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Fieldlab to boost the innovation ecosystem

20 Jun 2016

Recent developments in innovation policy show a focus on the role of fieldlabs in boosting the innovation ecosystem. Examples of this trend are, the European ‘Innovation Hubs’, the German ‘Mittelstand 4.0 Kompetenzzentren‘ and the Dutch ‘Smart Industry Fieldlabs’. A fieldlab can be defined as practice environment in which firms and knowledge institutions develop, test and implement technological solutions, as well as an environment where people learn to apply these solutions.

In a recent study of TNO, the impact of fieldlabs on the innovation ecosystem are investigated.
The research answers the following research question: When does a fieldlab impacts the innovation ecosystem, and which fieldlab characteristics and activities are required to realise this this impact?
In this study 8 extensive fieldlab cases were analysed based on 45 indicators:

  • 15 fieldlab characteristics (e.g. type of technology under development, composition of the fieldlab partners, funding, intellectual property )
  • 15 fieldlab activities (e.g. R&D&I activities, upscaling activities, micro-production, valorisation activities, incubator activities etc.)
  • jointly effecting 15 impact indicators (e.g. solved problem, new research results, new technologies, new jobs, spin-offs etc.).

The research indicates that the fieldlabs with the strongest impact on the innovation ecosystem are those fieldlabs that:

  • have the physical proximity of triple helix partners in combination with a clear governance model making them able to solve a problem or answer to a societal demand.
  • set and achieve a radical and smart goal.
  • perform many of the 15 investigated activities.
  • have a clear business model.

The report with the research results will soon be available in Dutch.

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