inDemand spreads funders’ insights

May 06, 2020




If you are a funding organisation, you will probably agree with me on this statement: it is not always easy to make things different when promoting innovation. We all want to boost innovation and support companies along the way – to find the best way to do it is our big challenge.

inDemand has been fresh air for us in terms of launching innovative calls because of its model – healthcare organisations and companies co-create digital health solutions with the financial support of public regional funds. Why is this model innovative? inDemand applies both demand-driven and co-creation approaches at the same time.

This model boosts co-creation with a higher success rate than just one organisation standing alone. However, to achieve this, all the organisations involved –challengers (healthcare organisations), funders (funding bodies), supporters (business support experts), and solvers (companies)- need to work under clear and well-coordinated rules in order to succeed.

I am sharing with you the lessons learned from the three inDemand funders (INFO in Murcia, Paris Region Enterprises in Ille de France and Oulu Council in Oulu). I hope these tips will be useful for your organisation in case of implementing this innovative model – which is something that I truly recommend.


Top recommendations:


1. Launch well defined demand-driven calls for better applications

inDemand applies a bottom-up approach, meaning that the identification of challenges is done in healthcare units by their professionals, not necessarily following the traditional regional strategies that we are used to.

Since the “unmet need” to solve is very concrete, the outcome is a lower number of applications though of much better quality.


2. Create links outside the region

The funders’ role has been important not only by managing the project’s regional implementation, but also by acting as a link among regional and national organisations and networks.

Many of the solvers come from outside the region. This gives new outputs to the regional RDI-cluster. Vice versa, this also promotes internationalisation of local SME’s. inDemand has highlighted innovation in healthcare in a way which accelerates new investment in the regions.


3. Publish as wide as possible

To get the best solutions for healthcare organisations and patients, competitive and market intelligence studies should be done and presented to public funders. With this perspective, if the public funder organises a call for tender, it should be as broad as possible: national, European, worldwide.


4. Move towards “open innovation” with an ecosystems-centric approach

The inDemand approach enables a collaborative way of developing sustainable-oriented innovations in healthcare, counting on different stakeholders. This movement towards “open innovation” requires new concepts and methods to move from an individual approach to a regional one. Such new approach should encompass the co-creation logic of openness, ecosystemic collaboration and continuous development.


5. Use these lessons for 2021

Co-creation will be one of the key development approaches in EU’s 2021-2027 programming period. inDemand has created a theorical framework and tested co-creation in practice. Murcia, Paris and Oulu regions are forerunners of co-creation and will use these lessons also in the near future.


After this inDemand experience, we defend co-creation as game-changer in terms of innovation to come true. Also notice that, even though the inDemand project has been implemented in the field of healthcare, any other sector would fit in the model. I cannot more than invite you to work in this direction.


Mikko Väisänen

Oulu Council




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