We support teams that develop their region into an internationally competitive innovation ecosystem.

We focus on regions that:

  • have a university or research organization basis with talented people and novel knowledge;
  • develop technology into health-oriented products and services;
  • score Modest or Moderate at the EU Innovation Scoreboard;
  • have the ambition to become an attractive region for international business and talents.

Has your team been assigned to stimulate innovation in your region?

Enrol for the EIT Health DRIVE programme and profit from insights and practical tools of the experienced trainers from the Delft University of Technology and the EIT Health network.

How can you benefit from the 2-year EIT Health DRIVE training?

The highly data-driven training is guided by the scientific method – rigorous and rapid testing of fundamental assumptions and approaches behind innovation ecosystem development. The data and experience that you collect throughout the training period will help you build a strategy and action plan for the sustainable growth of your ecosystem.

The programme elements comprise self-analyses of your region, MasterClasses, 1:1 sessions with the trainers, Inspirational Talks by experienced ecosystem developers, literature studies, peer to peer sessions with fellow participants and workshops in your region.

Year 1: Understanding the concept of an innovation ecosystem and your own region

The learning goals for this year are:

  1. To understand the concept of an innovation ecosystem. You will know the difference between a region and an ecosystem, what basic elements an ecosystem comprises of and what measurable outcomes of ecosystems are.
  2. To understand who are vital stakeholders to engage in order to succeed in building the ecosystem. An ecosystem connects people and organisations with different skills, assets, networks, facilities, goals, etc. You will list and analyse the stakeholders of your own region.
  3. To understand the SWOT of your own Innovation Ecosystem. You will define your region very precisely, analyse key quantitative and qualitative data about your ecosystem, and compare it to other regions in your country or abroad.
  4. To understand the motivating and engaging power of an appealing ambition and concrete action plan. You will define concrete 5-year ambition and design an action plan for the following year while interacting with your closest stakeholders.
  5. To understand the concept of testing and validating assumptions. This methodology is often used by start-ups and will support the participants in “Acting fast and learning fast” in their ecosystem building efforts.

Year 2: Engaging your stakeholders

Now that you know your region and your most important stakeholders, and you have a vision for the coming years, in the second year you will focus on connecting more stakeholders to your ecosystem building activities through different types of engagement.

Specifically, the goals for the second year are:

  1. To understand the different levels of stakeholder engagement. You will work with the concept of different engagement levels by first positioning them in the current level (Awareness >> Involvement >> Commitment >> Cocreation) and then by taking actions to upgrade their level.
  2. To understand how to define and validate the needs of your most important stakeholders. You will gain an understanding of the concept of needs and learn how to find and validate the needs of your own stakeholders in line with your ambition.
  3. To learn how to commit your most influential stakeholders to the innovation ecosystem ambition.
  4. To understand how to use your vision, proposition and concrete plans to gain financial commitment from your stakeholders to execute the activities planned for the coming years. You will experience the art of aligning stakeholders’ needs into an activity worthwhile for them to invest in.


How is the EIT Health training programme set up?

The training programme consists of six main modules which are completed within two years.

Module 1 is about understanding who is essential for the region’s development. Throughout this module, participants gain an understanding of who they should engage as their hub’s decision-makers and influencers to make their region a stronger, more connected innovation ecosystem.

Output: description of 10–15 most influential stakeholders in the ecosystem.

In Module 2, each team defines their own geographical region and formulates their initial ambition for the next five years. Subsequently, they collect a set of indicators that describe their region’s innovation strength and potential quantitatively. In addition, an analysis of the already available steering mechanisms that boost skills development, entrepreneurial culture and support in the region is conducted. Based on the gathered data dashboards are created, This allows each participating region to present themselves before their most important stakeholders in a compelling, comparative manner to spark discussions on what the strengths are and what needs to be improved. This analysis will be used in Module 3 as well.

Output: quantified self-assessment and SWOT of the regional innovation ecosystem

In Module 3, the participants define several hypotheses that refer to the assumptions on how they think they can improve their own ecosystem and set up experiments to validate these hypotheses. The outcome of all analyses conducted in Module 2 and the validated findings are shared with the local network. Based on the validated regional challenges, the participants together with the engaged stakeholders define their final ambition and design a five-year strategy and a one-year action plan.

Output: a validated five-year ambition and action plan for the next year. Based on the outputs of the 3 Modules of the first year, in Module 4 the participants prepare a detailed stakeholder analysis using the DRIVE Stakeholder Map about the “active participants” (students, staff and entrepreneurs who participate in the activities of the team) and the “supporting enablers” (former decision-makers and informal influencers).

Output: a stakeholder map presenting the different levels of engagement of relevant local actors

In Module 5, taking into consideration their ambition and action plan, the participants decide who among the actors of the DRIVE Stakeholder Map should be (further) engaged and in what way, they start investigating their needs, and decide on actions that address these.

Output: engagement actions for the chosen actors

In Module 6, the defined actions will be undertaken and their effect will be evaluated together. Additionally, in this module participants will work on setting up a Regional Advisory Committee including the most important stakeholders with whom they can design regional strategies and action plans for the following years as well as acquire extra funding for the ecosystem building activities.

Output: a durable and funded innovation ecosystem support organisation.

By completing these six modules participants are equipped with competencies that enable them to understand their existing innovation system and develop a targeted improvement strategy to deploy new interventions and obtain tangible results in their region year by year.

The training programme targets four improvement areas:

  • engaging clinical stakeholders in innovation;
  • improving processes related to start-up acceleration;
  • driving student entrepreneurship;
  • developing technology transfer capabilities.

Each region can decide which area they will choose as a focus.

All regions are assigned to a trainer from TU Delft who is an expert in the chosen focus area and supports them throughout the programme as a “teacher” by providing them with best practices, reviewing their work, and asking them the right questions. In addition, all hubs work together with a mentor from the EIT Health InnoStars mentor pool who helps them on a daily basis implement their ecosystem building activities. In addition, to truly enable peer-to-peer learning, regular knowledge sharing sessions are organised among members of each focus area.

MasterClasses and Inspirational Talks

Besides the individual training and mentoring sessions, EIT Health DRIVE consists of two further formats of transferring knowledge:

  • Inspirational Talks
  • and MasterClasses.

During the series of Inspirational Talks, the participants learn from the success and failures of top-notch experts who played pivotal roles in developing the Delft or other leading European innovation Hubs. In addition, during MasterClasses participants are provided with explicit know-how about specific topics such as market validation, technology transfer policies or the creation of an investor network.

Nóra Félegyházi
InnoStars | RIS Innovation Ecosystem Development Manager | EIT Health