clarified in the report: Opportunity Now: Europe’s Mission to Innovate, conducted by Robert Madelin and commissioned by the European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC), the European Commission’s in-house think tank.
Europe has always been a world-leading inventor. We retain the core skills and deep science culture that have made this possible. In this century too, Europe can contribute a great share of the world’s new tools: in genomics and biotech, in data and materials, in energy and nutrition, in propulsion and cognition, in health and well-being, both physical and mental.
Will Europe continue its innovation mission? This is not a theoretical or empirical question but one of intent and principle. Do we choose politically to be innovators?
If Europe dropped its mission to innovate, the blame would lie not with the world but with ourselves. But if we choose to hold to the innovator’s path, we can succeed: and in doing so, we shall innovate our way to social inclusion and sustainability as well as to productivity, growth and jobs.
This note’s purpose is to clarify what is at stake and make the case for a renewed commitment to innovative Europe.
Innovation happens in complex ecosystems. Too often, we imagine innovation in a linear way, as a pipe-line with inputs and outputs. But where we focus only on the pipeline, we miss the real needs of Europe’s more diverse and demand-driven innovators. We need more open collaboration, both globally and between citizens, governments and inventors at home.
Everyone Must Own their Share in the Revolution
The world faces pervasive disruption. Europe can own, not merely experience, this Revolution. Europe can catch the wave because we are a mature community of values and an open society. Europe has what it takes to design and deliver an innovation-founded better future of our own: social inclusion and sustainability, as well as growth and jobs, are at stake.
Focus on People, Places and Processes
Europe needs better assets as well as a broader vision. We have to get back to basics.
The three key foundation actions for innovation are: upskilling Europe’s people, using local strengths to underpin local innovation, and transforming public processes. The Commission can and must become a beacon for embedded innovation, and Europe’s public sector must change faster. EU 1.0 cannot deliver Europe 2.0.
Seize the Opportunity
Now is the time for a fresh start. Feasible initiatives in the year ahead, joined up at local, national and EU level and pursued at scale, will bear fruit by the end of the decade.