European Forum Alpbach 2016 – The opening of innovation processes

AUTHOR: Magdalena Theurl

Austria is the first European country to have a comprehensive Open Innovation Strategy at the national level. The strategy was created by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW) and the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT).

Open Innovation is a term which comes from the social sciences, specifically from economics. The transfer of the concept of Open Innovation from an organisational perspective to the context of a country’s complex and dynamic innovation system requires to consider Open Innovation at a much larger scale and to extend beyond the classic Triple-Helix-Model (science, economy, public administration) by one crucial perspective, namely by the inclusion of civil society (Quadruple-Helix-Model).

According to these principles, the Open Innovation Strategy for Austria was created. Co-creation elements were a central component during this one-year process, to ensure participation of civil society and other stakeholders, e.g. by means of stakeholder workshops or an online-consultation phase open for all citizens. The creation process of the Open Innovation Strategy was supported by winnovation.

During the strategy process three fields of action were developed:

  • Creating a culture of Open Innovation and facilitating Open Innovation competencies to all age groups
  • Forming heterogeneous Open Innovation networks and partnerships across disciplines, sectors and organisations
  • Mobilising resources and creating a framework of Open Innovation

From these fields of action, 14 measures were derived. The Open Innovation Strategy was presented during the Technology Symposium at Alpbach on August 25th, and is published on A link to the strategy can be found here.

On Saturday 27th of August 2016, innovation and innovation policy experts discuss the questions “Open Innovation: new enlightenment? Participation – democratisation – new solutions”. Gertraud Leimüller, founder and CEO of winnovation, will be part of this plenary discussion. The link to the more detailed program can be found here.


                                      Photos © NEWS / Ian Ehm