Innovation Europe

Innovation is far from dead in Europe it just needs recalibrating in its focus

Innovation is far from dead in Europe was a summary offered in a report by Deloitte that came out on 29th January 2019 called “Innovation in Europe“. It offers some excellent insights on the state of innovation.

There is no denying that Europe is feeling competitive pressure. European companies face the need to undertake substantial investment in digital infrastructure. They conclude the continent is neither poorly positioned nor lacks confidence in its ability to compete.

Do I see it differently from Deloitte? Yes, they are looking at innovation through a single lens, we need to change this within Europe to move ahead.

There are a lot of clues within the Deloitte report that makes me feel Europe is missing the future as they are stuck in the traditional ways to innovate. Take a look at this visual from the Deloitte report. What is wrong and missing?


So at first glance, you think well these types of innovation being pursued are not wrong……..but they are…………………..

They are primarily islands of pursuit. Solo initiatives for the benefit of one

The value in the new innovation model is not in their individual pursuit, it is finding new business models of growth by investing in as many combinations as possible, to explore and build innovation around.

Innovation today is about multiples of combinations, not one rigid innovation approach. It is not one business model it is about “multiple business model pursuits”.

We need flexibility, agility, rapid reaction and (real-time) understanding to deliver back what is needed in quicker ways, at a pace and intensity and capable of scaling when the market reacts in positive ways I still feel we focus on discreet pockets of innovation and never seek out ways to combine them in radical ways.

We need to combine, keep making multiple combinations, with different partners, across different industry borders. We need to simply extend and expand the business model, one based on being able to be scaled quickly and that involves platforms and technology.

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We MUST leverage all our assets, not just within one company but across an ecosystem of partners. Europe is very reluctant to embrace more collaborative partnerships, use platforms to exchange upon and build ecosystems to capture and leverage all the knowledge out there.

We need to really push open innovation through the use of this digital technology we have at our disposal. We need to learn how platforms will work for each of us, we need to understand ecosystems principles and its management, we need to work through open and collaborate in imaginative ways.

Then there is the notion of cross-sector innovation, one that can be realized through digital collaborations. Where is the engagement with start-ups, with Universities, these are still grossly undervalued and utilized in Europe Venturing is a powerful catalyst, not just for the start-up but for the large organizations yet Europe struggles to be offering new capital, it is constantly supporting old capital, why?

We continue to lag other parts of the world in funding innovation as we are locked into a model of compromise to satisfy the uneven state of innovation development. Europe is channelling its capital to support those who are lagging, as against accelerating those that can seize the opportunity.

In Europe, we are around 50% of the US on digital ICT. We are struggling to embrace Big Data, we are piloting, experimenting, exploring but we are not REALLY embracing. Look at Robotics, we are exploring far more tentatively than other regions of the world.

Same as advanced neuronal machine learning, the effective use of AI tools, exploring algorithms and pushing outsmart workflows, cognitive agents, language processing, they are all embraced by the few, mostly global companies. Even language processing is not in full use (In Europe please ) where it inhibits much.

Lastly here, Europe is still caught up in responding, as it is in a lagging position.

We mimic competition, copy their business models or crave for those that somehow emerge to be held onto and developed, so as to be nurtured it here in Europe.

Sadly so many drift away, attracted to better places where venture capital, greater access to skilled talent or easier regulations attract the young, growth orientated businesses. to more exciting cities of stimulation where you feel the vibrancy of others, all competing to become the next big thing.

Most of the incumbent companies in Europe cannot find that necessary appetite to understand how to compete in new digital and business model execution.

Europe holds much back due to its regulations, its propensity to interfere, or impose for the good of the greater community or it thinks it does. Something really has to change.

Where are those innovation sandboxes for experimentation, for supporting their evolution? So much gets caught up in internal fights and squabbles, in regulation or oversight.

We lack a vision in Europe that gives belief yet “we” do have it in us if we can believe again!

The Brits have said “enough” and even as they leave the party in the same way as they entered it, reluctant and full of questioning, they might actually seize this European void on Innovation and Digital as they are chasing and investing. Maybe not in the same levels as China or the United States. Why?

Well, the share of digitization potential realized by all countries is all to play for. The digitization share in the US is 18%, the UK 17%, and Europe as a block 12%. So as the Brits seem set to leave, the Europeans have lost one of the leading powerhouses of innovation and digitization.

Out of the top four in Europe, two seem to be at logger’s heads with the powers in Brussels, Switzerland and the UK. Others will follow unless Europe can find there own distinctive innovation model, based on digital technology enablers and solve so many of the internal problems bedevilling Europe.

The biggest challenge is getting identification and belief back into the people of Europe. Innovation for one stands no chance within belief. All I hope is it does but on many days I am not optimistic. let’s say just perhaps hopeful.

Europe has its strengths, we need to learn to accelerate not pull back. We need to grasp the very essence of innovation, to explore and exploit experiments and breaking opportunities and bring back that sense of vibrancy, embracing the global forces at work to shape them, not constantly be defensive, adapting to outside influences.

Europe needs to turn outward and seek out, not draw in as it continues to do, scared to offend, to separate ideals that seem often at odds from needs to compete in a global world.


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