New ideas and learning are essential for businesses to develop and stay competitive. Alongside technical innovation, fresh approaches to business management and marketing are also needed.
Collectively, the EU must become a knowledge economy, open to innovation.
Education should provide the skills needed for doing business in an innovation-oriented society - literacy, scientific knowledge, mathematical skills, digital literacy, languages, social and cultural skills - and openness to learning. The EU is helping to modernise education systems in all EU countries to ensure that these skills are taught.
To ensure that academic research is relevant to entrepreneurial needs, the EU is working to encourage strategic partnerships between universities and companies. The role of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology is to establish science, business and education partnerships.
Transferring knowledge is also key to increasing EU competitiveness. The sharing of know-how between businesses and with knowledge providers is especially crucial for small firms without the resources to develop formal partnerships.
Europe INNOVA is a laboratory for the development and testing of new tools in support of innovation, with the aim of helping innovative enterprises to innovate faster and better. It brings together public and private innovation support providers such as:
- innovation agencies;
- technology transfer offices;
- business incubators;
- financing intermediaries;
- cluster organisations.
Europe INNOVA provides a learning platform for exchanging and developing ideas, good practices and knowledge in the areas of:
- transnational cluster cooperation;
- knowledge-intensive services;
These actions develop and test new innovation support services for SMEs and are delivered by European Innovation Platforms.
Other powerful Europe INNOVA instruments are:
- the Sectoral Innovation Watch, which analyses sectoral innovation performance and trends in order to help draw up new innovation policy at regional, national and EU levels;
- the European Cluster Observatory, which provides information on the mapping of regional clusters, national and regional cluster policies and programmes as well as information on what clusters have to offer companies;
- the Eco-Innovation Observatory which provides statistical data and information on emerging trends and global business opportunities in the area of eco-innovation;
- the IMP³rove partnership which provides SMEs with a clearer picture of their innovation management performance and potential for improvement through an online self-assessment tool;
- the TAKE IT UP action, establishing an online repository of Europe INNOVA innovation support tools and services.
PRO INNO Europe® is a focal point for analysing and developing innovation policy in Europe by learning from best practices. It aims to help EU enterprises innovate better and faster by optimising and leveraging complementarities between the various innovation support measures that exist throughout Europe.
Theindustrial innovation reference documents webpage provides a list of the key documents referring to innovation policy.
The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) facilitates access to funding for innovation projects and provides business support services. It has a budget of €3.621 billion for 2007-13.
Check also the legislation on this topic in: