Value chain innovation is defined as the transformation of ‘traditional’ value chains into new ones - emerging industries - through cross-border and cross-sectoral collaboration. New products and services, as well as new industrial sectors are not always the result of breakthrough innovation; they can be the result of value chain innovation.

Such collaboration processes have become more and more visible on the European innovation policy radar due to their high potential in terms of innovation and economic growth. As stated by DG GROWTH, “the development of emerging industries is often driven by cross-cutting technologies, creativity and service innovation, and societal challenges such as the need for eco-innovative and resource-efficient solutions. As emerging industries are frequently characterised by high growth rates and further market potential, they hold the key to future competitiveness and prosperity.”

The translation of the value chain innovation concept in a truly cross-border European – and international – policy level remains a difficult challenge. Smart specialisation is actually a cross-border approach to innovation policy, which aims at tightening the policy collaboration among European regions with respect to the development of European value chains and to some extend the mutualisation of efforts in common priority areas; however, the implementation of the concept is commonly mainly driven by regional or national policy developments.

This policy brief explores the concept of cross-border and cross-sectoral value chain innovation and highlights the potential benefits in the context of regional smart specialisation strategies and innovation policies.

Download the full brief here.

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