The city of Cluj-Napoca (Romania) hosted the 2017 ceremony of the prestigious Innovation Luminary Awards. This Open Innovation 2.0 event brings into the spotlight the entrepreneurial spirit, the innovation potential and the commitment to create an innovative ecosystem.


The city’s first Innovation Dialogue event (10th-11th June), followed by the 2-day annual Open Innovation 2.0 Conference (13th – 14th June), the first Town Hall Debate chaired by the Committee of Regions (13th June), stARTS (Science Technology and Arts) parallel event, as well as the Clusters Matchmaking (12th June) fed into the prestigious Luminary Awards Gala Dinner. During the Ceremony five excelling OI2 pioneers and practitioners were given a beautiful bronze lighthouse trophy for their eminent contributions in the field.

The Innovation Luminary Award Academy was founded in collaboration between the European Commission supported Open Innovation Strategy and Policy Group (OISPG) and Dublin City Council and in this year's edition the trophies were handed over by Mr Peter Finnegan (Dublin City Council), Dr.  Martin Curley (OISPG Chair), Mr Markku Markkula  (OISPG Vice Chair)  and Mr Bror Salmelin ( OISPG Founder), Mrs Michela Magas (Luminary Awardee 2016; EU Woman Innovator 2017). This initiative recognizes outstanding innovation role models which inspire the next generation of innovators.

Check the photos from the Gala event on our Facebook page.

The Innovation luminary Awards and the Academy are intended to foster the new generation of innovation leadership and to inspire action towards a creative and innovative ecosystem.

The design of the Innovation Luminary trophy itself symbolizes a lighthouse with the four cuts representing quadruple helix innovation: public sector, private sector, academia and civic society.

The winners of 2017 Innovation Luminary Awards

Recreating Innovation Renaissance -  Prof. Piero Formica

He is Founder of the International Entrepreneurship Academy and was Professor of Economics at the Jönköping University in Sweden. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Innovation  Value Institute of the Maynooth University in Ireland. He is an Associate Professor at ISTEC (Ecole Supériere de Commerce et de Marketing) in Paris, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Tehran and a Guest Professor at the University of Tartu.  Piero Formica is a Councilor of the World Certificate Institute and serves as a faculty member of the School of Entrepreneurship at the University of Padua.

His creative way of thinking is striking: He sees new connections, new functions essential for functioning innovation ecosystems and is warmly advocating for open innovation 2.0. in his work towards innovation renaissance.

Professor Formica has extensively published in the fields of knowledge economics, entrepreneurship and innovation.  Hence Prof.  Piero Formica is receiving the Innovation Luminary award for his outstanding work on Sustained contributions to entrepreneurial research, development of the Experimental Labs approach and advocating for an Innovation Renaissance

Pierro award

Creating a strong innovation landscape - Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca

European Commission and The European Committee of the Regions has for several years called for forerunners as smart and innovative cities. Mayor Emil Boc is known being a visionary and open-minded person who operates actively with the citizens. He is charismatic and and drives the issues forward with enthusiasm and passion. He has been instrumental to opening up the municipality processes for the citizens and taking the city with a rich history to a new level as the young-minded second largest city in Romania by raising the quality of life and by the developing infrastructures, cultures, and education.

Cluj is demographically unique. It is a city that operates actively with 100.000 students. The majority of new students choose to stay in the city, because of the private and public job opportunities that have already by now transformed the Heart of Transylvania into an IT and Innovation Hub.

Emil Boc award

Creation of a national open innovation strategy - Dermot Mulligan

Dermot is Assistant Secretary General/Head of the Innovation and Investment Division of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. His areas of responsibility include formulation and implementation of Government policy on Science, Technology and Innovation, Enterprise development, North/South Trade and Business Development programmes and Ireland’s involvement in a range of international research and technology programmes involving the European Union and the European Space Agency.

The Irish economy has shown fast recovery due to strategic investment in innovation policy creating jobs and growth by a flourishing open innovation 2.0 ecosystem approach. The work has shown already some very remarkable results and more is to come.

The Innovation Luminary award in the category of national innovation strategy is hence given to Irish Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation - Dermot Mulligan for creating a leading and exemplar National Innovation Strategy to drive a strong sustainable economy and better society

Dermot award

Young innovation Bridger and Curator  -  Bianca Muntean

Dr Bianca Muntean is the executive Director for ARIES Transylvania which is in turn leading in the cluster innovation activities of the ICT industry in Transylvania.  The cluster development has been remarkably fast in Cluj, corresponsing now to the clear majority of the ICT exports in the whole country.

Bianca Muntean has been very central in bringing the necessary cross-cutting innovation elements together, driving for a modern innovation ecosystem. She has described the role of her work being „Complementarity and collaboration in the ICT sector which are the two key ingredients in our development and integration in sectorial and regional European digital economy.“

She is a bridger which shows in her work, interconnecting all the quadruple helix players (private companies, public sector, academia and civic society). Even her PhD reflects the work she does as bridger.

Bianca Muntean is also very active in the clusters of clusters, which is a good path to the fully flourishing open innovation 2.0 ecosystems. The trajectory is clear, and necessary.

Hence Bianca Muntean is receiving the Innovation Luminary Award as the young innovation role model for dynamic, pragmatic hands-on OI2 bridgership in Cluj

Bianca Award

Open and scalable hardware ecosystem - Arduino (David Cuartielles, creator and co-founder of Arduino greeted the high-level gala dinner quests in a video address. The award was received by Sara Thermer on his behalf)

Arduino is an open source, computer hardware and software company, project, and user community that designs and manufactures single-board microcontrollers and microcontroller kits for building digital devices and interactive objects that can sense and control objects in the physical world.  This open approach brings computing to the millions in affordable and scalable and at the same time very creative way. Computing power through the applications are necessary to creating a  more equalitarian world giving opportunities for large numbers of people to develop their skills further, and thus the prosperity.

The Innovation Luminary Award in the category democratization of computing is thus given to the Arduino founding team represented by David Cuartielles for the vision and contribution in developing world-renowned  European lead open source computer hardware and software that enables community building of digital devices and interactive objects

Arduino award