Cross Innovation

Four brochures, 17 events, 22 presentations, over 2000 participants, 66 group meetings, 23 new ideas, 11 policy implementation plans and three improved local policies.  After three years the project comes to a close, but our work continues.

About Cross Innovation

This unique partnership between 11 cities aimed to promote collaborative and user-driven innovation across sectoral, organisational, technological and geographic boundaries. The focus lied on policies and support measures to enable cross innovation between creative and other industries and to put cross innovation on top of the regional policy agendas throughout Europe. Learn more <link - external-link-new-window "Opens internal link in current window">here</link>.

The potential for creative economy SMEs to work with other growth SMEs and to bring this to an international level has been proved, says Steve Harding, project Director. “I believe this is  a key policy message for cities and regions – support SMEs in the growth sectors to connect with creative firms. Together they will create new opportunities at home and abroad. A good example and culmination of this approach is the Innovation Interface event in Berlin on March 24th 2014. Here 105 firms met and collaborated”. Another highlight event is the Final Conference in Birmingham on November 17th-18th 2014 where over 100 visitors attended the partner presentations and Blender event and experiences were exchanged. Berlin presented its successful financial instrument Design Transfer Bonus that supports collaboration with designers as well as the Crowdfunding Platform Berlin that was developed and initiated by Projekt Zukunft.

In the frame of the Berlin Music Week 2012 Berlin invited partners from Cross Innovation as well as the ECIA consortium for a common study visit and conference. Successful Berlin companies such as <link _blank external-link-new-window "Opens external link in new window">Native Instruments</link> presented their cross innovation outputs, initiatives such as the Club Commission their activities to match creative with other sectors and the conference gave insights into Berlins vivid creative scene.

In June 2015 more than 120 international participants attended <link - external-link-new-window "Opens internal link in current window">Projekt Zukunfts Ted Tour Event </link>on Labs and exchanged insights and experiences on the developments of these innovation spaces.

Berlin identified Labs for Innovation and Creativity as its cross innovation focus theme. Studies on the local structures in the lab landscape were commissioned to Leibniz IRS and successfully published and distributed.

General Results

By connecting companies different cross-over innovations were developed, for example: a mobile application for electric bikes, bus stops made from renewable plastics, animation software for education and open data applied to arts/education/fashion. The work of the Cross Innovation project was also recognised in the key recommendations of the European Creative Industries Alliance (ECIA) to the Commission where cross innovation is seen as a key policy activity to support in the 2014-20 Programme.

Policy improvement

The project has identified three policy approaches for cities to develop more international cross innovation practices: place based activities with a focus on inward investment, industry driven approaches with a focus on existing key sectors, and New Coalition Approaches with a focus on building cross-sector alliances. These were adapted to the identified needs of companies concerning financial and human resources, brokerage and matchmaking events and specialised support.

The sectors that score the highest on cross innovation potential are education and manufacturing, and cities that are highly ranked are Amsterdam, Rome, Birmingham, Stockholm and Berlin.

Make cross innovation happen in your city!


Tanja Mühlhans

Management of Creative and Media Industry, Digital Economy, Projekt Zukunft