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Introducing the Large Scale Demonstrator Approach Gepubliceerd op: 26/06/2013, Laatste bijwerking: 04/07/2013

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The European Service Information Centre (ESIC) was also launched at the workshop on ‘How to capitalise on the transformative power of service innovation for structural change’ held in Belfast, 4-6 February, 2013.

A workshop on ‘How to capitalise on the transformative power of service innovation for structural change’ brought together 82 people from 17 different EU regions, from various consultancy companies and from DG Enterprise and Industry.  It provided the setting for the European Commission to explain the Large Scale Demonstrator (LSD) Approach and how the regions would be supported in their common search for new solutions to specific problems or to societal challenges.

“We don’t want to tell regions what they should do. This is not the right way to engage local stakeholders in policy learning and policy implementation,” said Reinhard Büscher who is the previous Head of the ‘Clusters and Support for SMEs’ Unit at DG Enterprise and Industry. He added that “we are happy to work with any region that is ready to involve other regions’ partners, clusters and policy-makers in a process of stimulating radical innovation across sectors, regions and countries. Because this is what we need most in Europe today.”

As the workshop progressed, other presenters helped to outline the vision of this new LSD regional approach that will initially involve the Canary Islands, Emilia-Romagna, Luxembourg, Northern Ireland and Upper Austria.

It became apparent that if systems were going to change, and if people’s behaviour was going to change, then systemic change was needed. These LSDs will be issue-focused and enable the regions to test what works and what doesn’t under real-life conditions. They will also promote the confidence which is necessary to test new methods and approaches. Rather than giving people “what is good for them,” the regions that have been selected will now have the chance to engage their companies and citizens in a joint exploration of solutions to particular problems and issues. Also, linking the LSDs together will mean that they will learn from each other - from their failures as well as their successes.     

Picture 1.The implementation of Large Scale Demonstrators promoted some animated discussion

The LSDs need to be open to change, to unanticipated developments and to following the way in which the real world works and this will require a considerable political commitment. LSDs should enable local people and companies to play their part in finding realistic solutions to the real problems with which they are confronted. LSDs need to have a clear vision, be ambitious and be willing to learn from others. Such activities and attitudes are expected to help these regions to function more effectively in the global economy.

At the workshop, the European Service Information Centre (ESIC) was also launched. ESIC will capture, measure and assess how service innovation is transforming regional economies. It will also help the regions to test, update and improve their policies. In addition, it will also provide, a newsletter, a conference and workshops designed to enable the LSDs and other interested regions to benefit from each other’s experiences.


THE WORKSHOP IN DETAIL: How to capitalise on the transformative power of service innovation for structural change?

On the evening of 4 February, workshop participants were invited to a reception hosted by Arlene Foster, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland. She explained that the aim of the Northern Ireland Government was “to help companies to accelerate innovation, giving them access to resources – financial, technical or knowledge based – to quickly bring new ideas to market or to implement new ways of working.”

Picture 2. Arlene Foster, Minister for Enterprise Trade and Investment welcomed Reinhard Büscher to Northern Ireland


The Minister’s view was echoed by Alastair Hamilton, the CEO of Invest Northern Ireland, in his opening address to the workshop. He was particularly pleased that Northern Ireland was to be involved in promoting this new Large Scale Demonstrator (LSD) Approach as it should help to achieve the objective of helping companies to accelerate innovation. However, he stressed that vision, foresight and dedication would be required to attain the objectives of this commitment.

In his response, Reinhard Büscher,  the previous Head of the ‘Clusters and Support for SMEs’ Unit at DG Enterprise and Industry, emphasised the importance of opening up the processes of policy learning to a wide range of stakeholders and other interests. This view was echoed by Allan Mayo, Chairperson of the Expert Panel on Service Innovation in the EU, who felt that the LSDs had a unique opportunity to work with many different agencies and also local companies and citizens in seeking solutions to the issues that are affecting these regions.

The Commission is already supporting three large-scale demonstrators, which are cross-regional and operate in the framework of the European Mobile and Mobility Industries Alliance. CULTWayS, Grow Mobile and LIMES are using mobile technology and services to support sustainable tourism in rural areas and they summarised their experiences so far for the workshop participants. They were in general agreement that the main barrier they had faced was getting companies and organisations in the tourism industry to cooperate and communicate. So, they had had to invest much effort to build up trust, share information and provide opportunities for companies to work together in "collaborative competition".

Erkko Autio, from Imperial College London, and also representing the UK Enterprise Research Centre, explained how it had been possible to use existing data to carry out a stress test on Northern Ireland’s entrepreneurship performance. However, he reinforced the need for local input if the results of such a test were to be translated into policy options. He also indicated that by the end of 2013, data would be available to carry out similar entrepreneurship tests on all EU regions and that this would be a good tool for regions to identity the peers from whom they could learn.

In terms of obtaining some local input, the roundtable discussion on ‘The Northern Ireland approach to structural change’ raised a number of interesting points. These included how the existing lack of entrepreneurial aspiration or ambition in Northern Ireland might be tackled through education and role modelling, how companies that are actually being innovative might begin to recognise this reality so that a bank of success stories could be produced and how public procurement procedures might best be used to stimulate innovation.

