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Europe is a global leader in foresight, science, technology and innovation

November 28, 2018 Leave a comment
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Expert Panel on FUTURE PAST: QUO VADIS INNOVATION – POLICY?
(European Parliament, 28 November 2018)
From left: Frans van der Zee (TNO and JIIP), Rafael Popper (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland), Robbert Fisher (JIIP), Nicholas Vonortas (George Washington University), Wolfgang Polt (Joaneum Research), Jos Leijten (JIIP), Dirk Pilat (OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation) and Hielke Hijmans (EU law consultant).

JIIP Symposium on Future Past: Quo Vadis Innovation – Policy?

Research and Innovation are driving forces for growth, jobs and well-being. Over the past 10 years research and innovation policy in Europe faced a period of deep financial and economic crisis, slow recovery, the rise of populist anti-globalism and widening disparities between the Member States. In this period Europe’s research and innovation policies, partly because of the crisis, managed to address a number of pressing issues, some successfully and others rather inconsequentially.

10th_eis_website_new-1One of the more recent big issues has been the policy toward open science, open innovation and open to the world. Progress can only be reported with regard to open science. Open innovation and open to the world remained rather empty, not in the least because globalisation and international collaboration are under pressure (e.g. mixed feelings and strategies about collaboration with China, failed trade agreements, Trumpism).

 

In the understanding that excellent research does not automatically lead to wide spread innovation which is also due to the increasing complexity of the innovation processes and systems and to cultural and regulatory issues, new policies and policy instruments are needed.

In the current EU framework programme for reach and innovation (Horizon 2020) and the running up to Horizon Europe we see new approaches taking shape:

  • from programs, to challenges, to missions
  • more room for bottom-up initiatives and for multi-stakeholder initiatives such as PPP’s
  • a slow shift from grants to investment
  • more risk-capital, more start-ups/scale-ups and entrepreneurship
  • from clusters to ecosystems to smart specialisation strategies

These developments give direction to the R&I policies that aim to keep the EU innovative and competitive. But the past 10 years also revealed a number of high complexity policy challenges, mostly relating to the socio-economic framework of the EU:

  • Excellence vs cohesion in view of the widening gap between Member States,
  • The dominance of the platform economy by non-EU companies
  • How flexible should labour and labour markets be?
  • Can the example of GDPR (or some would say, a standard for the rest of the world) inspire further development of an EU driven regulatory environment for innovations?

The JIIP symposium at the 10th European Innovation Summit reviewed the past developments, looked at the current situation and discussed the challenges to be faced in the next 10 years. It provided an open space to share VTT‘s expertise in the use of foresight and horizon scanning to both co-create research and innovation intelligence and co-create action roadmaps to better address a wide range of growth opportunities for industry and society related to VTT_Lighthouses.

EU Top 50 Founders and Tech Festival

The Summit created the opportunity to engage with Europe’s Future Innovation Leaders at the EUTOP50 Founders and Tech Festival in the heart of Europe.

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One of the #EUtop50 winners was Susana Núria Guerrero López from ALDstone who represented a promising UK-based start-up providing ground-breaking circular solutions for the built environment (click here to watch video about ALDstone solutions).

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With Susana Núria Guerrero López (ALDstone) winner at the EUtop50 Festival

A week promoting EU research and innovation impact and foresight

In addition to the Innovation Summit and the EUTOP50 festival, two other major events helped to further position foresight research and innovation into European debates:

  • The European Parliament conference on Impact of EU research and innovation on your daily life, which brought together researchers and politicians to reflect on past and present achievements. There were panels on: Health and wellbeing, Sustainable environment, Putting innovation on the market and Safe and secure society for all.
  • The ESPAS 2018 Conference on Global Trends to 2030: Shaping the Future in a Fast-Changing World, focused on generating fresh insights for the next edition of the ESPAS Global Trends to 2030 Report, which was first published in 2015 under the title: Global Trends to 2030: Can the EU Meet the Challenges Ahead?

 

Of equal importance, and despite the busy agendas, the various events allowed participants to expand their networks and spend quality time with new and “old” friends!

 

 

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VTTers Co-create Action Roadmaps for Industrial Renewal

November 23, 2018 1 comment
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VTT Industrial Renewal Lighthouse in-a-nutshell

VTT supports the co-creation of Action Roadmaps for Industrial Renewal

On November 23rd VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland organised an expert workshop to go beyond VTT Lighthouse opportunity pathways and reach a deeper understanding on strategic research pathways and future opportunities for VTT’s Industrial Renewal research and innovation agenda.

