Lets talk about innovation.

The seminar “Interface Innovation” co-organized by the European Commission and the European Journalism Center was attended by journalists from 14 European countries.

The event allowed the participants to share their views and experiences on the importance of increasing the investments into innovation in time of crisis.

In this respect, the example of Finland in the early 1990s was recalled several times. Tough decisions to reverse dramatic negative growth of 7% and big investments in education and innovation allowed the country to overcome the crisis and become one of the innovation frontrunners in Europe.

A very lively round table with the participation of four Ambassadors of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation (EYCI) took place. It concluded that creativity and innovation are not innate talents and both of them can be learnt and developed through education and lifelong learning. Soft skills like lateral thinking, curiosity, thinking outside the box, learning by doing, taking risks, etc are crucial for developing creativity and innovation from an early age and should be further enhanced at school.

Martin Schuurmans (Chairman of the EIT Governing Board), Mr Colombo and Mr Flodström (members of the Governing Board) presented the first steps of the recently created European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT). Asked “why the EIT now?” Mr Colombo answered: “As far as the innovation capability is concerned, Europe is lagging behind other developed countries such as the USA, Japan and the emerging economies in. It is well aligned in terms of research but not in terms of ability to transform research achievement into business or service opportunities”.

The increasingly important role of creative industries was also evoked during the seminar. Xavier Troussard, head of the Unit “Culture policy and intercultural dialogue” at the European Commission stressed one of the objectives of the European Agenda: culture as a catalyst of creativity. He pointed out that “even if some traditional enterprises in the culture sector have not still found a “business model” it is very important the recognition of the fact that culture sectors can be the drivers of deep changes in the economy”.

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