Detailed insights into sectoral innovation performance are essential for the development of effective innovation policy at regional, national and European levels. At the end of 2005, the European Commission awarded a contract to a consortium of leading European innovation organisations to support the process of adapting existing, and designing new, tailor-made, innovation policies. In a nutshell, this is what the Sectoral Innovation Watch (SIW) was all about. Its overall aim was to provide policy-makers and innovation professionals with a better understanding of current sectoral innovation dynamics across Europe and the results obtained during the first phase (2005-2008) showed that the situation varies greatly at both country and sectoral level. However, the project has identified key challenges in all sectors and made real headway in formulating a strategy for greater innovation in Europe.
A fundamental question is to what extent and why innovation performance differs across sectors. During the second SIW project phase (2008-2010), the activities on innovation indicators, models and statistical analyses at sectoral level were continued with updates and a further deepening, along with qualitative analyses. A number of changes compared to the first project phase applied. In addition to the six sectors of biotechnology, food and drink, electrical and optical equipment, automotive, space and aeronautics and textiles in the first phase, three new sectors of wholesale and retail trade, knowledge intensive services and construction had been added. Also, the horizontal focus had been extended to the five themes of eco-innovation, gazelles, organisational innovation, lead markets and national specialisation. More than before is future a focal part of the Sectoral Innovation Watch, with foresight of sectoral innovation challenges and opportunities as one of its major tasks. This was a highly participatory exercise that involved different groups of actors, in an attempt to shape the future. The horizontal themes and the sectors were analysed in close concert, using a so-called ‘matrix approach’ that enabled the taking into account of important cross-linkages between sectors. The "Innovation Panel per sector" approach used in the first project phase had undergone major change, with only five panels being established for this period. More information about these panels can be found online under the "Activities" and "News and Events" sections of Sectoral Innovation Watch. Apart from the dedicated panels, innovation specialists from industry, academia and government (EU, Member States) played a major role in the Sectoral Innovation Watch, for instance as participants in the two Foresight Workshops that held in June and December 2009.
The results of the Sectoral Innovation Watch Phase I (2005-2008) are available here
The presentation of the phase II is available here: Presentation of the Sectoral Innovation Watch phase II