Project Details

Title: Promoting Cross-Innovation in European Cities and Regions
Priority: 1: Innovation and the knowledge economy
Theme: Innovation, research and technology development

Type of intervention

Type of intervention: 1: Regional Initiative Project
Mini-programme: No
Duration: 1st Jan 2012 - 31st Dec 2014


Total budget: €2,240,235.16
ERDF contribution: €1,750,795.47

Lead partner

Birmingham City University
University House, 15 Bartholomew Row, Birmingham
B5 5JU, Birmingham

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: Dr. Steve Harding
      Phone: 0044 (0)121 3315606
      Fax: 0044 (0) 121 3315256

Project summary



Project Cross-Innovation focusses on experience exchange between 11 leading European cities in relation to the promotion of collaborative and user-driven innovation that happens across sectoral, organisational, technological and geographic boundaries (= cross-innovation). In this context, a specific focus rests on policies and support measures that enable cross-innovation and creative spillovers between creative sectors and other industries. The partnership consists of 11 metropolitan hotspots that have the potential to put cross-innovation on the top of local and regional policy agendas across Europe: Birmingham, Amsterdam, Rome, Berlin, Tallinn, Warsaw, Vilnius, Stockholm, Linz, Lisbon, Plzen.


Cross-Innovation is a key policy priority of EU 2020 and its flagship initiative Innovation Union. Improving metropolitan cities' expertise in this field will help meet the Lisbon and Gothenbourg objectives underpinning INTERREG IVC.

The project focusses on practices in 4 sub-themes:


• Smart Incentives - innovative types of finance that enable cross-innovation

• Culture-based Innovation - schemes that unleash innovation in business and the public sector by introducing artistic and creative practices

• Brokerage - services that build bridges between sectors by connecting cross innovation enablers with beneficiaries

• Spatial Cross-Collaboration - services offered to companies in co-working spaces, incubators, fab-labs, science parks and to local clusters


Each partner champions such practices in its respective city. To further learn about them the partnership will put in place a participative programme of experience-exchange events designed to stimulate high levels of stakeholder buy-in from diverse domains of the innovation eco-system. It will seek to improve local policies through "cross-innovation policy clinics".

Cross innovation with SMEs will run throughout the project (C3C). It will examine how local support can enable companies that operate in co-working spaces and incubators to collaborate in order to develop their products and services for other markets and overcome EU market fragmentation.




• 11 leading cities that champion cross-innovation

• Linking creative sectors such as games, design, audiovisual, digital media, advertising, etc. - to "beneficiary" sectors to improve innovation capacities

• Breaking down "silo-thinking" between governmental departments as well as in business and industry

• Innovative site visits, policy events and a pilot in relation to the above policy sub-themes

• A social media strategy that triggers a bottom-up cross-innovation policy movement across the EU

• Collaboration agreements with EUROCITIES and the European Creative Business Network to increase outreach and impact

• 11 local implementation plans

Project achievements

By the term "cross innovation" we understand a process by which creative industries share information, collaborate and work with other growth sectors to generate new thinking. The objective of the project is to see how, in policy terms, cities can support cross innovation through the themes of Finance, Culture-Based Interventions, Brokerage and Space. The first phase of the project began in February 2012, at a meeting held in Birmingham (UK), at which partner cities agreed work packages and initiated key activities. Partners were asked to analyse their current sectoral strengths, resulting in city-specific matrices. Later, this data was combined to create a consolidated "heat-map", providing an overview of activity across Europe. After the initial meeting, each city established a Local Implementation Group (LIG) consisting of city representatives, policy experts, SMEs and researchers; the purpose of these groups was to advise on the potential for cross innovation at a local level.

The LIGs analysed city activity across the project's four themes, each submitting 4 examples of good practice. These were added to the Cross Innovation website and analysed by Dr Paul Long of Birmingham City University, who wrote up his findings in a review document, outlining significant trends. Two pieces of research were commissioned, to help better define the topic of the project: a "Manifesto for Innovation" and a "Short Study on Cross Innovation". The Manifesto, co-authored by Patrick Van Der Duin and Luca De Biase, was designed as a call to industry, the research community and the public sector, to break down silo-thinking. The short study was authored by Belgrave & Co using interviews with representatives from partner cities. Global examples of successful practice were identified, creating a frame of reference for future project activities. In the period Jul to Dec 2012, the main focus was on sharing experiences through Study Visits. 5 were arranged and delivered.

In the period Jan to Jun 2013, the project focused on developing tools through Policy Clinics. 6 were arranged and delivered. The results from these were written up as key points and included in a Toolkit which was published in June 2014. In the period Jul - Dec 2013, the project centred on Internationalisation of SMEs and LIP development. At General Meeting 3, Stockholm 24/25 September, a Workshop on Local Implementation Plans allowed partners to further develop their city-specific thinking. 12 LIPs were completed by the end of Dec 2014, with Birmingham, Tallinn and Amsertdam all making policy improvements. In addition, an intercity network of brokers was established, which identified and profiled SMEs ready for internationalisation. This work continued into the period Jan - Jun 2014. At General Meeting 4. Berlin, over 100 participants took part in an Internationalisation Workshop, allowing SMEs to find Cross Innovation partners across sectors and city boundaries.

Also in this period, Multiplicities completed their report on the sectors most likely to Internationalise. An Interregional Workshop was organised in Tallinn, 14 May 2014, which focused on Policy Learning and Transfer of Good Practice. From Jul - Dec 2014, the Final Conference was held on 16/17 October and a network of cross innovation researchers was established. Over the life of the project 4 good practices were transferred, 4 regional policies improved and 5 new project ideas generated.


In terms of communication, 4 video clips were created at the Final Conference alongside 1 press release and 2 newsletters. 4 Local Dissemination Events were organised, to promote policy learning and 8 external presentations were delivered, reaching 450+ people. In addition, 14 organisations signed the project's Memorandum of Understanding, showing support across Europe. Further impact was achieved through social media and articles on the project, alongside continued use of the project's website.


Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
Birmingham City University, Birmingham UNITED KINGDOM West Midlands 0044 (0)121 3315606
Amsterdam Economic Board, Amsterdam NETHERLANDS Noord-Holland 0031 20 5241120
Province of Rome - Department XII - Innovation and Enterprise - Servizio 1 "Servizi alle Imprese", Roma ITALY Lazio 667664917
Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Research, Berlin GERMANY Berlin 0049 30 9013 7477 /-8156
Tallinn City Enterprise Board, Tallinn ESTONIA Eesti 00372 640 4425
City of Warsaw, Warszawa POLAND Mazowieckie 48224431071
Vilnius City Municipal Government Administration, Vlinius LITHUANIA Lietuva 00370 5 211 2413
City of Stockholm/Hägersten-Liljeholmen City Council, Stockholm SWEDEN Stockholm 46850823092
City of Linz - Wirtschaftsservice, Linz AUSTRIA Oberösterreich 0043 70 7070 2316
Municipality of Lisbon, Lisboa PORTUGAL Lisboa 351213236172
Pilsen 2015, Plzen CZECH REPUBLIC Jihozapad 420378035360
CREATIVE REGION Linz & Upper Austria Ltd., Linz AUSTRIA Oberösterreich +43 732 77 22 72 42 00
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