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High Road or Thorny Trail? Redesigning EU Innovation Policy in a Turbulent World

It is a truism that innovation is the key tool to stimulate economic growth and strengthen competitive-ness and employment opportunities. By re-ordering, upgrading and enriching decisive elements of the presently rudimentary rather than comprehensive approach of EU innovation policy an innovation-conducive environment can be created. Whereas the traditional linear model of innovation prioritizes scientific research as the basis of innovation and suggests that change happens in a successive fashion from research via invention to innovation to diffusion and marketing, the approach put forward in this paper provides a much richer picture of the way innovation works and how it can be stimulated and fostered. 
We deploy the idea of innovation ecosystems, i.e. a set of ideas, institutions, instruments, policies, regulations and factors that interact in a complex way and determine the level, direction, outcome, productivity and degree of competitiveness from innovations. A realm characterized by clear, simple, efficient, smart, low-complex, competition-based and socially-accepted features will be best-suited and conducive to prompt and promote innovation. The removal of bottlenecks and obstacles to innovation are the tall order of the day.
As the Single Market or the Common Currency once were, a European Decade of Innovation should be the new overarching vision for the EU, a benchmark for its actions. It is meant to serve the European Common Good: the best living and working conditions for the peoples of Europe, the modernization and maintenance of its unique societal model and the blueprint for an economic powerhouse. It requires overcoming the system failures in the EU governance model, once designed for other tasks in the less complex economic and political world of more than 50 years ago. 
Only if we radically re-design EU and Members States policies for innovation, we may look back 20 years from now on the present as the dawn of the Smart Innovation Era: a time when rapid and continuous innovations changed almost everything about the way we live, how we produce, consume, communicate, interact and participate in our polities.