Open access and open innovation in Lisbon Strategy

Posted by Žiga Turk on 16/03/08

Another modern touch in the updated Lisbon Strategy is a reference to Open access to knowledge and Open innovation, both in the context of 5th freedom:

“Member States and the EU must remove barriers to the free movement of knowledge by creating a “fifth freedom” based on enhancing the cross-border mobility of researchers, as well as students, scientists, and university teaching staff, making the labor market for European researchers more open and competitive”

It is the free movement of the entire creative class that can make sure that in Europe we can put the best person to the job. Each individual member state is too small a market for the highly skilled and their movement is hampered through all kinds of obstacles. But the phrasing “cross-border mobility of the creative class” or “cross-border mobility of talents” did not pass under the bar. Member states do have a broader vision. For example, the discussion paper of the UK government “Realizing Britain’s Potential: Future Strategic Challenges for Britain” has a subtitle “Unlocking Talent“.

The 5th freedom, as originally proposed by the (incidentally) Slovenian commissioner for Research dr. Poto?nik, was understood as movement of knowledgeable people. But the free movement of knowledge can mean so much more. The European leaders added

facilitating and promoting the optimal use of intellectual property created in public research organisations so as to increase knowledge transfer to industry, in particular through an “IP Charter” to be adopted before the end of the year and encouraging open access to knowledge and open innovation.

The text provides a clear acknowledgement that creativity and innovation are no longer locked into some closed institutional frameworks. Moreover, to bring the masses into the creative processes they need access to knowledge and the leaders stated very clearly “encouraging open access to knowledge and open innovation“. This is the language that the top EU political elite would use for Web 2.0 participatory innovation and the open access movement.

The door is open. Specific policies need to follow!

One Response to Open access and open innovation in Lisbon Strategy

  1. Jon
    Comment by Jon | 2008/04/29 at 10:01:01

    Free movement of knowledge is clearly of vital importance in the EU!

    Looking at the larger picture, are we doing enough to build pan-European “knowledge management” strengths? . . . including cooperative knowledge generation (i.e., basic and applied research) + knowledge sharing, transfer, access and absorption.

    It is regrettable that EU countries are “unenthusiastic about R&D cooperation” [based on http://www.euractiv.com/en/science/eu-countries-unenthusiastic-rd-cooperation/article-171915?Ref=RSS.

    However, our knowledge management challenge in the EU extends beyond the lack of R&D cooperation and the decline in our share of global R&D spending [based on OECD data]. The challenge includes (a) building strengths in all aspects of knowledge management; and (b) creating an environment which — as Slovenia has clarified — encourages open access to knowledge and the “innovation ecosystem”.

    Who is the visionary leader with responsibilities and resources to take Europe in the right direction in regard to cooperative knowledge management?

    Perhaps Slovenia should take the lead in nominating someone for the important role of “EU Chief Knowledge Officer”!


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Žiga Turk, professor, former minister and secretary general of the Reflection Group writes about the future of growth, innovation, technology, sustainable development, creativity etc. more.



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