 

VTT_Lighthouses address global challenges and highlight opportunities for sustainable growth and development. The VTT ‘Industrial Renewal‘ Lighthouse focuses on the following three opportunity areas where innovations are expected to empower industry:

  • Design for the future: This opportunity area explores how customers and end-users are increasingly interested in personalised solutions adaptable to their changing needs. Sustainable high-value products and services empowered by customers will be the trump cards for future success. Intelligent design systems will help companies optimise products and systems holistically, taking into account such factors as user experience, performance, energy efficiency, environmental impact, maintenance and service, and material usage over the whole life cycle. Companies are looking for advanced digital solutions that enable them to build competitive edge, increase revenue growth and customer loyalty. Companies that lead in user-experience outperform the competition clearly in revenue growth and customer loyalty. Digital solutions enforce the power of the customer by enabling transparency, new ways of interaction and performance optimisation over the whole system life-cycle.

  • Rebirth of production: Advances in automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing are revolutionising production. Mass production becomes nearly independent of labour costs, while small batches and individual customisation become cost-efficient. Decentralised production may become a preferable option for producing highly-customised products near customers.Companies across the globe are looking for ways to holistically optimise supply networks for lower losses, more efficient energy and resource use. But the complexity of real-time optimisation requires cognitive and autonomous solutions with superb quality assurance. Developing competitive manufacturing requires business and ecosystem understanding backed up by deep process, material and manufacturing expertise as well as knowledge of digital technologies.

  • Disruptive businesses: Global flows of data and information have a higher impact on GDP growth than the trade in goods. There are a number of ways to use the value of data to build business, such as data management, analysis and delivery. Meanwhile services are the core of outcome-economy based business, where suppliers contribute directly to operational efficiency and core value-creation processes. Building successful business innovations based on data and services calls for a visionary approach to disruptions and future markets. This requires companies to combine deep domain expertise with a thorough understanding of related digital technologies.

The workshop supported the VTT Lighthouse strategy by engaging VTTers from relevant teams and substance nodes in 1) reviewing the above-mentioned Industrial Renewal opportunity pathways and 2) co-creating joint Action Roadmaps (see pictures from  workshop results).

 

Around 40 VTT scientists and managers had the opportunity to influence future research directions and expand their connections to people with common research interests. All in all, the workshop helped to steer VTT strategy work and formulate concrete Action Roadmaps for a sustainable Industrial Renewal innovation ecosystem in Finland, Europe and beyond.

Highlights from Skills for the Future: Managing Transition (Turin, Italy)

November 22, 2018 Leave a comment

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More than 350 people from 50 countries in Europe and beyond – entrepreneurs, training providers, policy makers, innovators – gathered in Turin, Italy to discuss the skills needed to prepare people for the job market in a rapidly changing world, with a new perspective: the one of transition and developing countries.

Read ETF Press Release

In the context of the 2018 UnConference (Nov 20) and Conference (Nov 21-22) on ‘Skills for the Future: Managing transition’ organised by the European Training Foundation (ETF), the EU Agency in charge of developing training and education in the EU neighbouring countries, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd and Sapar Oy prepared a Working Paper on The Future of Work and Skills that helped to frame some of the messages in the speeches of ETF Director (Cesare Onestini) as well as ETF Head of Operations (Anastasia Fetsi).

The objective of the VTT-Sapar-ETF Working Paper was to analyse the impact of global developments on skills demand in the ETF Partner Countries (PCs) and discuss implications for policy reforms to manage transition of education, vocational education training and life-long learning system of the future. The Paper was related to the provision of international and national expertise to support the ETF by:

  • collecting and analysing information, data and new ideas on the skills demands of the future in ETF Partner Countries, and
  • exploring responses for better managing transformation towards an inclusive future for the benefit of people and societies.

The Working Paper covered the following issues:

  • Key global drivers of change on economies, work, labour markets and skills
  • Impacts of global trends on work and skills in ETF Partner Countries
    • Impacts of global trends on ETF Partner Countries
    • Insights for future development of skills and education systems
  • Type and degree of changes identified in the regions of ETF Partner Countries
  • Strategies and policies to manage work and skills transformation in the ETF PCs

During the ETF events participants focused their discussions around four main topics:

  • Mastering global trends
  • Tackling country-specific challenges
  • Addressing the future of skills, education and training
  • Supporting the transition toward the future

To do so, at the UnConference ad hoc groups were asked to co-create an agenda around 12 topics that were presented by topic leaders and subsequently visualised by a professional artist. Group 11 discussedGlobal Trends‘ and explored possible ways forward to prepare a public report on the topic, as well as potential opportunities to promote a pilot project to better assess and manage identified global trends (see below).

