Study highlights importance of changing attitudes to innovation

Brussels, 19 January 2012 – The fourth INNO-GRIPS II workshop – Social attitudes toward fostering entrepreneurship and innovation demand – was held to validate a study carried out by the Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT).

The event attracted over 60 participants from a wide range of backgrounds, including policy makers, innovation specialists, consultants, academics and business leaders. During the morning session, the methodology and key findings of the study were presented by the team from UNU-MERIT. Introducing the research, Hugo Hollanders outlined the importance of understanding social attitudes to innovation: “Innovation is not something which should be taken for granted; Europe not only needs to invest more resources to improve its innovativeness but it should also improve the framework conditions for innovation… Only when consumers are receptive to purchasing innovative products and services do the innovations by entrepreneurs become commercially viable.”

The workshop participants and experts were given the opportunity to share their feedback on the two topics of fostering entrepreneurship and demand for innovation. The study team will use their recommendations to further develop the study for final publication.

The study provided a number of novel insights into innovation policy and recommended a number of actions to change social attitudes. These include long-term subsidies lowering the cost price of innovative products, awareness-building measures to emphasise the benefits of innovations, and the introduction of labels to act as guarantees of their quality and potential use.

The experts stressed the importance of collecting new statistical data for studying social attitudes toward innovation and entrepreneurship. More specifically, they suggested a number of new aspects to be considered when assessing social attitudes. Anna Romboli, Director of Communications at the innovative design company Ergonomidesign, pointed to the quality of an innovation, the enjoyment to be gained from it and its affordability as very important factors to how innovations are perceived.


The study was developed under the INNO-GRIPS II programme in the context of the European Commission’s PRO-INNO Europe initiative, and is the fourth out of six studies of relevance to innovation policy making.

The key objective of INNO-GRIPS II is to provide intelligence to support policy makers in adopting appropriate policy responses to emerging innovation needs, trends and phenomena. It analyses framework conditions, barriers and drivers to innovation and innovation policy and offers intelligence on international developments in these fields. The project is coordinated by the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) and financed by the PRO-INNO programme of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enterprise & Industry.

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