The META Innovation Platform helps cities and regions to boost innovation through the implementation of challenge-based programmes.

The META Innovation Platform combines everything we’ve learnt about fostering knowledge-intensive startups at the urban level.

The story of European innovation is increasingly a story of urban ecosystems – cities constantly refining and developing their innovation fabric to both foster home-grown startups and attract others from across the continent.

In parallel, large companies are increasingly supporting startups, which provide them with new solutions and business opportunities.

META’s Innovation Platform brings them together, along with other city-level stakeholders, in a carefully designed process to:

  • Solve local urban problems
  • Stimulate local high-growth, knowledge-intensive companies
  • Connect them to new markets and investors across Europe
We developed the Innovation Platform by adapting the originally US challenge-based innovation process to a European setting, notably via the TWIST and research projects.
We have since developed it considerably to make it more flexible, and to reflect the lessons we learnt.

Challenge-driven innovation

The Innovation Platform is designed around challenge-driven innovation.

Challenge-based innovation ensures startups are fostered for needs which exist locally. It follows a four-stage process:

  • Ecosystem profiling: the city and other stakeholders identify the city’s Unique Service Proposition and map its Local Champions
  • Challenge definition: the city identifies and priorities the key challenges (a demand-driven task requiring specific, working, sustainable solutions) it wants to tackle, in the process engaging the local ecosystem and local champions
  • Launch Challenges: roadshows and other communication activities, supported by a dedicated online platform, mobilise stakeholders around the Challenges, each led by a Challenge Owner
  • Implement Challenges: a tailored series of workshops, pitching sessions and mentoring activities, underpinned by online training and support, help local entrepreneurs launch startups to meet the city’s Challenges.
The result: startups with innovative products and services, each precisely designed to meet the needs of a Challenge Owner, who becomes their first client. But they get a lot more than that.

European growth

Each city’s Innovation Platform then benefits from META’s Europe-wide network of cities, startups and investors.

Most cities, after all, face similar problems. Apart from helping local entrepreneurs solve their city’s challenges, each Innovation Platform also brings the resulting startups to new investors and new markets – other cities with similar problems – across Europe.

Each city’s Innovation Platform therefore does not just solve each city’s specific problems – it turns the city into a challenge-driven Innovation ecosystem, nurturing its entrepreneurs and launching them across Europe.

In the process, the city becomes more attractive for startups from across the continent, and more competitive at creating growth.

Each Innovation Platform is tailored to each city’s specific challenges and assets, so get in touch to learn more.

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