The views I will share with the reader in this brief note must be considered in a context, that of an intermediate region or country in a critical moment, that of an deep economic crisis that has challenged the economic growth paradigm of Spain.
From my point of view, and centred on the above context, the future of innovation is based on four basic challenges. The first is how can we really upgrade the innovative dynamism of our industry composed of a large mass of SMEs and of micro enterprises. Clearly, and based in our research, the new innovation paradigms such as open innovation, networks, clusters etc. will play a relevant role alongside the involvement and commitment of knowledge centres (universities, RTCs) in their activities. Moreover, absorption capacity of these firms will have to be improved. A second challenge has to deal with traditional industry which has lost their leadership as a consequence of global economic change. Here, innovation had to do with repositioning in the value chain, being able to create value (design, services, branding, etc.) for the final customer. KIS (knowledge Intensive Services) have proved to be a good catalyser. A third challenge is innovation in management. According to a bestseller recently published: The future of management, management is an un explored area from the innovation point of view and here in Spain, Zara or Irizar are a very good example. Finally, a fourth challenge is that of the innovation in services linked to leisure such as hospitality, tourism, travelling or cooking. The advantage here is the peculiarity of their added value potential in relation to health, growth or environment.
However, the main lessons we can learn from the actual economic situation are that we are now confronting a new era, where we must think creatively of new innovation paradigms, scenarios, products, sustainability, etc. Many sectors, in spite of their innovative drive, are still anchored in old thinking models which date back to the beginning of the twentieth century and the automobile industry is a good example. Others, face dramatic strategic changes where new competitors may appear in the industry and the aerospace industry mat serve as a good illustration.