Mobility Innovation Center is a result of public sector cooperation in order to solve its own issues and foster the development of transport start-ups and SMEs.
The Ministry of Transport and Communication together with the companies in its area of management including Lithuanian Railways, Lithuanian Post and Road Maintenance initiated the establishment of an external agency.
The Center seeks to initiate public-private partnerships, focuses on high technologies and acts as a bridge among the public sector companies and startups, SMEs, academia as well as policymakers.
The main objective of the centre is to look for challenges and find solutions, ensure smooth communication and technology transfer by providing support from stage one to technology testing and implementing. At later stages, it advises and mentors companies to scale. For this reason, the Center has a sandbox platform which is an open infrastructure initiative providing free access to the infrastructure and data and enabling to test new technology solutions in real-life conditions. Its main competences are:
1. Problem solving – identification of sector challenges and search for solutions;
2. Innovation transfer – passing the solutions found to the transport and communications sector companies;
3. Sandbox – access to infrastructure for testing and development of technologies;
4. Sector promotion – representation of the transport and communication sector during events, their organization, accumulation of information and statistics of the sector;
5. Investment proposals – recommendations to the centre’s stakeholders to invest in the solutions found.
The organization employs 2 people while the majority of its finances comes from its stakeholders.
Evidence of success
MIC successfully launched transport innovation sandbox. Transport companies are able to access and already use Road Maintenance, Lithuanian Railways and Lithuanian Post infrastructure, data and experts' advice. A few successful hackathons have been organised to find solutions for the transport sector. A cooperation agreement has been signed with the Centre for Physical Sciences and Technology to help young innovative companies to seek investment and development opportunities.
Potential for learning or transfer
The Center is a good example of governmental institution (Ministry of Transport and Communications) bringing together organizations from different fields to foster the development and implementation of new technologies and innovation, by using the right tools and methods (hackathons; series of challenges, sandbox).
In addition, the Center mostly acts from the demand side which is also becoming more popular these days. The majority of innovation support measures are developed from the supply perspective, however institutions as European Commission or OECD are highly promoting demand side policy measures too. The Center constantly acts from the demand side as it identifies challenges in the public sector and then invites the private sector (start-ups, SMEs) to solve them. In this way, it facilitates the communication between these two different sides and connects them together.
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