The Disrupt Europe Vision has been originally published in EU Digital Minds book supported by Neelie Kroes, former Vice President of the European Commission. Founder and President of EYIF has been invited to write a piece along with Eric Schmidt (Google), Mark Gorenberg (Member of the US President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)), Irina Bokova (Director-General of UNESCO), John Donahoe (President and Chief Executive Officer, eBay Inc), Baroness Joanna Shields (Digital Advisor to British Prime Minister) and others. Find the original book here or download it here.
Over the last 30 years, the European Union has failed in innovation capacity and the main reason is its mindset: in on the one hand, socially, European have grown increasingly risk-averse in the last 30 years while on the other, structurally, it has also been slow to encourage and reward risk-taking.
Today, the failure to innovate better and faster particularly in the digital space, is the EU’s principal undoing and the central threat to Europe’s digital future.
Change is not luxury but mandatory. The alternative is significant loss leading to oblivion. It is time to disrupt Europe. Digitally first, starting with Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
How should we do it? The first step is to encourage young people to overcome their traditional risk-aversion and move out of their comfort zone, so they embrace the opportunities and challenges of innovation and entrepreneurship, including failure. In parallel, European governments, businesses, societies and individuals need to support and reward risk-taking by sustaining an ecosystem for entrepreneurs that helps young people acquire the right mentors and access to finance, customers and markets for their ideas and businesses. The European Parliament, and Commission in particular, need to create and adopt an unified regulatory framework that supports the creation of new start-ups from early-stage to growth with specific policy instruments.
The European Young Innovators Forum vision is a Europe that supports startups, particularly the digital ones, and entrepreneurs. Europe for Startups 2020 overarching goals should aim to create and sustain a vibrant digital start-up economy in Europe that generates 10.000 new startups a year and 250.000 jobs, with 2.5% of the job market covered by them and 9.5% of total European GDP from their economic activity (including exits).
Europe needs re-configurations of its non-functional systems and ways of doing business and to generate disruptive change. It needs to create an attitude for Digital First in its innovation and business narrative, as well as an attitude for risk taking. An environment, basically, where failure is embraced and success celebrated.
A Europe that puts digital first will be a Europe that changes the game when it comes to innovation and leadership, boosting prosperity, to be a Europe that works for its citizens and one that they can believe in. This is the Europe the European Young Innovators Forum are striving to build.