Innovation Camp Belgrade: Building Scenarios for the Software Industry
13 Dec 2017 - 15 Dec 2017S3 Cooperation
This Innovation Camp was a participatory event that gathered experts, software companies, policy-makers, and innovation managers from Serbia and the Western Balkans to address critical policy challenges of Serbia's software industry and its future development. Previous Innovation Camps took place in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bratislava, Thessaloniki and Brussels. The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission co-organised it together with the Ministry for Education, Science and Technological Development, the Secretariat for Public Policies, Mihajlo Pupin Institute and the Science & Technology Park Belgrade. Past Innovation Camps took place e.g. in Catalonia, Brussels and Bratislava.
Participants co-created possible scenarios of future developments of this industry that will feed into the on-going work of Serbia's Government to design a new innovation strategy for smart specialisation. Based on a methodology developed by JRC, the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research together with the Analytical Team of the Interministerial Working Group for Smart Specialisation of the Serbian government (led by Mihajlo Pupin Institute) conducted an analysis of the economic, scientific and innovation potential in the country. The important role the software industry plays and the potential for cross-innovation with more traditional industries are key findings of this study. This Camp was a follow-up exercise to better understand the needs and main challenges of companies, researchers and universities. A similar approach will be used to discuss and define the future priority domains for Serbia's innovation policy.
The innovation camp is a small-scale innovation dialogue leading to real results. The intention was to produce concrete proposals and scenarios for dealing with 4 challenges in the coming months. Around 50 people took part in the Camp. Participants were experts in their respective spheres and stakeholders of the specific challenges (companies, clusters, associations, intermediaries, universities and research institute and policy bodies), and have been selected by the organisers. Participants were divided into dedicated workgroups, each one addressing a specific challenge. Most participants were from Serbia, with a smaller group from Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovenia.
The Serbian ICT market was estimated to €1.73 billion in 2016, accounting for 6 percent of Serbia’s GDP. It has been the most vibrant and fastest growing Serbian sector for the last 10 years. The Belgrade software sector contributes significantly to value added, growth and pays higher wages than elsewhere in the country. The overall role of hardware production, on the other hand, remains relatively small, although apparently characterised by a large number of smaller firms. Most software companies target international markets, much less the Serbian market. Based on on-going interviews and a survey several key challenges have emerged that are important to sustain and help the software industry to grow.
Against this background, participants in this Innovation Camp discussed 4 key challenges for the software industry, the research and university community and government. Aalto University in Finland built the basic building blocks of what we now call "Innovation Camp", a methodology to collectively address societal and economic challenges at local and national level in a European context. This idea matured through the experience of 20 Camps for Societal Innovation implemented by qualified facilitator teams since 2010, in different countries on three continents. The desire and ambition to bring such kind of instruments to local contexts follows the shared mission of the Committee of Regions and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission to nurture a culture of innovation on the ground. Such a culture can nurture only using genuine local assets and capacities that are distributed across business, research and academia, government and civil society (the 'quadruple helix'). To illustrate what previous Innovation Camps have done, you can find here a summary of the 2016 Camp in Amsterdam.
Participants co-created possible scenarios of future developments of this industry that will feed into the on-going work of Serbia's Government to design a new innovation strategy for smart specialisation. This Camp kick-started structured discussions to better understand the needs and main challenges of companies, researchers and universities. A similar approach will be used to discuss and define the future priority domains for Serbia's innovation policy.
Agenda and Presentations
You can access the agenda here. Parallel working groups will discuss 4 challenges:
Challenge 1: How to tackle chronic lack of IT skills in conditions of ever-increasing demand?
Challenge 2: How to improve the institutional set-up to support the software industry?
Challenge 3: How to strengthen intermediaries like clusters to effectively contribute to a continuous dialogue between companies, universities and government?
Challenge 4: How to better integrate the software industry into Serbia's economy and society more broadly?
You will find the presentations below; the report on the main outcomes is currently under review and will follow shortly: