Bottom-up, demand driven co-creation for sustainable territorial development

Thu 11, October 2018
09:30 - 11:00 CET

Would you like to open a gateway to building an efficient innovation strategy? Would you like to learn how to deliver a sustainable impact and investment in your region? Join our session built around inDemand, a H2020 funded project. We will promote a new innovative, bottom-up, demand-lead model where healthcare organisations identify real needs and, jointly with companies, co-create eHealth solutions, with economic support from regional funds. Following inspiring presentations by European Commission officials, participants will have the opportunity to engage in discussions with regions that have tested and validated the model.

Jorge Gonzalez, Director, Ticbiomed, Spain.
Rafael Ataz Gomez, Head Of European Initiatives, Murcia Region Development Agency (Info Murcia), Spain.
Salla Hirvonen, Specialist, Ouluhealth, Businessoulu, Finland.
Jaroslav Kracun, Legal officer, DG for Internal Market, Industry, Belgium.
Birgit Morlion, DG CNECT H3, Programme Officer, Belgium.
Louis Potel, Project Manager, Resah, Finland.
Katja Reppel, Deputy Head Of Unit, Dg Regio G1, European Commission, Belgium.
Participatory sessions
Territorial development (regional, urban, rural)
European Regions Research and Innovation Network
English (EN)

Session summary

Europe is excellent at producing research and also in developing innovation. But how to overcome the valley of death between the innovation ready to go to market and its commercialisation? Programmes invest in the process of developing innovations but the products are often not purchased by the first buyer within the duration of the project. There is a need to make more instruments (besides pre-commercial procurement and procurement for innovation - PCP and PPI) available to test innovation. inDemand aims to build the innovation capacity of public institutions to drive innovation by expressing their needs and then procure the co-created product because it corresponds to their demand. Therefore, steering innovation from the demand side is key for spending public funds in a more efficient way and for ensuring that their uptake should have a higher success rate. inDemand promotes a new, innovative bottom-up, demand-lead model where health care organisations (customers) and companies (supplier) co-create eHealth solutions, with economic support from regional funds. The model is currently being tested in three regions (Murcia, Ile-de-France and Oulu) and will be scaled-up to 12 other regions within the inDemand Community. The session discussed with DG CNECT and DG REGIO representatives how the synergy of funds (Horizon 2020/Horizon Europe post-2020 and ERDF) and the supported actions could better facilitate this paradigm shift.

In two groups the participants discussed:

  • the success and challenges of regional innovation ecosystem building and conducting co-creation in the territories on the one hand, and
  • their experiences related to public procurement of innovation and needs identifications in organisations on the other hand.

Conclusions show that although it is a very trendy topic, having an ecosystem in place is not evident. Regional actors do not necessarily know each other and they tend to work in silos. One of the triple/quadruple helix actors has to take the leading role in the local/regional ecosystem to facilitate actions and share information among partners. Very often, it is expected that the public administration fulfils this facilitation role and also provides financial support for the collaboration. Building on those local/regional ecosystems, they should be interconnected and internationalised at European level – thanks to projects and facilitator networks.

Co-creation between the actors offers better solutions faster for real needs. User driven design thinking should be applied right from the beginning. Tailor-made business support and face to face meetings are beneficial for collaboration. The main challenge remain on how to facilitate procurement after a successful co-creation process, and move beyond pilots.

Concerning need identification in organisation, the main challenges to overcome are dedicating time and mobilising the right expertise. Different target groups have to be convened at different occasions.

Take away message

There is a need to promote new instruments to test innovation, especially in public organisations. Current approaches like PCP are not suited to small size, close to market pilots. The inDemand model is an option to fill this gap.

Furthermore, Europe should focus not only on the stimulation of innovation piloting, but also on its adoption and up-scale. Too many successful pilots fail to to be adopted, which is a waste.


Birgit Morlion: "You cannot copy-paste solutions. You have to understand ecosystems to successfully adopt solutions."

Jorge Gonzalez: "Co-creation produces better & faster solutions for real needs. That is what market and healthcare professionals want."