Efforts to emulate in Europe the success of California’s Silicon Valley have taken the form of long-term plans and large-scale programs led by government and industry, aiming to establish technology clusters, business incubators, innovation platforms, research infrastructures, knowledge and innovation communities, etc.
This systemic top-down approach has long been a pillar of innovation policy at regional, national, and European levels. What has been lacking in Europe is a concurrent bottom-up stimulus: fostering individual and group creativity, encouraging people to turn their innovative ideas into new ventures, providing them with seed funds to start a business, supporting them through mentoring and networking.
Today we observe the emergence of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding platforms, which operate across geographical boundaries and offer a grassroots alternative to traditional research-driven and capital-funded innovation. Could this be the early sign of a fundamental shift from top-down to bottom-up innovation? Should the policies of European governments and financial institutions evolve accordingly to provide more direct support to innovators and entrepreneurs? Or should policy makers step back and let market forces operate with less government interference?These are the issues that will be debated at the Innovation Roundtable. EYIF is looking forward to hear for your comments before the event through social media and at the day of the event if you have already register.