Mission-oriented innovation is the new paradigm informing Horizon Europe and the way research and innovation shall drive Europe towards the transition to climate-neutral, just and thriving societies and economies. In the words of the European Commission, ‘EU Missions are a new way to bring concrete solutions to some of our greatest challenges. They will deliver impact by putting research and innovation into a new role, combined with new forms of governance and collaboration, as well as by engaging citizens. EU Missions are a coordinated effort by the Commission to pool the necessary resources in terms of funding programmes, policies and regulations, as well as other activities. They also aim to mobilise public and private actors, such as EU Member States, regional and local authorities, research institutes, farmers and land managers, entrepreneurs and investors to create real and lasting impact. Missions will engage with citizens to boost societal uptake of new solutions and approaches. EU Missions will support Europe’s transformation into a greener, healthier, more inclusive and resilient continent. They aim to bring tangible benefits to people in Europe and engage Europeans in their design, implementation and monitoring.’
In a nutshell, missions essentially embrace a new way of thinking and defining innovation objectives, making them more concrete, time-bound, achievable and capable of mobilizing different actors and assets in a joint and collaborative effort of discovery and learning.
In T-Factor, we leverage the ‘meanwhile’ in urban regeneration as a collective, laboratorial space to address place-based missions of innovation that are relevant to broader regeneration challenges and to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These missions are designed so as to respond to pressing local problems, and to convene local actors in the pursuit of solutions, pooling material and immaterial resources that are distributed in our cities yet often disconnected. Core to this approach is the understanding of temporary uses as the opportunity to define shared goals of urban regeneration, aligning public and private interests around the creation of shared public value.
In this way, Innovation Missions inform the way we co-ideate and co-develop prototyping activities and uses in the meanwhile, whether through events that create awareness and knowledge on sustainable lifestyles; capacity building activities for new skills, products, or services; new urban uses in support to circular practices; up to the possibility of improving policy-making or the way we deploy financial capital for community-led initiatives.
Whatever the specific missions of each pilot, they are all formulated in the attempt to adding quality, value and impact to the broader regeneration process, embracing the interests and needs of different publics and audiences, and creating conditions for people to convene and collaborate on pressing local challenges.