as well as its business leaders and entrepreneurs need to better understand how innovations really materialise, and what could be done by both the public and private sectors to enable rapid commercialisation. While innovations often occur within the boundaries of a single company, they are also often driven and nurtured by an ecosystem of actors working together. They are also not limited to just technological change, but can take the shape of innovative business models, processes, products, and policy.
In both innovation and industrial policy, new thinking actively explores the full set of stakeholder relationships involved as the focus of its work. In the domain of innovation policy, this is expressed most frequently through terms such as actor networks and, in particular, ecosystems. In the domain of industrial policy it is expressed through terms such as value chains and clusters. For this study, we use the term ecosystem as the one that best captures this overall picture and its focus.
This reframing toward a so-called “meso-level” ecosystem focus has profound implications both for policy design and for business strategy. Policymakers need new capabilities and instruments, which are relevant to such ecosystems. Business strategists need a new framework, which is not exclusively centred on their own rm but situates them within a wider network of competitors, suppliers and customers. Linked to this is also a recognition that the boundaries between the private and public sectors have become more permeable, and that many of these networks will be hybrid in nature, with a variety of sources of knowledge or nance that cross the divide.
Using a case study approach of industrial innovations across Europe, this study has sought to identify what are some key factors of success for these ecosystems. It analyses ten case studies in-depth across diverse sectors, which include innovative technologies, business models, processes, and products (see full list below). The conclusions we have drawn are based primarily on these specific case studies and so their wider applicability remains a task for further research.
Four broad key learnings stand out from this selected sample, highlighting interesting lessons and forming the basis for potential further enquiry when studying successful ecosystems. The key learnings are that:
In light of the European Commission launch of a guidance package for public procurers, and the conference “Joining Forces in Public Procurement to Power Investment” i24c and International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) publish recommendations for the European Commission and member state authorities on how to better leverage the power of the public purse to drive demand of low-carbon innovation in sustainable infrastructure.
Bruegel and i24c publish an interactive version of the report, “An approach to identify sources of low-carbon growth for Europe,” written by Georg Zachmann, Senior Fellow at Bruegel. It suggests that given the global decarbonisation concerns, the wide array of low-carbon technologies currently becoming available, offer a significant new growth potential for Europe.
With the pending Winter Package, including an Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation strategy, the European Commission has a chance to show that the EU has reached a crossroads, write Oliver Rapf and Julia Reinaud. The Commission can now choose between continuing on the bumpy road of fragmented and shallow renovations or getting on the ‘renovation autobahn’, where rapid and deep renovation unleashes the real potential of the construction sector.
Today the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) published its report “Nerves of steel” that analyses the performance of steel companies around the world in relation to this transformation and innovation challenge, highlighting company performance across a range of emissions and water-related metrics, which in aggregate could have a material impact on company performance.
The director of the i24c initiative, Martin Porter, was requested by the European Commission to moderate the high level stakeholder event on the public consultation on the Energy Union Research, Innovation and Competitiveness Strategy (EURICS) this month. The stakeholder event was convened by the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas.
Dr Julia Reinaud, Director for Research and Partnerships at i24c, took part in a panel discussion on June 20 titled “Innovation: the Way to a Low Carbon Economy?”. The event, organised by Politico.eu brought together policy-makers, energy executives and thought leaders to discuss how the EU can promote the uptake of low-carbon technologies and solutions in order to both meet its climate objectives and industrial objectives.
As the European Commission elaborates its Energy Union strategy, and as national and local governments plan their contribution to the union’s aims of energy security, decarbonisation and cost-efficiency, they need to create an environment that nurtures innovation in policy, technology and business models, write Pascal Lamy and Philip Lowe.
Martin Porter outlines how industrial innovation aimed at solving some of the world’s most pressing issues, including climate change, is already happening in Europe but needs to be scaled up and accelerated. He then presents principles for an ambitious European industrial strategy designed to support these innovations.
The COP21 Paris Agreement sends a clear signal that the transition to a decarbonised global economy is inevitable and now accelerating across the globe. If the EU wants to ensure it competes successfully in the new global economy, it urgently needs to comit to an ambitious European industrial innovation strategy.
In collaboration with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), i24c launches its report titled “Low-carbon innovation for sustainable infrastructure – The role of public procurement” which looks at how to leverage the power of the public purse to maximise low-carbon innovation for sustainable infrastructure.
Since its inception, i24c has been investigating and considering what an industrial strategy for Europe would have to contain – and have been calling for the development of such a strategy. It is within this context that we publish this working paper, “A mapping of EU Industrial and Innovation policy”, assesses the developments in EU industrial and innovation policy since the beginning of the 21st century, up until today. The working paper concludes that in the last decade EU industrial policy has been relatively consistent, but that there are further options for greater ambition, and streamlining of policy initiatives and possibilities of synergies between EU and member state initiatives to fully enable the industrial transition towards a net-zero economy in 2050.
I24c publishes in collaboration with the consultancy Element Energy a report on how to finance an industrial carbon capture and storage (ICCS) cluster through exciting EU finance mechanisms. While there are EU funds available that could support industrial CCS projects, the report concludes that in the short-term Member State support and contribution will be vital to operationalise the first industrial CCS cluster in Europe.
A major transition is anticipated in the transport sector over the coming decade. To that regard, i24c publishes a memo on how to won the low carbon race through accelerating innovation and integration in the mobility value chain.
Together with the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE), i24c publishes a memo on how to achieve healthy, comfortable and sustainable buildings for all. It emphasizes that ramping up deep energy renovation can boost the economy (competitiveness and jobs), improve living conditions (better and smarter homes) and mitigate climate change.
The European construction industry is confronted by an economy that is undergoing a highly significant change. This report questions how to ensure that these changes can be treated as an opportunity for economic success and global leadership as much as an environmental challenge in the construction sector.
Europe’s transport industry and its related services are an essential part of Europe’s economy. Currently, the transport sector is challenged by rapidly changing framework conditions and consumer demands. Therefore, the report emphasises the necessity for European automotive companies to innovate to remain competitive and to meet increasingly stringent environmental constraints.
Given global decarbonisation concerns, the wide array of low-carbon technologies offers significant growth potential. The report assesses the potential of countries to excel in these emerging sectors and identifies whether countries are particularly specialised in innovating in specific low-carbon sectors.