Unleashing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Europe: CEPS Task Force

Technological innovation and digital entrepreneurship may be the key to boosting Europe’s productivity and competitiveness, but on their own they are not enough to deliver growth and jobs, or to propel Europe ahead in the global economy. Formulating a strategic European industrial policy is essential to any innovation policy intervention.

The third meeting of the CEPS Task Force “Unleashing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Europe: People, Places and Policies” was held at CEPS on November 18th. Koenraad Debackere (KU Leven) opened the meeting with a plea to shift from the traditional triple ‘helix’ relationship between state, academia and industry, to a quadruple helix that embeds civil society into the innovation process. Debackere identified the Smart-Specialisation-Strategy as the right tool to coordinate the EU‘s industrial and innovation policies.

The debate then turned to specific instruments that can enhance the flow of knowledge and fund innovation in the single market; namely the role of patents and IPR in innovation ecosystems; fostering entrepreneurship in Europe; the crowd-funding phenomenon and the obstacles experienced by crowd-funding platforms in the EU. The Task Force also considered the digitalisation of industry, or Industrie 4.0 – the public-private platform that has become known as the fourth industrial revolution. Daniel Buhr (University of Tubingen) provided an overview of the social innovation aspects of Industrie 4.0, and Patrice Chazerand of DIGITALEUROPE argued that Industrie 4.0 should go beyond German borders and be scaled up at the European level. Paul Leonard (ERF and BASF Group) closed the meeting with a speech on the ‘innovation principle’, i.e. the need to take into account the impact of any EU policy and legislative intervention on the innovation process. The next meeting will further explore the role of public policies, more specifically “The Role of the State as Entrepreneur: From facilitator to innovator”.