Picture 3. The Workshop Moderator, Margaret E. Ward, reconciled some conflicting view points

Carsten Schierenbeck from the European Commission’s DG Enterprise and Industry then introduced the ‘Smart Guide to Service Innovation’ that offers examples of tools or instruments that can be used by regions to design and implement smart specialisation strategies and also innovation support services for SMEs. To find out more, or to download this informative and easily understandable guide, please click here.

Carsten ended his contribution by looking at the need to measure the systemic impact of service innovation on structural change. This was followed by an interesting discussion on ‘How to measure the role of services in value chains.’ The outcomes stressed the need to capture or model the dynamics of eco-systems and to map the relationships between the various actors and activities involved.

The next two contributions indicated how the work of the LSDs might be reinforced. Michal Miedzinski from the Technopolis Group spoke on the topic of ‘How to improve the productivity of value chains: a focus on eco-innovation.’ He explained the transformative potential of eco-innovation in terms of efficiency improvements and systemic alternatives that could be available to regions. Then, Laurent Probst, from PricewaterhouseCoopers in Luxembourg highlighted ‘The role of emerging industries in the European economy.’ He also promised that by the end of the year, PricewaterhouseCoopers would be able to identify the top 50 regional hotspots for each emerging industry and also the presence of related clusters in these regions.

Finally, Kimmo Halme from Rambøll Management Consulting outlined the methodology of the European Service Innovation Centre (ESIC) for analysing the impact of service innovation. The purpose of ESIC is to strengthen policy learning by capturing the dynamics and large scale impact of service innovation and by promoting awareness of the role and impact of service innovation. This will be done in a number of specific ways:

  • The impact and importance of service innovation will be analysed and presented in a European Service Innovation Scoreboard;
  • The analytical framework for service innovation policies will be tested in practice with six selected model demonstrator regions and ESIC will carry out a customised service innovation policy stress-test, to assess the appropriateness of the regions’ policy choices and to provide options for more effective policy interventions;
  • The experience of the model demonstrator regions will be systematically documented and disseminated. ESIC will organise a series of workshops and conferences and provide access to the lessons learnt through its website. The learning effects of ESIC will not simply be limited to the selected six model demonstrators as, in due course, it will open up its services to all interested regions.

The first day concluded with a roundtable involving five of the six regions that had been selected as Large Scale Demonstrators - the Canary Islands, Emilia-Romagna, Luxembourg, Northern Ireland and Upper Austria. They had the chance to share with the audience the analyses that they had undertaken so far, the potential barriers that they had identified and also their hopes and aspirations for the future.


In kicking off the agenda, Hugo Hollanders from UNU-MERIT outlined the dimensions of the Innovation Union Scoreboard that will be used to develop the methodology of the European Service Innovation Scoreboard, which will measure the service innovation eco-systems that exist, or are being generated, in each of the six regions. These dimensions are:




Human resources

Intellectual assets

Economic Effects

Research systems

Linkages and entrepreneurship


Finance and support

Firm investments


He pointed to two missing dimensions that might be included in future analyses, which were ‘the demand for innovation’ and ‘the innovation-friendly business environment.’

The supporting role of the European Service Innovation Centre was the topic addressed by Alasdair Reid, from the Technopolis Group. He explained that ESIC would respect the diversity of the LSD regions and focus on a policy mix that will offer the potential to introduce systemic change. The services that ESIC will provide are:

  • A self-assessment tool (SAT) organised as an online survey, through which regional policy-makers will provide their views on the robustness of the policies that are supporting service innovation in transforming their regional economies and in introducing new business models;
  • A summary report of the relative role service innovation can play in regional industrial development strategies and an assessment of existing and/or planned policy concepts and large scale demonstrator ideas;
  • A two-day peer review meeting in each pilot demonstrator region;
  • A policy briefing with concrete recommendations on future actions and a roadmap that each demonstrator region could use to address their challenges.

This last morning of the workshop also included two useful discussion sessions on ‘Defining good strategies through a systemic approach’ and on ‘The aims and ambitions of two European Creative Districts’ - Wallonia Creative District in the French-speaking region of Belgium and CREATE from Tuscany that had just launched their activities.

In the wrap-up session, Reinhard Büscher called for energy, passion, stamina and even a bit of anger and aggression to achieve systemic change. He said “We can no longer escape or go around the existing problems and to do so would be a crime against unemployed people, and especially young unemployed people, who want to have a job in the district or area where they were born.” Olive Hill, Director of Innovation and Technology Solutions Division at Invest NI, then brought the workshop to a close by stressing that Northern Ireland got involved in the LSD because it wanted to achieve the results that people, including young people, need. Also, in a period of rebalancing priorities, Northern Ireland requires more methods to develop its new approaches and to sell the region.

Please find below the key presentations from the event

Take a look also into the workshop highlights though this video link



Documenten en links