Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Sixth trend report: 'Optimal recycling, big data from space, and blockchain applications: disruption and policy response'

Sixth trend report: 'Optimal recycling, big data from space, and blockchain applications: disruption and policy response'
Published on: 07/08/2017
Business innovation observatory

Read the full Sixth trend report (931 kB). The main messages are:

Innovation trends

  • Sustainable supply of raw materials: the goal is sustainable mining to reduce the dependency of EU companies on foreign providers.
  • Space technology and services: some of these can be transferred from the public funded space programmes to other market sectors. Applications include navigation, earth observation data and electric propulsion. They can help tackle some of today's most pressing challenges.
  • Servitisation: the move from product-based business models to product-related services. This entails a market transformation from product centricity towards customer centricity.

Disruptive innovations

  • Optimal recycling, as part of the circular economy, can have a positive impact on the economy and the environment. Its estimated effect on EU economy includes a net savings of up to  €600 billion, 2 million new jobs and a reduction of greenhouse emissions. Stricter regulation is one of the main drivers for optimal recycling. Exporting waste is a key obstacle.
  • Big data in Earth observation describe technological breakthroughs in the field that led to a consistent supply of diverse data types in high volume. Earth observation data adds to economic development and offers new business opportunities. Specifically in data acquisition,  data analysis,  data curation,  data storage and data usage. Earth observation information also aids policy creation and decision making in a broad range of societal and business challenges.
  • Blockchain applications use innovative open source IT architecture. This allows for automatic transactions and a record of all the changes. It was originally developed for peer-to-peer digital payment systems like Bitcoin, enabling decentralised and verifiable exchanges. This facilitated the circumvention of third party verification, e.g. a bank. The blockchain system is also used for identity verification, "smart" digital contracts, multi-signatures and/or representing physical assets. Innovation is possible in all these fields.