Tuesday 14th September we presented the results of the E20 study to the EC.
The workshop provided not only validation but real insight. All the presentations are available on Slideshare .
My take-out from the workshop (on top of the study findings) were:
– Ken Ducatel, EC lead on the digital strategy, provided the big picture and stressed that the study was actually more important than the EC originally thought
– it’s quite clear that E20 has not yet delivered large scale impact. Lee Bryant described the current status as early, patchy and tool centric. In our study, we struggled to find SME cases of E20. Employee adoption is viral in some cases, more difficult in others. Incentives to participation and sharing are not always effective.
– the market is very small but growing fast, Europe lagging behind both in supply and demand. EU start-ups cannot compete with US counterparts also because they have much less ressources from VC.
– together with VC, public procurement is a key are of policy activity. Current procurement approaches still are ineffective to leverage the growth of successful SMEs. New approaches to procurement have to be
designed, as well as to research and innovation policy, in order to reach out to real innovators.
– the software market is changing, margins are much lower and vendors should offer services on top of tools in order to be profitable. It’s therefore important to experiment with new business models
– E20 is an important area of attention but certainly not a key policy issue for governments. But the picture changes when you consider E20 as a specific case of innovation in software. The question then is: why did Europe miss out on this trend just as in many others? Why are EU companies much slower in adoption than US ones? Why did such innovation not come out of EU research? In general, this makes me think: is EU research funding more suitable for hardware and infrastructure rather than software? Is there evidence of this?
– success stories in open innovation such as 100%open were only possible because NESTA was arm’s length from government, otherwise it would have been difficult to justify politically to work mainly with large companies. In the end, SMEs benefit from this because they can participate in open innovation value chain, selling to large companies. This shows the importance of arm’s length body and trust in innovation policy.

The workshop went very well also because we invited 3 external, real-life speaker: Mart Van Der Kerkhof from Allen and Overy, a legal company who uses E20; Antoine Perdaens from KnowledgePlaza, a small E20 startup; and Roland Harwood from 100%open, the UK open innovation agency. This made the workshop much more meaningful and exciting, so I will keep on doing this. On top of this , we had two very insightful peer reviewers, prof Steinmuller from SPRI and Wim de Waele, CEO of IBBT.

My goal for the final report is to streamline the evidence, make a good business case for e20, but most of all looking at lessons learnt from the study that can help EU innovation policy switching from sevendipity to serendipity.