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University of Wales, Cardiff

About the Observatory of Innovation

The Observatory of Innovation, based at Cardiff University's Business School is a research unit that specialises in innovation and economic development policy.

The scope of its work reflects the diversity of factors affecting regional policy. Most of the work undertaken by the Observatory is collaborative and a number of strategic relationships have been established with partners across the EU.

Current Projects

FUTURREG is designed to have significant long-term impacts for regional development policies, especially by ensuring that policies - and regional development organisations - are informed by high-quality futures tools and participatory processes, including Environmental Scanning, Trend Analysis, Scenarios, Visionary Management and Delphi.

The Meta-Foresight seeks to exploit the benefits of several foresight models and a significant number of information technology systems that have been created in the European regions, aiming at the development and enhancement of regional intelligence.

Culture, Language & Economic Development
The Observatory has been researching linkages between Welsh language, culture and economic development at a macro level (e.g. global trends; policy and strategy) and micro-level (new product development and commercial opportunities). It has produced a scoping study on Welsh language, culture and economy.

Sustainable Development Executive Leadership
A one-year programme, including leadership capacity building, an ongoing alumni network for leaders, and a range of other events and initiatives that cascade Sustainable Development ideas and insights systematically to an increasing number of leaders, policymakers and opinion formers throughout Wales.

Representative Completed Projects

Observatory for a Sustainable Knowledge-based Region (OSKaR):
OSKaR is an integral part of an experimental programme that applies the principles of sustainable development in a number of policy-making contexts. Central to this approach is the development of a learning framework that is designed to help regions integrate and mainstream SD in their policy-making. (Funded by the EU's Innovative Actions Programme)

European Regional Sustainable Development Network:
Funded by the Innovative Actions Programme, the Network was established to help regions share knowledge and experiences on Sustainable Development policies and practices. The Observatory has acted as Secretariat in the first six months of the Network.

Foresight for Regional Development Network (FOREN):
The Observatory was one of the partners of the FOREN network, which established a platform for developing a common understanding of Foresight in Regional Development. A key outcome of the network's activities was the production of a best practice manual.
The InnoRegio programme for six European regions to develop, disseminate and pilot a range of innovation management techniques (or IMTs) in SMEs and intermediary organisations.

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