Building Collaborative Ecosystems

I think something we kind of forgot or we were pressed into another direction is the topic of way more collaboration. Sustainability means to understand the issue, and to tackle it jointly (and prevent everyone from withdrawing at a time of crisis or danger). One of the reasons why we joined EIT Manufacturing was because we see a big benefit in having at least your value chain with a moderated set up to discuss certain issues. Where do you have such platforms? Usually you don’t have them.


Connecting Industry with Academia

Stronger partnerships are needed to foster talent, capabilities and perspectives that can allow the region to position itself at the forefront of the manufacturing industry.

European universities and RTOs (Research and Technology Organisations) are leading the way in many areas of research, but when it comes to working with businesses, and especially small companies, the continent seems to be lagging behind.

Global competition will demand European universities and industry to create stronger incentives for collaboration, cooperation, and establish intermediary bodies that can link SMEs to academia. Furthermore, by designing guiding principles for collaboration, developing mechanisms and initiatives that can foster trust between academic institutions and their industrial partners, the understanding of the interests and needs of the parties involved can be deepened. Ultimately, collaboration and innovation will be essential to address sector-wide challenges.

Collaboration With the Public Sector

SMEs are facing a myriad of challenges and European governments, at all levels, can provide support and help them thrive well into the future.

The demands of the new world reality will require governments at all levels to reinforce existing mechanisms and create new ecosystems to cooperate with the companies that make up the backbone of the manufacturing industry.

The focus should be on providing resources and assistance that can help SMEs deliver on their sustainability commitments, keep up with digitalisation and acquire the talent needed to adopt new technologies. There is an untapped potential to bring new technologies and SMEs together, but most of the SMEs lack time and resources to make this happen. By building strategic management capabilities, high levels of resilience can be achieved. As a result, SMEs can exploit their potential to become a major force for sustainable economic growth, innovation and positive societal impact in Europe.

Collaboration Within the Industry

Addressing issues of sustainability and the potential of circularity demands closer collaboration between and within organisations.

An increasing number of European SMEs are embarking on the green transition, but despite their valuable progress, many barriers still remain.

How we innovate and create value is shifting, from a competitive to a more collaborative mindset. The creation and promotion of open, transparent and secure collaborative ecosystems in Europe can provide support for SMEs. It can facilitate the access to knowledge, expertise, skills and data from different departments within a company and from external companies, based on agreed upon criteria and standards. These ecosystems can remove collaboration barriers related to data incompatibility and risk of IP loss or theft, while ensuring manufacturers can more effectively draw upon valuable resources and information provided by key stakeholders all along the supply chain to help them reach their environmental goals while building a competitive advantage.