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2 minutes to read Posted on Tuesday December 18, 2018

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Rasa Bocyte

Rasa Bocyte

Researcher , Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision

portrait of Johan Oomen

Johan Oomen

Head of Research and Development , Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision

Introducing the Europeana Innovation Agenda: priorities of the cultural heritage community

The Europeana Network Association has grown to be a thought leader in the cultural heritage sector. So, how could we harness this potential to help steer the European heritage community forward? The Europeana Innovation Agenda was created with exactly this purpose in mind.

Räknemaskin, Nathalis, Grimme & Co, Tekniska museet, CC BY.
Nathalis, Grimme & Co
Tekniska museet

The Europeana Innovation Agenda

For 10 years now, Europeana has played an important role in supporting memory institutions to reap the benefits of the digital transformation. Now, we need to think about the future challenges - how to equip the heritage community so that it is ready to keep up with technical, social and economic changes. To guard the heritage sector against undesired consequences and explore its potential, we look towards the opportunities for innovation.

In this light, the Europeana Innovation Agenda was developed. It is the result of research conducted by a dedicated Task Force under the guidance of the Europeana Foundation Governing Board and in consultation with Europeana Network Association members. It highlights the most prominent and urgent research and innovation trends that will help to steer the heritage community forward.

Innovation in the cultural heritage sector

But what kind of innovation do we need? The first thing that comes to mind when we talk about innovation might be novel technological solutions, but it’s so much more than that. Of equal priority are the needs to provide strategic support for individual organisations, to overcome barriers for leaving a stronger social impact and to become more resistant to financial fluctuations. Only when all of these factors are addressed in unison, can we unlock the full potential of the heritage community.

We believe that these four overarching areas  - institutional strategy and impact, technological innovation, social change, and economic innovation - constitute the cornerstone of what will foster an innovative culture heritage sector.   

Innovation agenda topics

A great example of how these four areas come together is the EuropeanaTech community. Even though its primary mission is to lead the way in technological innovation, the impact of this community has branched out way beyond tech and has greatly contributed towards institutional, social and economic welfare. The projects highlighted in the latest issue of EuropeanaTech Insight show just how much innovation in these four areas overlaps to drive the heritage community forward.

Community input - your priorities

At the core of the Agenda are 13 research and innovation topics that point to the most prominent trends within the cultural heritage community. While all of them call for action, the impact of these actions and the level of readiness to take them on varies. That is why we consulted the members of the Europeana Network Association via a survey to evaluate the Agenda and determine the direction for its execution.

The survey indicated the priority and role that should be assigned to each topic. And the results send a clear message - we need to act now. The consensus is especially strong in the areas of institutional impact and strategy and social change. Opinions were more distributed around some of the technological and economic innovation topics - here more readiness is needed to prepare the soil for further innovative steps and our efforts should be concentrated on influencing the strategies that could help to achieve this.  

Certainty matrix

What’s next?

We want to make sure that all of these innovation priorities find a place within the European policies and research and innovation frameworks. With the input gathered from the heritage community, the Europeana Innovation Agenda presents a strong call to action that cannot be dismissed.

The Europeana Foundation will use the Agenda in its advocacy campaigns to invest more in the potential of the cultural heritage sector. It will serve as a tool to showcase the impact of an innovative sector that needs more support to serve as a continuous source for inspiration, learning and entertainment.