Global trends impacting the future of work and skills

As a result of the Group 11 discussions, VTT and ETF representatives highlighted the importance of working towards a joint publication that will help to promote a more structured policy debate on future prospects of the impacts of the following global trends in ETF Regions (Western Balkans, Eastern Partnership, Mediterranean and Central Asia):

  • Globalisation
  • Demographics changes and ageing
  • Migration, mobility and brain-drain
  • Digitalisation, artificial intelligence and automation
  • Climate change and diminishing natural resources
  • FDIs and offshoring threatened by automation
  • Youth and women unemployment
  • Growing inequality and political instability

Overall, the ETF events addressed challenging questions such as: How do global forces interact with local realities and how does this affect the demand for skills? How should governments, businesses, social partners, civil society, research institutions, communities and education and training providers work together to manage change? What skills policies work in different contexts?

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All in all, the ETF UnConference and Conference were inspiring events demonstrating that the moment is ripe to co-create a shared #vision capable of translating #future #opportunities into an action roadmap assessing and managing the skills for the future, and consequently managing transition towards a more resilient, innovation-friendly and future-proof ‘education ecosystem’ across EU Member States and ETF PCs.

UCC-VTT News Bulletin 1: Inspiring futures beyond the obvious – Towards a circular economy and bioeconomy

November 22, 2018 Leave a comment

 

This News Bulletin reports on ongoing research and innovation (R&I) cooperation initiatives between the Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia (UCC) and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, with the support of the Embassy of Colombia in Helsinki.

Inspiring futures beyond the obvious on:

  • The need for science and innovation diplomacy
  • Scientific cooperation ideas between Colombia and Finland
  • Multi-stakeholder and high-level meetings with VTT and UCC
  • Opportunities in the areas of circular economy and bioeconomy
  • The way forward and future actions by UCC and VTT

Pan de Bono Diplomacy (PBD) powers up scientific collaboration between Colombia and Finland

November 2, 2018 Leave a comment
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‘Pan de Bono Diplomacy’ in action with
Colombian Ambassador in Finland (H.E. Dr. Betty ESCORCIA BAQUERO) and 
Colombian Consul in Finland (Dr. Jose Camilo SANDOVAL ROJAS)

Longlasting strategic partnerships are built on trust and a common agenda. With this in mind VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and UCC Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia have been co-creating scientific research and innovation collaboration opportunities between Colombia and Finland.

On October 12th and November 2nd VTT successfully piloted a new and rather promising Pan de Bono Diplomacy (PBD) approach while hosting a series of high-level meetings in Finland with representatives from:

At some point during the discussions my lovely, caring and thoughtful Polish wife (Monika Popper) brought a special package – still warm from the oven! – full of homemade Colombian cheese bread (aka Pan de Bono), which is very difficult to find outside of Colombia (It was a big surprise indeed. A real wild card!).

Our original idea was to make the Ambassador and the Consul of Colombia feel at home in VTT-organised meetings but, due to its positive impact in the group dynamics, this innovative “approach” was soon baptised as Pan de Bono Diplomacy (PBD), as it proved to be an excellent trust-building and multi-stakeholder engagement tool 😉

The overall purpose of the PBD meetings is to jointly identify and scope future opportunities for collaborative research, technology development, innovation and education activities in areas such as bioeconomy (e.g. biorefining), circular economy (e.g. waste to energy), strategic foresight and intelligent leadership, among others.

The first two PBD meetings have resulted in over a dozen concrete ideas for future collaboration (including customer projects, shared benefit projects and collaborative projects, among others).

A third, and follow up PBD will take place on Wednesday November 7th at the Embassy of Colombia in Helsinki and will focus on the most advanced project ideas related to circular economy and bioeconomy. This meeting will try to mobilise representatives from Business Finland, SITRA and the Finnish Ministry of Environment in order to discuss about the most suitable instruments to help us transform ideas and opportunities into winning project proposals and action roadmaps. More updates on the outcomes of PBD meetings will be shared in future blog posts, so stay tuned if you would like to learn more…