Digital and Open Innovation project


The digital transformation has changed the way economies work and innovation is organised. The OECD project ‘Digital and Open Innovation’ investigates whether and, if so, how digital transformation changes the rationales for innovation policy as well as the most appropriate instruments to foster vibrant innovation ecosystems.

To identify practical policy implications, the project reviews changing business models and new forms of innovation across sectors and different actors, including SMEs, start-ups and research institutions. It also analyses new forms of collaboration for innovation at local, national and global levels. 

The 2017-18 project is conducted under the auspices of the Working Party on Innovation and Technology Policy (TIP) and the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP).

The project in short (PDF)

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Project activities

(1) Innovation policy responses to the challenges of digital transformation

This project puts innovation policies at the core of the analysis in order to:

  • Find appropriate policy responses to new challenges faced by different sectors of the economy and diverse actors within them
  • Explore what innovation policy strategies and instruments (e.g. research and innovation centres to connect business with academia for technology development; ICT innovation vouchers to help SMEs adopt digital technologies) are most effective in view of the demands of the digital transformation
  • Ensure the digital transformation allows for and contributes to sustainable and inclusive growth, offering opportunities for widespread participation in innovation processes 

(2) How does digital transformation affect the ways different sectors innovate?

Digital transformation changes the business models of most sectors of the economy and the ways actors conduct innovation. Differences across and within sectors and countries are often important. Understanding those different experiences is key to design appropriate innovation policies to foster vibrant innovation ecosystems.

The project reviews how digital transformation is changing business models and consequently innovation activities across a range of priority sectors (agri-food, automotive and retail), with a focus on impacts on different actors (e.g. start-ups, SMEs, large firms).


(3) Is digital transformation changing the role of distance for innovation?

Digital transformation is changing the role of geographical proximity for innovation in multiple ways:

  • On the one hand, innovation hot spots, generally dynamic urban areas exemplified by Silicon Valley, have gained in importance in the digital economy as they bring together top talent, attract important financial resources for innovation and function as living laboratories for many digital service innovations.
  • On the other, digital technologies allow for wider opportunities for collaboration in research and innovation activities across geographical boundaries.

These developments raise the risk of rising disparities across regions. The relations and role of public research institutions in innovation may also be affected. 

The project  asks how the digital transformation is changing science-industry collaboration and what role the local, regional, national and global levels play, informing in this way how the national-regional policy responses can best foster competitiveness while maintaining territorial inclusiveness.  

Recent events


Workshop: "Digital Health Innovations"

The Hague and Eindhoven, 11-13 April 2018


Organised jointly by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the OECD

The project Steering Group space

This space is dedicated to discussions and exchanges between the Steering Group members and the OECD Digital and Open Innovation Project team.

Project scope

Related OECD projects

Assessing the impacts of knowledge transfer and policy

This ongoing TIP project focuses on two inter-related themes regarding the transfer of knowledge between industry and science and its impacts:

  • Assessing the impacts of research institutions on innovation performance;
  • Policy instruments and mixes for spin-off creation.

Access the project's website 

The second phase of the project focused on the following priority themes: 

  • The impacts of digital innovation on market structures and distribution of income
  • The contribution of digital products and services to social inclusion
  • The distribution of innovation capacities across regions within countries
  • The role inclusive innovation policies can play in tackling inclusiveness challenges

  Access the project's website

Relevant OECD reports

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