Open framework for exchanging practices supporting innovative entrepreneurship among quadruple helix actors and for innovation design
Innovation Café is a half day event happening twice or three times per year, aiming to facilitate and promote a collaborative framework between the actors supporting the innovation environment in Romania in discussions about innovative ideas and proposals to develop the innovation ecosystem. The initiative is an example of integrating and promoting RRI principles. The event offers a tested model for long term quadruple helix (QH) cooperation and engagement, facilitating knowledge sharing between research, business representatives, public sector and civil society, enabling them to play active roles in R&I processes, in line with public engagement and science education RRI dimensions. Also the event is attached of the idea of society-centred innovation approaching topics related to emerging societal needs and it is carefully in assuring gender balanced panels and audience. Moreover, the event represents an instrument for assisting evidence based policies and for setting the R&I idea, each event incorporating QH visions and offering opportunities to analyse how they interrelate.
Therefore, the Innovation Café is an open format event trying to involve all active players in the innovation ecosystem and an instrument supporting stakeholders to integrate and connect their own knowledge with complementary capabilities and resources of others.
The optimal team size and configuration include 5 persons with expertise in innovation ecosystem,IT and web design, and public relations.
The average amount necessary for one edition is 2000 euro. This may vary depending on the number of participants (which usually is around 50 stakeholders).
Evidence of success
a) more than 400 stakeholders involved: entrepreneurs, researchers, -public authorities, investors, business facilitators.
b) 2 regional editions outside Bucharest: Brasov and Bucharest gathering more than 70 participants
c) basis for the `Romanian Entrepreneurship Ecosystem. An exploratory study` (ree.uefiscdi.ro) and, further, for H2020 Specific Support to Romania: Final Report – Start-ups, Scale-ups and Entrepreneurship in Romania (rio.jrc.ec.europa.eu)
The most frequent challenge is to permanently respond to stakeholder needs and to select topics which are interesting for them. Also, we learnt that it is very important to have good speakers and to always use a friendly approach in interaction with our audience.
Potential for learning or transfer
The Innovation Cafe represents a tested framework for:
- engaging quadruple helix actors: the flexbile and friendly format of the event allows real interaction among participants; the topics are nurtures by stakeholders needs and interests which arouses appetite for joining the community.
-co-creating public policies: the knowledge exchange offers evidences for public policies and brings on the agenda real life issues for innovative entrepreneurship
-promoting ethics and gender equality: the organizers are committted to promote these dimensions and they work with people sharing the same values; they are focused on promoting women in tech and promoting R&I with ethically acceptable and society orientated results.
-science education: it makes the room for deliberations on how to frame R&I questions and discuss methods and potential improvements to the R&I process; it used various outreach channels - face to face and online interactions (social media and website).