The Lead Market Initiative (LMI) is the European innovation policy for 6 important sectors that are supported by actions to lower barriers to bring new products or services onto the market.
"The LMI represents an important shift in the innovation policy thinking in Europe; and addressed a major gap in innovation policy. Promising results in the action plans are evident. However, we must ensure that adequate follow-up and dissemination of the results is achieved amongst Member States, industry and other stakeholders for maximum impact."
The European Commission, Member States and industry have worked together to carry out the action plans for the 6 Lead Markets in the last 4 years.
The policy instruments deal with regulation, public procurement, standardisation and supporting activities. These “demand-side innovation policy instruments” are public measures to increase the demand for innovations and to improve the conditions for the uptake of innovations. Using these tools, the LMI targeted the following markets: eHealth, protective textiles, sustainable construction, recycling, bio-based products and renewable energies.
The official presentation to the Member States of the final evaluation of this initiative took place on the 6 July. The evaluation report states that: "The overall judgement on the Lead Market Initiative (LMI) is that it has promoted the development of an important new element in innovation policy, provided indications of how co-ordinated demand-side initiatives might operate more extensively at a European level, and delivered developments that are of some importance for at least four of the six markets (bio-based products, eHealth, protective textiles, sustainable construction)."
European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Enterprise and Industrial policy, said: "The LMI represents an important shift in the innovation policy thinking in Europe; and addressed a major gap in innovation policy. Promising results in the action plans are evident. However, we must ensure that adequate follow-up and dissemination of the results is achieved amongst Member States, industry and other stakeholders for maximum impact."
Examples of actions accomplished through the LMI:
Bio based products
The report furthermore concludes that:
Innovation policy at a European level and in Member States has been undergoing a rapid development, especially since the launch of Europe 2020 and the associated Flagship Initiative ‘Innovation Union’.
At the same time, the Industry Policy Flagship prioritised a number of sectors for which the LMI-type approach could be used in the future, as well as continued; construction, textiles, chemical industry, bio-based products, KETs and resource efficiency.
The Lead Market Initiative (LMI) for Europe was launched by the European Commission following the EU's 2006 Broad based innovation strategy. The scope of the LMI, the selection of the six markets and the action plans were approved in the Competitiveness Council of May 2008. When the Lead Market Initiative (LMI) was launched in 2008, demand-side innovation policy was still embryonic in Europe.
The LMI final evaluation report has provided indications of how co-ordinated demand–side initiatives might operate more extensively at a European level. The distinctive approach developed ought to find a place in whatever framework the work continues, though hopefully also in a strengthened co-ordination with supply-side policies.