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Data collection accomplished!!: 107 respondents from 22 countries.

The data collection stage of this research on open innovation and EU Twinning Projects has been finished! It has taken us around 3 months to do so, but we have made it, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank again to all those professionals that have kindly accepted to collaborate with this research project completing a pretty long questionnaire.

maps rtas

Thus, 107 participants have completed the online questionnaire from 22 different countries from Europe and its neighbourhood area. Countries as geographically distant such as Finland and Armenia, the United Kingdom and Tunisia, or Spain and Turkey (see the map).

Around 75% of the respondents in the sample have worked in Twinnings as Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) , while the rest have done so under the aegis of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENPI).

As for twinning experience, roughly 25% of participants have more than 6 years experience in Twinning projects, other 25% of the sample, 3 to 4 years experience, and 35%, 1 to 2 years. On the other hand, 44% has worked only in 1 twinning project, around 20% of the sample has participated in 2 projects, and roughly 35% of the sample in 3 twinnings or more.

In the upcoming weeks we will be posting some interesting outputs of the research.

An EU Twinning scheme among Member States?

Are twinning projects a valid model through which the European Commission could contribute to foster open innovation among public administrations of the Member States of the European Union?

This is the key question articulating this research, hence becoming a sort of guiding light to inquire more specifically about issues related to the institutional architecture and management problems of Twinning Projects.

In order to achieve these objectives, this research is seeking the views on these matters from those professionals that have been or are currently closely involved in the execution of Twinning projects, such as Resident Twinning Advisors (RTA) or Project Leaders (PL) from Member States and Beneficiary countries.

Although it is very early indeed to present the results of the research, now that we have already entered in the data collection stage, it is possible, at least, to show how those professional that have accepted to participate so far, have responded to this key general question.

Based on your Twinning Experience, Twinning Projects would be a good model to foster open innovation between the member states of the European Union

Would Twinning Projects Be a Good Model for Fostering Open Innovation between EU Member States?

As I said earlier, these are provisional results from just 25% of the expected sample, and, therefore with no scientific value whatsoever. However, it does provide with an strong indication of what the output might be for this specific question. In this sense, so far we find a massive support for this Twinning model to be implemented between EU Member States from Twinning professionals with 75% of the respondents agreeing (25%) or strongly agreeing (50%) and only 8.33% disagreeing with the idea.

In any case, as long as more professionals accept to participate on the research we will be able to gather a more representative sample.

If you currently are or have been an RTA or PL and wish to participate in this research, please find information to contact us here.

Open Innovation, Open Government and Twinning Projects

Sir Bernard Woolley: What’s wrong with Open Government?

Sir Arnold: My dear boy, it is a contradiction in terms: you can be open or you can have government.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: You just don’t give people what they want if it’s not good for them. You give Brandy to an alcoholic?

This brief passage of “Yes, Minister” mocking the concept of Open Government might be an amusing way to introduce the question of whether open government and open innovation in the public sector (PS) are the same. Often , when talking about open innovation in the public sector, many people tend to confuse both terms; particularly, in the sense that they believe that the field of open innovation is mainly circumscribed to incorporate citizens ideas within the policy innovation process, usually through new communication technologies.

Let me start by stressing, from the very beginning, that this two are not the same at all. Although both Open Government and Open innovation share the “open” idea at their heart, the former focuses on the concept of “transparency” and “access” for ensuring government oversight by citizens, while the latter substantially understands openness as a mechanism to generate innovation in the public administration.

On the other hand, although the expansion of both concepts is, to great extent, linked to the extensive development of information and communication technologies in public administrations, Open Innovation in the PS and Open Government are not exchangeable concepts. In this sense, although Open Innovation in the PS might be often based in the use of new communication technologies, it is not always necessarily the case, as it might be implemented also through other channels, such as knowledge transfer and dissemination through the exchange of expertise between government officials and experts, as the Twinning model example demonstrates.

However, the expansion of Open Government is inextricably connected to the development of ICT, as it has made available great chunks of institutional data on a massive scale. Indeed, you can have, in principle, Open Government without internet but, of course, in practice, it would be not be possible to grant immediate access to the public to such huge amounts of data without this technology.

Finally, understanding these distinctions, somehow, show that actually you can have “open innovation without citizens”, while for Open Government citizen oversight is a crucial feature. Probably, this latter assertion may sound a bit controversial and would need to be discussed thoroughly in a future occasion. However, allow me to stress, again, that Open Innovation in the PS may incorporate citizens in innovation processes, but also, by the contrary, it may not actually do so; as probably Sir Humphrey Appleby from “Yes, Minister” would agree 😉

How does private innovation actually work in the private sector?

Through Open Innovation companies promote the ideas and potential of people outside their organization to make improvements to internal processes or products. Firms search for input outside for finding solutions to some of their most complex problems. Open innovation is also a way for companies to think “outside the box”. In other words, to avoid internal dynamics within the organization that usually lead to repeat over and over methods of problem-solving that are unlikely to produce new ideas.  But, what specific examples of open innovation in private companies can be found? In this post Stefan Lindegaard presents 15 examples of open innovation between big firm and startups that may help the reader to understand what open innovation in the private sector is actually about.

Sending out the first questionnaires

Yesterday we started distributing the survey online questionnaire to the selected sample for this research.

This is a hard stage of the research, given that the potential respondents in the sample are very dispersed in different countries and it is not always easy to reach them even if it is through email. Besides, the response rate for this kind of questionnaires tend to be rather low. Nevertheless, we are confident we can achieve our objectives asap.

You can read below some characteristics of online questionnaires