Developing an innovation ecosystem

The societal challenges we are facing today require governments to be innovative. This calls for structural collaboration between public authorities, research institutions, companies, and other civil-society stakeholders. TNO Vector plays a role in shaping such an innovation ecosystem.

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Collaboration at all levels

An innovation ecosystem can be developed at international, national, regional, and local levels:

  • At local level we set up innovation workshops in cities, to help make a district energy-positive, for example.
  • At regional level we are working on Smart Industry Field Labs, as well as regional innovation networks such as SMITZH, EDIH South Holland, and GCNE.
  • Nationally, we help develop innovation partnerships on a cross-regional basis. One example is the Dutch AI Coalition.
  • At European level we play an important role as architect and ‘orchestrator’ of a European innovation ecosystem. This includes various projects funded by the European Commission, such as BOWI and ATELIER.

We also help EU regions forge structural interregional alliances: from the Basque Country to North Brabant and from Transylvania to Poznań. In addition, we advise the European Commission on policy development in this area, for example in relation to EDIHs (European Digital Innovation Hubs) and Interregional Innovation Corridors.

Bringing together knowledge partners, governments, and markets

Through training, coaching, assessments, and orchestration, we bring public and private parties together within an innovation ecosystem: on the one hand, universities, universities of applied sciences, and knowledge institutions, and, on the other, the market. A third category is made up of governments at every level. We perform this role in relation to all kinds of innovation issues. The themes we are working on include:

  • Digital transformation in the manufacturing industry
  • Renewable energy
  • Smart Cities

Our vision of an innovation ecosystem

It is important to adopt a systematic, action-oriented approach, based on an analysis of the innovation ecosystem. With the help of this analysis we then establish networks, followed by the development of value chains, after which we scale up to full implementation.

We not only offer orchestrators who set up networks, but also experts and trainers who analyse the innovation ecosystem. This involves using a wide range of tools, templates, and methods, all of which have a scientific basis, but which are tested and used in practice.

Orchestrating Innovation

Developing an innovation ecosystem requires expertise. Without expertise there is no direction. We refer to this as ‘Orchestrating Innovation’. As part of this process we continue to develop our methods and tools systematically. Our main goal is to adopt an efficient and effective action-oriented approach to every innovation, achieving more impact with less effort.

At TNO Vector we have direct access to an extensive pool of experts. Our systematic approach ensures the status and next steps are clear at every stage of an innovation or transition.

Complex innovations, step by step

The most important condition for developing a successful innovation ecosystem is feasibility. We make complex innovations manageable by setting common goals that are feasible in practice – actions that stakeholders are willing to take together. Here we adopt a step-by-step approach and look for common ground at every stage. That is how we bring the interests of all stakeholders together.