EDC response to innovation strategy consultation


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This is a response to the Welsh Government Consultation on an Innovation Strategy for Wales

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EDC response to innovation strategy consultation

  1. 1. July 2012Response to consultation on thedevelopment of an InnovationStrategy for WalesEcodesign Centrenot for circulation, any content from this document needs to be cited as work of authors
  2. 2. We make ecodesign happenthrough collaborative projectswith design-led companies,policy-makers, industryassociations, researchcentres, educators and socialenterprises.
  3. 3. Consultation on the development of an Innovation Strategy for WalesInnovation has always been a cornerstone of national strategies for growthand competitiveness but there is a growing emphasis in policy, business andacademia on how the innovation system responds to the grand challenges ofsociety. Some of these grand challenges include emerging technologies, climatechange, new domains of health care, ageing population, global poverty, materialsecurity and resource efficiency.This consultation on the development of an Innovation Strategy for Walesprovides and excellent opportunity to rethink and redesign innovation in light ofthese grand challenges.01. In what ways do you •driving social innovation in key areasthink innovation can help such as public health, social inclusion,improve the economic and active ageing 4prospects and well being of •bring innovation into the functioningthe people of Wales? of government and Improve the delivery of public services 5Innovation can help improve theeconomic prospects and well being •providing sustainable mobility andof the people of Wales by tackling transport 6these grand challenges and enablingsustainable development. Innovation It must be stressed that these grandcan enable a sustainable Wales by; challenges mentioned above change the context of innovation. For example,•facilitating ecodesign and sustainable the last decade alone has witnessedconsumption and production (products a combination of transformations inand services)1 economic, geopolitical, societal and technological and ecological systems•addressing climate change and clean that have driven a greater level ofenergy 2 economic and social interdependency. These deeper interdependencies have•contribute to a “circular economy” given rise to risks that are challengingby improving resource efficiency, existing systems of innovationconserving raw materials and reducing governance (e.g. norms, standards,the business risk of critical materials 3 policies) and existing approaches to1 http://www.orangebox.com/responsibility/no_green_bull 4 http://www.participle.net2 http://thecleanrevolution.org 5 http://www.mind-lab.dk3 http://www.interfaceflor.com/default.aspx?section=3&sub=4 6 www.wbcsdmobility.org
  4. 4. Consultation on the development of an Innovation Strategy for Walesinnovation. The recent financial crisis 02. What would a moreis a potent example of this issue of risk innovative Wales lookand complexity. like? Global companies are already A more innovative Wales will incentiviseintegrating sustainable and responsible the production of more sustainablebusiness practices. For example, in July products and services, create and2011 McKinsey surveyed over 3200 deliver value through new sustainableexecutives from a wide range of regions, business models and social innovation.industries, company sizes and functionalspecialities on attitudes and actions A more innovative Wales will developrelated to sustainability and corporate lead markets for sustainable productssocial responsibility. and services through better public procurement.They found that, compared withthe previous year, a larger shares of A more innovative Wales will bringexecutives say sustainability programs innovation into the functioning ofare making a tangible positive government to improve the delivery ofcontribution to their companies’ short- public services through co-productionand long-term value. Some of the key and service innovation.drivers for this have been the need toprotect businesses reputation and brand A more innovative Wales will beequity but also to improve processes less wasteful and develop a ‘circularand drive business growth. economy’ by designing out waste and viewing any waste that is generated as aThe study identifies three different resource.levers that companies can use to createvalue. These are growth, return on A more innovative Wales will build oncapital and risk management. existing strengths and future potential to provide;According to Mc Kinsey, a growthstrategy may involve innovation •Effective partnerships between public,and new products or reaching new private, third sectors and academia tocustomers and markets, a strategy of co-create a better place to live and workimproving returns on capital mightfeature increasing environmental •more resilient private and third sectorsperformance and a risk managementstrategy could entail regulatory or •a better understanding of assets,reputational management. resources, value •an attractive place to work and live
  5. 5. Consultation on the development of an Innovation Strategy for Waleswith flexible working practices and •a focus on technological innovationflexible living environments at the expense of design and social innovation•robust and internationally recognisedcreative industries •perceived lack of structured coordination of existing researchResulting in; programmes (e.g. framework programmes)•better quality of life and livelihoods •relatively low levels of ecodesign and•reduced overall inequality and sustainable innovation research (outsideincreased well-being of the built environment and energy)•better opportunities for entrepreneurs •demand side measures (e.g.and spin-out businesses procurement) not driving innovation03. What are the •weak ties between current research,barriers preventing society and the marketWales becoming more •governance problems related toinnovative? What needs to innovation for sustainability andbe done to overcome these competing policy rationalesbarriers? •difficulty in providing and accessingOne of the biggest barriers to Wales appropriate financebeing more innovative is how wecurrently define innovation. There is a •unfavourable global conditions forneed to broaden our understanding of innovation (emerging market dynamics)innovation in terms of how we enableit, measure it and what we expect the •imbalance of sustainability capabilities,outcomes of innovation to be. There is including within policy, intermediarya need to better understand innovation organisations and existing supply chainsin terms of strategy, inputs, process,outputs and outcomes. Key barriers for businesses in WalesIn addition to the above we identify a •lack of resource (finance, capabilities,series of broad barriers; skills) within the enterprise•a low level of understanding or •(Apparent) low levels of collaborationappreciation of the pivotal role design with regional and transnational researchplays in bringing innovations to market institutes and universities
