DIMECC Ecosystems – Glimpse of the European Future that we want

On 3rd of July, we published our report LAB – FAB – APP to direct the Future of European research and innovation (R&I) landscape in the form of ninth framework program (FP9). The report was given by a High-level group (HLG) chaired by the former trade commissionaire Pascal Lamy and nominated by the current R&I commissionaire Carlos Moedas. The primary target of our HLG was to maximize the impact of European R&I programs.

In LAB – FAB – APP, we give eleven recommendations to Europe. They all are based on the idea to invest in the European Future that we want. It is about what we Europeans want for Europe, and then implementing it. Extremely simple. We have the scientific evidence on how different scientific and research mechanisms impact our society and structures, and we know what we want from the R&I funding as outcomes: Jobs and growth.

One of our eleven recommendations is to increase the volume and share of mission-driven research. Another recommendation is to activate and mobilise individuals and citizens to take part in R&I activities. Hence, companies, businesses, European Commission, and taxpayers will be asked to define the missions that we fund in Europe, and to help in executing them.

Why did we end up with such recommendations? On one hand, there seems to be enough political capital and fact-based willingness in European Commission to try something new compared to what has been funded since the beginning of the framework programs’ history. On the other hand, we have both statistical and qualitative evidence based on the empirical field work in forerunning countries, with novel R&I models, and under unconventional leadership, that classical call-based research-oriented proposal writing & project execution may not produce the highest impact. In contrast, these all may be needed, but they may boost the jobs and growth more when applied in novel combinations with private-sector leadership, non-hierarchical participation, and heterogeneously open ecosystems.

One of the forerunning, novel, and unconventional R&I set-ups in Europe is innovation platform DIMECC, a multi-organisationally owned non-profit company. We, meaning the more than 3 000 people from companies and research institutes, have led the digital transformation and co-creation activities of manufacturing industries, including manufacturing of software and digital technologies, in Finland since 2008. The time-to-market and innovation probability of the players in our platform has improved dramatically. We do not talk about incrementality, we talk about 20-fold pay back for R&I investments and speed-up of the classical R&I work by hundreds of percents. We do not talk about R&I, we talk about new business creation. We talk about P4.0, that means opening the industry-driven Public Private Partnerships to “People” in the context of digitalisation of manufacturing industries (Industrie 4.0).

With our partnering companies and the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, we have launched “One Sea” and “Connected Industry” as missions deriving from private companies’ foresight and strategies: There will be autonomous ships in traffic before 2025. There will be operations centre for smart connected industrial systems before 2028. In both cases, global new businesses can be led from one single location without human fingerprints on physical activities and processes.

The Finnish minister for Transport and Communications, Mrs. Anne Berner, has supported the autonomous mission strongly, especially with strong marketing efforts that are needed to bring official governmental status private-sector led missions and executors. Minister Berner is committed to work for changing the international rules and regulations, which form an integral part of a true Public Private People Partnerhip, to accept remote-controlled and autonomous marine traffic. This autonomous thinking can, naturally, be extended from marine traffic part of the logistics chain to cover the parts inside factories or among any operating fleet or assembled base of manufactured goods.

Private companies have connected their research, development, innovation, and new business creation efforts to One Sea and to Connected Industry. They take the joint missions forward by using DIMECC innovation platform for their own efforts. By show-casing their results and experiments to others, learning through our platform is faster than any other learning method could provide. Universities and public research institutes will get mission-related funding to technology, human behaviour, and business concept related R&I programmes, and their competence and knowledge can be integrated to the execution of the missions. Finally, individual citizens, start-ups, inventors and everyone interested will have open forums to speed up the learning of not only individuals and businesses but the society in total. This mutually open learning is boosted through joint infrastructures like globally first ever totally open test site for autonomous marine technologies, Jaakonmeri, that we opened last summer close to the West coast of Finland.

One Sea and Connected Industry – DIMECC Ecosystems – integrate all systemically. The models, tools, instruments and methods are there already. Fastest learning method is co-creation, and the speed of learning defines the winners in the market. Speed is the new intelligence. Let’s just create the European Future that we want!

Dr. Harri Kulmala
Member of the EC HLG for maximizing the impact of R&I (“Lamy Group”)

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