Since 1989, Poland has been the European growth champion, more than doubling its GDP per capita in the period.
But Poland’s pace of growth may slow without enhanced innovation. Despite a substantial increase in R&D spending over the last decade, Poland still occupies a close-to-the bottom position in innovation rankings.
In 2016, the EU granted Poland almost €10 Billion to create innovation. The challenge was how to use these funds efficiently to start shifting from imitating others to generating new ideas, from quantity to quality, and from potato chips to microchips.
Through a new process called “Entrepreneurial Discovery” Poland identified 15 innovation drivers.
This new bottom-up approach helps identify the real needs of enterprises and their innovation potential so that the public sector can adjust support instruments accordingly.
The Smart Lab process in Dolnoslaskie identified a business area with large potential - a second generation CNC machines - which could help verify or strengthen one of the National Smart Specializations - Automation and Robotics.
By following this bottom-up approach, this survey was able to identify a small company leveraging second generation CNC machines with tremendous success and influence similar innovative approaches in the area.
The government, ultimately responsible for the decision on where to allocate the EU money, would have never considered this technology as part of their strategy, proving the validity of this bottom-up approach to discovering innovation champions.
Based on analysis performed on 500 questions per questionnaire, the following 5 key features were the most significant factors that characterize an “innovation champion”: