Innovations - Food for Minotaurs

This blog post is a draft response to “Section 1 Soundness of the Challenge / Section 1.1.2 Description of the Challenge (Main Aim)” in the technical annex of the planned COST 2019 Open Call Proposal Reference: OC-2019-1-23678 "Open European Network for Enterprise Innovation in High Value Manufacturing (ENTOV-HVM)".

As mentioned in the previous post the state of the art for the transition of ideas from innovators and early career researchers in universities and research institutions represents a fragmented picture which differs significantly not only from region to region, but also in relation to the type of innovations and research efforts involved. From the perspective of the young innovator / researchers and early career investigators a vast number of potential evolution paths exist and it is a formidable challenge to choose the most suitable. Indeed it is like standing at the entry gate of a labyrinth and suspecting that not choosing the most effective path may be deadly for the idea in question.

This fragmented, supposedly supporting, ecosystem of diffusion of innovation paths thus often thwarts the industrialization of innovative ideas by young innovators / researchers and early career investigators since it means a lack of effective access to relevant advanced collaboration and simulation capabilities, and enterprise innovation networks (especially related to capacity acquisition and capability development) used by research and industry participants and know-how for their feasibility assessments and later induction into their whole product lifecycles. Innovative ideas hereby range from (unsolved) unique research challenges to specific technologies and engineering / manufacturing operations. 

The challenge of navigating the labyrinth of the ecosystem(s) available to young innovators / researchers and early career investigators is a formidable one; it is also a challenge that many fail to master, thus ending up “eaten by the shadows” and not contributing the value they could to research, industry and society as a whole. A suitable analogy might be the ancient Greek myth of the Minotaur as shown by the image “The Minotaur in the Labyrinth” engraving of a 16th-century AD gem in the Medici Collection in the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence (see also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minotaur).

The next posting will address the emergent phenomenon of innovation webs as effective approaches to address this challenge.

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