Four brochures, 17 events, 22 presentations, over 2000 participants, 66 group meetings, 23 new ideas, 11 policy implementation plans and three improved local policies. The Cross Innovation revolution has already started in the 11 partner cities and influenced policy in Birmingham, Amsterdam and Tallinn. After three years the project comes to a close, but our work continues. What can you do? Download the Cross Innovation Toolkit and make Cross Innovation happen in your city!

© Rob Lainchbury, www.laito.co.uk

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. 

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.

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 Amterdam, Rome, Birmingham, Stockholm and Berlin. More results can be read in this report.

Crossover brokerage
Over the course of the Cross Innovation project a network of brokers in the 11 partner cities was successfully established, states Alexa Hartwell (Cross Innovation Broker, Birmingham team). “The brokers all worked directly with businesses from the CCI or other growth sectors and helped to facilitate encounters across industries locally. The brokers acted as intermediaries bridging the gap between industries and supporting SMEs to internationalise and connect with partners across the borders.” Alexa also emphasizes that communication was key for this process to succeed. “The online platform we developed was a good tool to profile companies and build strong links with one another, which has led to more than 100 SMEs being successfully matched with new business opportunities.”