  6. 6. Consultation on the development of an Innovation Strategy for Wales•lack of external financing for 04. What experience dosustainable innovation you or your organisation have of the initiatives that•insufficient or restricted access to andpoor uptake of existing subsidies and support innovation? Howfiscal incentives accessible and effective are the various forms•existing regulations and structures not of innovation supportincentivising sustainability programmes?•transition and technological lock-ins We have developed and delivered(e.g. technologies and infrastructure) ecodesign initiatives and have experience in working with SMEs.•limited access to external informationand knowledge regarding sustainability We are also involved in a number of European funded projects including FP7•limited access to well-developed and Interreg so we have good insightssustainability support services into the initiatives in other parts of Europe.•uncertain return on investment ortoo long a payback period for some Wales has had a series of interventionstechnologies focussed on but there has been issues in supply and demand side coherence. This•risk averse culture with an is evidenced in the following;unwillingness of actors to embracechange •smilar cohorts of companies applying to programmes – possibly related to•lack of confidence, low trust in absorptive capacitygovernment and academia and poorempathy across sectors •a focus on traditional innovation or at least innovation in incumbent sectors•low levels of investment in R&D and and not enough support for sustainableby extension innovation of actors do or responsible innovationnot view innovation as something theyshould do - exclusive nature/element •a focus on input additionality at the expense of behavioural additionality •a relatively narrow, regional focus of some activities
  7. 7. Consultation on the development of an Innovation Strategy for Wales05. How should innovation •ensure all levels of education provide ain Wales be better deeper range of innovative capabilitiessupported in the future? e.g. responsible innovationWhat should be the role of •support the nurturing of anGovernment? entrepreneurial and innovative mindset from as early an age as possible.We believe that all innovation needs tocontribute to sustainable development •measure behavioral additionalityand that Wales can lead but needs to from interventions alongside input andlearn from other regions. In developing output additionality – this will requirethis strategy the Welsh Government improvements in monitoring andshould; evaluation•evaluate Wales’ Innovation system •disincentivise irresponsible innovationcharacteristics (strengths, weaknesses,problems, development potential) •incentivise multi-disciplinary, cross sector collaboration•define focus and the topics for action(agenda setting) •innovation policy in Wales needs to be build on the innovations systems•support stakeholders/actors to co- perspectiveordinate their activities in and beyondtheir policy field (horizontalisation) •build capacity in the design sector•learn from previous experience 06. What facilities ore.g. from evaluation results andinternational best practice resources exist which may help differentiate Wales•enhance interventions by taking into and provide a potentialaccount the richness and complexity of competitive advantage?innovation processes •size of country and existing natural•create innovative platforms for resources e.g. bio-economy, largethe open sharing of knowledge and coastline with potential for sustainableexperiences e.g. living labs 7 energy, eco-tourism etc.•facilitate interactive learning (policy •sustainable development alreadylearning, inter-firm learning, education) in constitution and SD Bill under development •relatively high levels of transparency7 http://www.openlivinglabs.eu
  8. 8. Consultation on the development of an Innovation Strategy for Walesbetween government and business comments you would like to make or are you•strong third sector, network of co- aware of any informationoperatives and existing culture ofmutualism which might be useful to the Welsh Government•some internationally recognised in formulating a newdesigners, design-led businesses and Innovation Strategy?design organisations We have provided a supporting07. What should be the role position paper with this consultation and we recommend you review this forfor knowledge transfer additional information.from Higher and FurtherEducation and the use of The Ecodesign Centre is engaged in aintellectual property in number of European funded researchsupporting innovation? projects – e.g. FP7 and Interreg with partners ranging from the FraunhoferTypically, industry has not regarded Institute, universities across Europeuniversities as an important source and large comanies such as Philips.of information for innovation 8.These statistics could tell a few We also regularly engaging with thestories. The initial assumption is that TSB, Knowledge Transfer Networks,universities are under-performing in British Council, United Nationsterms of knowledge exchange and and other internationally focussedapplied research. It may also suggest organisations.that companies have relatively lowabsorptive capacity leading to a lack of We can share experiences on theseknowledge on the various knowledge specific activities if required.inputs to the innovation systems.There should be a continued focus on We can also provide case studies andknowledge exchange (i.e. 2-way) but examples of ecodesign in companies,through an innovation culture which is social innovation projects, and wideropen, transparent, focuses on sharing sustainable innovation activities ifand has co-creation embedded requested.08. Do you have any other8 http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/science/docs/f/12-p107-first-findings-uk-innovation-survey-2011
  9. 9. Position Paper on links between proposed SD Bill and proposed Wales Innovation Strategyfor more informationEcodesign Centre (EDC),Cardiff Business Technology Centre,Senghennydd Road,Cardiff,CF24 4AY,United Kingdom Web: www.edcw.orgTelephone: +44 (0)29 2064 7034Fax: +44 (0)29 2064 7009 Email: info@edcw.org