The European Innovation Council: What’s Next?

It’s taken awhile, but policymakers around the world have finally gotten the message that future economic prosperity depends on innovation.  Governments need to nurture innovation, and when necessary, also know when to get out of the way.   Europe is now in the midst of this debate, as the European Union (EU) assesses the potential for a Europe-wide Innovation Council.   The European Innovation Council concept was first broached by EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas as means to create something of a one-stop shop for EU-driven innovation policies.   The jury is still out on the concept, but it is triggering an interesting debate on what the Council might do and what are the benefits of this type of organization.  While the current tenor of the U.S. Presidential campaign does not suggest that we will soon engage in a reasoned debate about innovation policy, the EU discussions are relevant as the U.S. also thinks about how best to promote innovation.   Whether we dust off older ideas about a U.S. Department of Competitiveness or think about other innovation policy models, we also need to be rethinking how best to foster innovation.  For this reason alone, the EU Innovation Council consultations will be useful and instructive.

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