Technological innovation is the most popular and there is a plethora of publications on it, such as Technology and Innovation, Journal of the National Academy of Inventors, International Journal of Innovation Management, Journal of Innovation Economics and Management, European Journal of Innovation Management, Journal of Innovation Management, Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Journal of Innovation Science and many others representing respective points of view. Many related papers are available on and on

The European Database Cordis ( is a real treasure and resource for innovation. It contains all publications on European Research Programs and results since its beginning by the Spirit 1 program in 1984.

As innovation is often associated with industry, design is an innovation field per se; many publications focus on product, technology related to design and product lifecycle management (PLM) (Stark, 2004). Industrial tools for design as, for example, CATIA provides 3D library of forms, knowledge about materials and product related constraints checking facilities. However, in many fields and in SMEs basic technology is only used to support innovation activities, if innovation is managed.

Newly, ecodesign ambitions in integrating environmental principles into design activities of all involved professionals. The Convergence project is among examples of such integration with strong focus on what is required by norms and environmental aspects (Ecodesign Your Future, 2012; Zhang et al., 2013).

Biomimicry, or nature inspired design is a step to conceive more respectful products if their ecosystems are considered. Nature is full of ingenious solutions, people have to observe and learn more from environment instead of destroying it (Mercier-Laurent, 2015).

Because technological innovation did not brought expected results in Europe in term of growth and job creation, the other forms of innovation are now encouraged and experimented such as ecoinnovation (Ecoinnovation, 2015) and social innovation (This is European Social Innovation, 2010).

Ecoinnovation focuses mainly on generating business from planet protection—intelligent management of energy and water, smart transportation, recycling and ecodesign. Any form of innovation leading to the improvement of environment protection is considered, such as new production processes, new products and services, new management methods, as well as all uses or implementations able to prevent and reduce environmental risks: pollution and other negative impacts due to the use of resources in the lifecycle of human activities. Priorities are transportation, recycling, use of sustainable building techniques and materials, cleaner production and packaging techniques for food and drinks and the recognition of environmental criteria for purchases, and adoption of a rational use of resources by companies.

The social innovation powered by technological platforms facilitates communication and “trade of ideas”; social networks connect people and play sometimes a role of brainstorming support. Many topics are addresses such as fixing Greek economy, solving migrants’ problems, distributing goods, connecting people offering services with those who need them. The hidden objective of social innovation is to involve PhD from “soft sciences” to the innovation process.

Economists, influenced by environmental concern and those involved in Corporate Social Responsibility push “product-service” (Buclet, 2015) and circular economy. Product-service economy interest in generating revenue not from sales of products, but from sales of services that product can offer; for example, Michelin sales the function of bearing instead of tires.

The objective of circular economy is a continuous development cycle that preserves and enhances natural capital, optimizes resource yields, and minimizes system risks by managing finite stocks and renewable flows.

“All material are recycled indefinitely, all energy is derived from renewable, human activities support ecosystems and the rebuilding of natural capital, resources are used to generate values, human activities support human health and happiness, and healthy and cohesive society and culture (Webster, 2015).”

Circular economy prefers repairing instead of recycling. But the main problem with recycling is that spare parts and repairing cost today more than buying a new product.

Knowledge Economy—related to Knowledge Management—is about generation of values from knowledge, which is also embedded in products and services, for ex design and reparation requires knowledge and knowhow (Amidon et al., 2005). For instance we are used to estimate the ROI in financial term, but accounting of intangible appears now in some reports (Pablos and Edvinsson, 2015). According to the World Bank (, knowledge economies are defined by four pillars: institutional structures that provide incentives for entrepreneurship and the use of knowledge, skilled labor availability and good education systems, ICT infrastructure and access, and, a vibrant innovation landscape that includes academia, the private sector and civil society.

The emergence of innovation as a mean to impulse growth and job creation made it trendy but the performances are not measured and the right indicators are still missing. Only short-term economic impact is evaluated. Some institutions measure number of start-up created but not their “death rate,” neither the reason of fail. Innovation is not really managed in most of companies and institutions.

Innovation in management methods and organizational innovation follow the trends, but Collaborative innovation involving selected users is at its beginning.

There are few publications on innovation metrics, mainly limited to statistics (Frascati Manual, 2002, 2015), only few publications are related to technology and intelligent technology (Mercier-Laurent, 2005, 2011; Mercier-Laurent and Pachet, 2013) supporting the overall innovation process. Recently European Union introduced evaluation of the innovative potential of selected funded research projects.

The innovation facets are shown in Figure 2.1.

European Union has invested in education and research. Many interesting prototypes with high potential of innovation were developed in the framework of successive programs Esprit 1, Esprit 2, 6th Framework Program, 7th Framework Program and recent Horizon 2020 (Horizon, 2020).

Open Innovation Strategy and Policy Group was created to promote open innovation integrating researchers, companies and territories (Curley and Salmelin, 2013). The research results should be now transformed into commercial products and services—“Succeed in getting research results to market” is among three challenges expressed by Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation last July (Moedas, 2015).

Innovation spectrum

FIGURE 2.1 Innovation spectrum.

The Frascati Manual 2015 as well European Union distinguishes two activities: research and innovation. Implementation is considered as “innovation process” (Frascati Manual, 2015).

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