Innovation of policy, regulatory systems, and of products and services is the most basic ingredient to bring economic growth. It drives business competitiveness, and it is the basis of the welfare state. Obviously, this constitutes a challenge to path dependency in many policies and to regulatory architectures often conceived long ago.
In any governance system, and certainly in the a complex supra-national one such as the EU, there is always a risk that the established underlying policy paradigms will dominate critical re-examination in view of fundamental contextual shifts. This would be to the detriment of business competitiveness and welfare growth. It is the key reform challenge to politicians, business leaders and civic society in the coming decade.
For nearly a decade, EPPA has followed a holistic approach based on the ecosystem concept. An innovation ecosystem aims to emulate nature in its organizational complexity, and to create the dynamics, interactions and feedbacks that produce desired outcomes, spin-offs and cumulative effects. It requires an effort of parallel construction and deconstruction and of creation of the right framework conditions.
Since innovation processes are by nature complex, and complexity cannot be managed alone, shared, collaboration is essential. Therefore, EPPA used its experience of developing constructive dialogues in designing open innovation platforms, based on the interface between innovation thinking and design in business, governance and academia.
These platforms are autonomous, standalone public-private partnerships for which EPPA provides the secretariat, and organises the research inputs. They focus strictly on analysis and advice to EU policy makers, working under so-called Chatham House Rules and they stay away from advocacy.
These independent and tripartite groups provide an innovative method for policy initiation, preparation or amendment, designed to:
- align different (public and private sector) interests about a particular policy sector or issue
- improve mutual trust and consensus between leading stakeholders
- inject outside-the-box creative policy ideas into the European Union system
- develop operational recommendations outside its legalistic and procedural constraints
- facilitate political agreement in the formal decision-making procedure
There are already three such public-private think tanks in operation. Its reports are available on the website: www.highlevelgroup.eu