Mobile Innovation Hubs LebanonLearning platform for Open Innovation

Background Information

The overall goal of the training is to build a general picture of innovation hub development. With the structure and content, the training aims to create instrumental insights for the participants in the areas of ecosystems charting, aligning services with the local context and intended offering and in service and business development. The context of bringing local case studies and hub development into the picture aims to create a high-end relevance for the participants in localizing the content and in enabling peer to peer learning and sharing of experiences. Within the teamwork sessions, the training also enables the concrete definition of next steps in the development of local innovation hubs on multiple fronts, always in the context of local development needs. It should be noted that this training manual is presented as a generic one, to be used in many different contexts, with the undepinning assumption that innovation hubs are always linked to local ecosystems.

Role of the World Bank

Aligned with its Global ICT strategy the World Bank ICT Group is working together with forward-looking public organizations to understand how to move focus on innovation process from the provision of services to the development and management of ecosystems around these services. Parallel to this top-down innovation systems are transforming into collaborative innovation ecosystems.

Towards future connectivity

Enhanced connectivity, mobile phones, and the use of social media have radically altered the citizen’s behavior everywhere. Digitalization can also help to reorganize service development as officials can now harness real time data – collected from sensor webs or crowd-sourced from citizens – and customize content for various constituencies by language, location, and device. As service creation is increasingly steered by demand and based on shared knowledge, providers must pay greater attention to users’ needs and develop an understanding of how to orchestrate collaborative service development process. Cities with their diverse population can provide controlled environment for prototyping technologies, applications, and business models for public services. These urban “Ecosystems” connect actors and factors through intermediaries that not only provide more efficient services but also bring growth, participation and the redefining of citizenship in the XXI century.

From innovation systems to innovation ecosystems

As connectivity is changing the picture, the concept of innovation systems, developed in the early 80’s, is also mutating into complex innovation ecosystems, as services and businesses engage the users of their products and services as active participants. The top-down innovation systems that involve government, knowledge creators such as the universities and the private sector are becoming more and more driven by bottom-up agendas of users, clients, customers, civic activists, non-governamental organizations and like actors. The concept of value is also seeing a major change through new technologies. The so-called pipeline business that was the norm of yesterday is changing into pltformd business, where products and services are vague, multilevel and involve many actors. These platforms need new types of szervice and business mindsets and in most cases can only be fully developed through extensive experimentation. As a result of this, strategic planning and management is becoming a real-time, real-life driven activity, and the practice of everyday is informing strategy on an opewrational level, implying that long term future plans are easily invalidated and agility and the ability to change rapidly are the new cornerstones of service delivery.

The infuence of users

While users are seen to be important source of innovation in many ways, there are also limits to the understanding that today’s consumers and users of products and services have. When confronted with the challenges of developing new offering for the markets, entrepreneurs, start-ups and established businesses all have challenges in terms of communication the value that they offer. New products do not open up to consumers and if one is too far into the future, and things are not adopted at all. Sometimes it takes decades for new ideas to travel from labs to the shelves of shops. Products and services are also coming together. Whereas today products are often simple to copy, as are also services, joining user and customer interaction with products and services into product-service systems creates a whole new series of opportunities to create sustainable value that is very hard to imitate. Businesses are increasingly looking at occupying this “sweet spot of innovation” in their offering. This is demonstrated in the increase of intangible value that companies demonstrate. The wealth is not longer in bricks and mortar, or stocks and inventory, but in managing and controlling ideas, material flow, knowledge and processes. In this new world, the key challenge is the speed in which planning, doing and controlling melt together into an unending cycle of management. In other words, speed is essential and products and services need to launch when they are “good enough” and not when they are “perfect”, as that time never comes. All this creates a real need to experiment at all stages of business development, from the first idea to the revitalization of existing activity. It also requires that this experimentation is done based on the innovation ecosystem that the activity is embedded in. The world of services and business is also more and more dependent on collaboration and new ways of thinking.

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