European Week of Regions and Cities
7-10 OCTOBER 2019 Brussels

An Innovation Loop to enhance Open and Social Research and Innovation projects

Do you want to develop regional innovation, co-create ideas and find new opportunities for collaboration? Join the Innovation Loop for a hands-on session on research & innovation themes for new projects aimed at open collaborative governance and digital transformation. The workshop will aim to generate new ideas and foster the exchange of experience through a participatory session on co-creation with experts from all over Europe. The methodology comes from the Innovation Loop, a good practice for regional open social innovation developed by Region Vasterbotten in Sweden, which has spread across Europe through the Interreg project OSIRIS partners and their action plans for regional growth (

Participatory sessions
Research and innovation
Västerbotten Region

Session summary

On 11 October, at the Brussels Convention Centre, almost 70 people from all over Europe joined the participatory session organised by Region Vasterbotten (Carina Eriksson), in the context of the European Week of Regions and Cities. Participants included representatives from universities, research institutes, companies, regional and local authorities.

The session offered its participants the possibility of:

  • exploring the research and innovation area of disruptive technology in public services;
  • networking with other participants for future collaboration opportunities for research & innovation projects on digital transformation and disruptive technology, and
  • discovering a co-creation method for co-generating new ideas, named the Innovation Loop which is a best practice for regional open social innovation developed by Region Vasterbotten in Sweden. The Innovation Loop has spread across Europe through the Interreg Europe project OSIRIS.

Yvonne Backholm-Nyberg from Åbo Akademi University moderated the session, introducing the OSIRIS project consortium members: Region Västerbotten in Sweden, Regional Council of Ostrobothnia and Åbo Akademi University in Finland, Provincie Drenthe in Holland, Municipality of Fundao in Portugal, Provincia Autonoma di Trento in Italy and Computer Technology Institute and Press Diophantus in Greece. The OSIRIS members actively participated at the session, expressing different socio-cultural and economic perspectives when adopting open and social innovation policies in the north, south, east and west of Europe.

Umberto Pernice, external expert of Region Västerbotten, briefly introduced the research and innovation topic of transformative impact of disruptive technologies in public services, encouraging the audience to think about how the fusion of disrupting technologies - which integrates physical and digital systems into new processes, through innovative business models - can create smart and inclusive public services.

Emil Hägglund and Niklas Berglund, external experts of Region Västerbotten, illustrated the Innovation Loop method and guided participants in the various main steps of the co-creation method during the session.

Seven speakers from the OSIRS consortium led seven co-creation tables, facilitating the brainstorming and the co-generation of ideas on the topic of digital transformation.

As a result of the 70-minute co-creation session, seven different main ideas, one per table, were identified, considering different disruptive technologies (from blockchain, Internet of Things, big data analytics to artificial Intelligence), specifying the need, approach, benefits, concerns and resources for every idea.

Take away message

The societal challenges of today demand new approaches for including citizens in the co-generating of ideas and the co-creation of solutions. The Innovation Loop offers a method for doing this regardless of topic and region. The co-creation method of the Innovation Loop was proven to facilitate discussion between people with different background and expertise.  It also proved that the spirit of open social innovation can be achieved in a short time frame – for the benefit of all involved.


The socio-cultural setting of the public sector poses large degrees of resistance to change and this increases the complexity to successful implement disruptive technologies. The Innovation Loop helped to understand this setting, assess the implications of disruptive technologies on public services and the acceptance by citizens. Umberto Pernice - Region Vasterbotten

During the session it became clear that the benefits of using disruptive technologies in public administration go far beyond increased efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Instead, many of the ideas highlighted disruptive technologies as new and valuable means of empowering and engaging citizens in public governance. Johanna Dahl – Regional Council of Ostrobothnia

During the co-creation event I had the feeling that all participants were in the right mindset to discuss openly of the great challenges that digital transformation is putting ahead of us. Informatica Trentina and Trentino Innovation System are strongly committed to contribute to the long run. Marco Combetto - Informatica Trentina

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