7 August 2011

Industrial innovation: Final evaluation of the Lead Market Initiative

Shift in innovation policy focus to a demand-side approach is reflected in the European Commission Innovation Union flagship

The final evaluation of the Lead Market Initiative signals a greater emphasis on the demand-side stimulation of innovation.

The report concludes that:

  • The LMI’s novel architecture was an innovation in itself.This resulted in interactions with new groups (some of whom are not used to operating at an EU level), and using untried procedures to deliver at both policy and implementation levels.

  • The major strength of the LMI is its potential to focus on a relatively restricted number of inter-related policy issues. The choice of instruments (public procurement, standards, regulation and ‘complementary actions’) was appropriate, and provided justifiable EU-added value in most instances.
  • Action plans have mostly delivered, and promising results were evident. There is a clear advantage in being able to address inter-related issues in regulation, procurement, standards and complementary actions as a distinct package. The challenge now will be the follow-up of the actions, so that they can have a lasting impact.
  • The choice of the 6 markets was just; they were relevant for the EU level, had (Single) market characteristics, contributed to common (societal) challenges and could be supported by the proposed toolbox of instruments. In some cases, the choice of the markets did not correspond to the Member States’ priorities.
  • Since the LMI is a demand-side innovation policy (as opposed to supply-side funding), it did not have a dedicatedbudget. A lot has been achieved with very limited budgets (estimated total of € 153 from FP and CIP funds over 4 years). It is highlighted as a particular success that the LMI triggered a number of calls under the FP7 and CIP to support the implementation of action plans; demonstration and innovation-type projects, market studies, standardisation mandates, and networks of public procurers.
  • Industry representatives and other stakeholders have made a significant contribution throughout, and they have become important drivers in 3 sectors (bio-based products, eHealth and protective textiles).

Examples of progress achieved in the 6 sectors:

Bio based products

  • Mandates to elaborate several new European standards in the area of bio based products have been issued and accomplished


  • The main success within eHealth has been in the complementary issues – especially with regard to greater interoperability through actions such as the establishment of the CALLIOPE network and the epSOS(Smart Open Services for European Patients)

Protective textiles

  • A Network of Public Authorities responsible for procuring which seeks to promote the innovative use of protective textiles through public procurement processes, particularly in relation to the fire and rescue services, is established.


  • Too some extent, the LMI has helped to raise the profile of demand-side factors in environment policy

Renewable energy

  • Many of the action plan’s actions have been followed up, however, this has been within other policy frameworks (e.g. SET Plan, RES Directive),

Sustainable construction

  • The LMI provided added value to the sector by devising a programme of pragmatic, inter-related actions, that have been able to act as a focus for achieving important changes (e.g. public procurement networks, skills, SME needs) and engaged new stakeholder groups

  • Establishing a Network of Public Authorities which connects public authorities looking to procure innovative and sustainable solutions within their construction projects.

Next steps and follow-up
The shift in innovation policy focus to a demand-side approach is reflected in the European Commission Innovation Union flagship, where LMI tools such as standardisation, public procurement and regulation are seen as vital tools to create a more innovative Europe. The Flagship also launched the concept of European Innovation Partnerships where demand and supply side tools will work together to solve some of the major societal challenges Europe is currently facing.

At the same time, the Industry Policy Flagship prioritised a number of sectors for which the LMI-type approach could be used in the future, as well as continued; construction, textiles, chemical industry, bio-based products, KETs and resource efficiency.

Source: European Commission, 2011-08.

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