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ETIN's Vision and Purpose 

The UN-ECE Transformative Innovation Network (ETIN) is a UNECE-coordinated strategic platform and meeting place for peer learning and a joint exploration of policies and practices for transformative innovation. Through evidence-based analyses and shared national and international experiences, ETIN aims to create additional value to its affiliated members in their effort to promote innovative processes in the UNECE region, ultimately increasing competitiveness and accelerating a societal transformation in line with Agenda 2030. 

ETIN’s Principal Objective

Insight – examining past experiences and present development to better understand existing challenges and opportunities in the transformative innovation sphere . ETIN activities under this objective include discussions regarding the history of transformative innovation, evaluation and assessment of previous and ongoing developments, as well as the identificition of opportunities and challenges.

Foresight – applying future looking, horizon scanning methods to anticipate and determine future potential trends and opportunities for transformative innovation. The ETIN activities under this objective will use the information gathered through insight 250pxexercises to attempt to predict what future potential avenues for transformative changes to socio-technical systems. 

Consultation – leveraging the experience of peers and partners in order to build on the experience made elsewhere and bring the progress towards transformation forward. Activities under this objective will focus on gathering insights and input from a wide variety of stakeholders, both public and private, that are engaged in and/or impact transformative innovation. 

Collaboration – ensuring the cross-fertilisation and spillover effects between ongoing transformative innovation initiatives, in order to combine efforts and ensure synergies and complementarities between these. Activities under this objective will focus on bringing together stakeholders that typically do not have access to or who are unaware of potential partnerships in the field of transformative innovation. 

Co-creation – providing the opportunity for transformative innovation stakeholders to come together to discuss and pursue new ideas, projects and related initiatives that facilitate innovation-led transformation towards the SDGs and Agenda 2030. Activities under this objective provides the opportunity for stakeholders to pool resources, leverage knowledge transfer and exchange and come up with new and relevant activities and formats that maximise the impact of transformative innovation initiatives.

ETIN’s function - and its strategic tools

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titleMeeting place and discussion forum:

ETIN shall be a strategic meeting place, where national and regional policy makers may meet with peers from an extended transboundary innovation system to reach insight and foresight on common challenges and opportunities related to transformative innovation. ETIN's function as a gathering point for the representatives of governmental innovation agencies, academia, and the private sector is fundamental and of great value in terms of experience.

ETIN shall be a meeting place and discussion forum to:

  • Gather national and international policymakers from all sectors of society around new opportunities and common goals

  • Establish and strengthen strategic partnerships and core member activities in relevant areas by bringing together relevant actors

  • Share knowledge and best practices on the processes that accelerate transformative innovation

  • Discuss relevant evidence-based content as a basis for discussion and initiatives

Purpose: to achieve insights and foresight between all parties and stakeholders of the innovation system and share good practices

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titleCollaboration platform with systems perspective:

ETIN provides an independent platform for peers to consult, collaborate and explore policies and measures that in different ways accelerate transformative innovation. These activities apply a systems perspective – involving actors from academy, private sector, and society as peers – to provide the environment conducive to transformative innovation. ETIN's function as an independent peer learning platform is critical to exploring the capacities that accelerate transformative innovation.

ETIN shall be a collaboration platform to:

  • Apply a systems perspective – involving actors from the academy, private sector, and society as peers and provide an environment conducive to transformative innovation

  • Engage innovation experts to utilize the power of regional collaboration for advocacy work at national and international levels

  • Test new ideas, initiate pilot projects and try activities with common interest to all the members with the aim to collaborate on processes that accelerate transformative innovation

Purpose: to consult and explore policies and measures that accelerate transformative innovation and to provide a collaboration space for international and national experts

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titleFacilitator of discussions, strategic alliances, and explorative work:

ETIN supports, initiates and mediates ongoing discussions of specific relevance to transformative innovation and, similarly, assists in the creation of strategic alliances and transboundary networks. Upon request, ETIN also facilitates processes intended to explore and develop policies and measures to accelerate transformative innovation. ETIN’s function as a facilitator is crucial for mitigating the transformative innovation debate with strategic partners.

ETIN shall be a facilitator to:

  • Contribute to the ongoing discussion on transformative innovation, including a focus on translating theoretical discussions and findings into practical implications.

  • Identify gaps and opportunities in the borderland between academia, business and society and facilitate discussion to proposes and implements improvement measures in the region's innovation system

  • Involve its members to discuss and collaborate in relevant areas with external stakeholders from academia and private and public sector

  • Facilitate processes intended to explore and develop policies and measures to accelerate transformative innovation

Purpose: to create an insight and foresight regarding innovation system’s need and opportunities and with evidence-based data to build the knowledge about the measurements to accelerate transformative innovation in the region

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titleClearing house for information, debates, networking, and activities:

ETIN shall distinguish itself as a trustworthy entry port for anyone interested in transformative innovation, by administrating and providing guidance on; specific and quality-assured information; curated discussions; and specific activities and initiatives related to transformative innovation. By providing a stamp of approval, ETIN a message board for members to scale up their activities. ETIN’s function as a trustworthy port for transformative innovation is essential for its members' involvement.

ETIN shall be a clearing house to:

  • Identify and disseminate trustworthy sources and information on transformative innovation to share best practices and knowledge on the topic

  • Ensuring the reliability and relevance of resources on transformative innovation shared amongst ETIN members to scale up their activities and promote their work on the ETIN platform

  • Gather trustworthy experts from governmental innovation agencies, academia, and the private sector and collaborate with them on the ETIN activities

Purpose: to provide a credible source of information on transformative innovation and scale-up members’ activities.

The ETIN Model


Focus areas - ETIN work themes

Transformative innovation presents two elements that complement and add to more established ways of working with innovation. One concerns the policies and measures needed to develop adaptive and responsive ecosystems – involving citizens, addressees, clients, and users – that is ready to absorb and create synergies between different innovations. Another is to create supporting processes for strategic learning that support the beforementioned ecosystem development. Based on this, ETIN organizes various meetings, events and other research and capacity building activities around two broader work themes: 

  1. Assessing and strengthening the adaptive and responsive ecosystem development supporting transformative innovation.
  2. Strategic learning as a means to integrate innovation, experimentation and learning for transformative innovation, incorporating and considering past, present and future trends and developments. 

Under each of these work themes, ETIN is creating and developing dedicated workstreams, each led by its own task force, that look at specific elements and sub-topics of the respective work theme. Already established workstreams, include

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ETIN activities

Each work stream engages in a a range of (joint) events, meetings, research and capacity building activities, and podcast episodes of UNECE’s Innovation Circle and Innovation Matters Podcast on different topics.