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A Pioneering Experience in Pre-commercial Public Procurement and Living Labs

Fabrizio Clermont, Francesco Fionda

The various regions throughout Europe are called to play a central role in developing strategies for research and innovation because at this territorial level the activities of economic animation, capacity building, networking of actors in the innovation process can be carried out more effectively. The empirical evidence of the last decade brought about a new concept of open innovation, an approach that goes beyond the traditional and linear model of production of new goods and services and encompasses the entire innovation process (technological, economic, and social) as well as stakeholders, not only SMEs and large enterprises but also the world of research, public administration, citizens, users/consumers, local communities, along common and shared pathways of progress and smart growth. Thanks to Structural Funds and the European programme of territorial cooperation, a network of Italian and French regional public authorities has experienced a common analysis and experimentation of this new concept of innovation. In this framework, one of these authorities, the Italian Region Aosta Valley, has undertaken a pioneering endeavor to adopt modern and dynamic instruments, such as the Living Lab and pre-commercial public procurement, in order to stimulate research and innovation. This pilot action has mobilised significant private investments in research and development (R&D); has made possible the creation, development, prototyping and experimentation in real life conditions of new products/services in highly topical thematic domains; and has demonstrated the relevant contribution of these innovative instruments to industrial research and experimental development in sectors of public societal relevance, with the final aim to deliver better, more efficient and higher quality services.

Fabrizio Clermont, with a degree in civil engineering and a degree in political science, is Director of the Directorate Research, Innovation and Quality in the Regional Ministry of Productive Activities, Energy and Employment of Aosta Valley, Italy. Mr. Clermont manages regional aid schemes for Research, Development and Innovation, and is in charge of projects co-financed by the EU in the fields of research, quality management systems and continuing education.

Francesco Fionda, with a degree in economics and a master of science in quantitative finance and insurance, is Project Manager in the Regional Ministry for Productive Activities, Energy and Employment of Aosta Valley, Italy. As an investment analyst he manages several regional laws, as well as programmes and projects co-financed by the EU providing firms with financial aid, incentive instruments and consultancy services supporting innovation, productive investments and internationalisation.


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