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A European pathway to system-wide innovation?

A European pathway to system-wide innovation?

Written by Michael Gizicki-Neundlinger | Reviewed by Gabriela Ayala

Created on: 21 Aug 2020 | Updated on: 21 Aug 2020

News category: "News on Living Innovation"

Robert-Jan Smits on the Future of Innovation in Europe

Our guest in this week's Responsible Innovation Story is the perfect interview partner to discuss value-driven innovation in Europe. For many years, Robert-Jan Smits has been Director General of DG Research and Innovation (RTD) at the European Commission. In this role, he had been instrumental in shaping European innovation policy and strategy. Today, he is the President of the Executive Board of the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. For him, collaboration is a key value for European competitiveness!

 “When Europe unites and works together, we are unbeatable.”


For Robert-Jan Smits, Europe is the perfect place to bring together stakeholders from industry, academia and civil society to create something game changing.

“Co-creation is essential for a long-term, sustainable innovation system.”

Our most important insights from this interview with Robert-Jan Smits.

  • In the past years, Europe has lost some ground in the race for innovation leadership.
  • However, multi-stakeholder collaboration can provide a strong competitive advantage for Europe.
  • Especially in the arena of emerging technologies, representatives from industry, academia and civil society need to join forces to innovate on a systems level and tackle grand societal challenges.

Enjoy watching the full interview at!

Click on the time stamps to watch the respective topics:

00:00 A European Approach to Value-Driven Innovation

02:44 The Balance Between Competition and Cooperation

03:57 Co-Creation Is Key

06:33 System-Wide Innovation

09:31 Co-creating Smart Home and Health in Eindhoven

10:30 T-Shaped Skills for Successful Collaboration

13:12 The Business Perspective

15:29 Europe´s Position in the Global Race for Innovation

20:33 A Vision for 2030

22:31 Europe´s Unique Selling Proposition

25:58 Co-Creating European Growth Markets

27:13 System-Wide Innovation in Horizon Europe

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