Our EU Trend Reports tackle innovative business practices from a policy perspective. They help policymakers better understand the latest trends in business and industry innovation and provide specific policy recommendations to unleash the potential of European businesses and scale-up successful innovative solutions in the EU. Two trend reports are published every year, drawing on case studies and conference outcomes.
The latest innovation trends – from space services to extreme recycling — feature in the sixth batch of case studies from the EU’s Business Innovation Observatory, co-authored by among others Dr. René Wintjes and PhD fellow George Christopoulos. The report (embedded below) focuses on innovation trends and disruptive innovations, and includes the following key messages:
- Sustainable supply of raw materials: the development of new intelligent means to mine and process raw materials aims to enable a sustainable supply of raw material that would both reduce the dependency of EU companies on foreign providers and would allow the efficient exploitation of the resources still available in the European mines.
- Space technology and services: some technologies and services can be transferred from the public funded space programmes to other market sectors not directly related to space domains. Applications vary from navigation to Earth observation data and electric propulsion, and all of them have the possibility to tackle some of the most pressing challenges today, such as fighting climate change, helping to stimulate technological innovation, and/or providing socio-economic benefits to citizens.
- Servitisation: the move from product-based business models to the development of product-related services is accompanied by market transformation from product centricity towards customer centricity. The sale of maintenance contracts for capital goods or the pay-peruse revenue model are concrete example of this transformation.
- Optimal recycling as a part of the circular economy, can have a multi-faceted positive impact on both the economy as such and the environment. Its impact on the EU economy is estimated for: net savings of up to EUR 600 billion, 2 million new jobs, as well as reduction of greenhouse emissions. Stricter regulation is a main driver for optimal recycling, while exporting of waste is a key obstacle.
- Big data in Earth observation describes technological breakthroughs in Earth observation which gave rise to a constant flow of large volumes of diverse types of data. Different stages of the Earth observation data value chain offer completely new business opportunities: data acquisition, data analysis, data curation, data storage or data usage. Moreover, Earth observation information not only fosters the economic development but also helps to create policies and to make decisions on a broad range of societal and business challenges.
- Blockchain applications use innovative open source IT architecture that allows transactions to be carried out automatically and maintain an authoritative record of all the changes made. It was originally developed for peer-to-peer digital payment systems such as Bitcoin, which allows for the implementation of decentralised and verifiable exchanges, without the verification provided by a trusted third party, e.g. a bank. Beside this specific field of applications, there is plenty of room for innovation in other domains, as the blockchain system allows to verify identity, execute ‘smart’ digital contracts, implement multi-signatures and / or represent physical assets.