With a completely over the top video (but hey, that's what it takes to make something go viral, no?), the European Commission has launched yesterday an ambitious initiative that aims to use public sector intervention to help the private sector flourish and make Europe more competitive in a global economy.
"The Innovation Union will focus Europe's efforts - and co-operation with third countries - on challenges like climate change, energy and food security, health and an ageing population. It will use public sector intervention to stimulate the private sector and to remove bottlenecks which stop ideas reaching the market. These include lack of finance, fragmented research systems and markets, under-use of public procurement for innovation and slow standard setting. The Innovation Union is a "flagship" in the Europe 2020 Strategy."
Also of interest to a design audience are some items in the launch press release (available in all EU languages):
The Commission will set up in 2011 a European Design Leadership Board and a European Design Excellence Label.
The Commission will launch in 2011 a major research programme on public sector and social innovation and pilot a European Public Sector Innovation Scoreboard. It will launch a European Social Innovation Pilot to provide expertise for social innovators and propose social innovation as a focus of European Social Fund programmes. It will consult social partners on spreading the innovation economy to all occupational levels.
The Commission proposes that governments set aside dedicated budgets for public procurement of innovative products and services. This should create a procurement market worth at least â‚¬10 billion a year for innovations that improve public services. The Commission will offer guidance on joint procurements between contracting entities from different Member States.
Mark Vanderbeeken is a senior partner at Experientia, an international experience design consultancy, based in Turin, Italy. He is also the author of the successful experience design blog Putting People First. Mark is a specialist in visioning, identity development and strategic communications and worked in Italy, Denmark, the USA and Belgium. He was communications manager of Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, European communications coordinator for the World Wide Fund for Nature (or WWF), marketing director of Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects (USA) and chief press officer of Antwerp 93, Cultural Capital of Europe (Belgium).