Manifesto for Innovation in Europe

The innovation strategies of the European Union during the past 20 years have undoubtedly created growth and societal transformation. While acknowledging progress, it is also widely admitted that the innovation produced by Europe today is far from reaching its potential -even in sheer economical terms. We now have the opportunity to address this issue as part of a broader, mid-term vision and assert the position of Europe as an innovation leader in the global scene.

This vision is the consolidation of a European Union in which citizens are not only beneficiaries of growth, but are also co-creators and co-owners of the resulting societal changes, actors shaping the progress towards a Europe of citizens.

Combined with scientific excellence provided by leading universities and with the competitive edge of corporations and SMEs, and by placing equal emphasis on the technological and social components of innovation we share our belief that this approach for a large-scale open innovation ecosystem has the full scope for developing into a genuinely pan-European vision. Europe as The Lab: this is the European way.

We face a unique opportunity for developing this vision in the years to come. The Digital Transformation will radically lower the social entry cost for accessing and generating knowledge, creating a real opportunity for the personal and collective development of people. At the same time, new areas of expertise and jobs will emerge and disappear, the interdisciplinary boundaries will blur, stakeholders borders will fade, and this will ultimately trigger profound transformations in the ways that citizens live their lives. This will take place at a pace never previously experienced and, in this context, an agile response from the European public institutions, legal and informal entities is indispensable.

For these reasons, we need to broaden the definition of innovation beyond the current, predominantly science and corporate approach: placing the citizen in the centre of innovation is a real game-changer and an opportunity for innovation-led economic growth and social progress. On our path to strengthening our society, this is an efficient means for not leaving anyone behind.

A large number of existing initiatives already offer evidence for the transformative power of this approach. During the last years Living Labs, Fab Labs, Citizen Science Platforms, Technology Capacitation Centres, Digital Social Innovation agents, and many others have played the role of connectors and enablers in their interaction with universities, research centres, public administration and companies. Their interaction has created new high impact innovation -products, services and also novel governance models- paving the way towards the Europe of citizens as a genuine and intrinsically European innovation space.

This emerging reality can help Europe to transform this vision into a mission by structuring The Lab as a pan-European network of open innovation ecosystems, the Collaboratory, connecting labs in cities and regions with the leading actors of innovation, working on the basis of an open science and open innovation approach.

This societal transformation is systemic. It is materializing in The Lab, it is running on Collaboratory principles, and it opens Europe to the world with this message: all citizens in the world, organizations and networks are invited to be co-creators of the global societal transformations to come.


On our journey to achieve this vision, we propose a set of directions to start from:

Enabling Societal Engagement so that we tap into new innovation potential

  • Supporting formal and nonformal education fostering creativity.
  • Boosting grassroots recognition, ownership, stewardship and sustainable commitment towards innovation.
  • Endorsing venues and spaces – physical and virtual – where innovation is produced.

Cultivating Open Innovation and Open Science so that we inspire innovation

  • Recognizing the benefits of intellectual cross-pollination integrating science and innovation based on needs and opportunities for sustainable social, economic, cultural and ecological development.
  • Recognizing true intellectual cross-pollination, i.e. convergence of science and practice.
  • Opening up public and private production networks, meta-networks and processes for research and innovation co-creation.
  • Acknowledging new emerging roles and job profiles (facilitators, mediators, interpreters, orchestrators, brokers, etc.) emerging in multi-stakeholder and interdisciplinary Open Innovation and Open Science processes.
  • Innovating intellectual property rights systems, recognizing the rights of all stakeholders involved in the creation process.
  • Developing a scalable framework of open research, innovation and production methodologies (incl. protocols for transnational innovation co-creation, experimentation and validation).
  • Further developing and implementing the fair data policies and open data standards for open data collection.

Bringing together innovation and excellent research so that we expand and intensify complementary research and innovation

  • Endorsing universities and individual researchers to co-create and share knowledge.
  • Facilitating changes in the incentive systems, educational orientation and university governance.
  • Leveraging private funding for open innovation.
  • Building on mutual collaboration schemes between multiple stakeholders further developing the Responsible Research and Innovation approaches.
  • Using innovative and agile public/private procurements and pre-commercial procurement, and agile pilots as a catalyst for faster take-up of innovation.
  • Building open labs as new structures for promoting open innovation and open science ecosystems, opening up every phase from ideation, concept creation, prototyping, experimentation, validation, demonstration, pre-launch, launch to post-launch development, etc., for multi-stakeholder collaboration.

Fostering Policy development so that we achieve agile and inclusive policy response frameworks

  • Promoting use of results from the participatory research development and innovation community for better decisions.
  • Creating research policies on the development of disruptive approaches.
  • Developing the connections between existing local, regional and transnational innovation ecosystems in Europe for promoting networked, inclusive policymaking.

Furthering Results so that we assert Europe’s unique position in the global scene

  • Rethinking impact assessment.
  • Creating crosscutting co-creation and transfer mechanisms.
  • Stimulating innovation leading to sustainable societal, economic, cultural and ecological transformation worldwide.
  • Creating incentives for leveraging the col-laboratory innovation model on the global socio-economic stage by developing a joint mission approach for tackling global challenges.

You can download the Manifesto document here.