Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) are non-profit organisations with expertise in suitable digital technologies that support commercial (and public sector) organisations in identifying opportunities for digitisation of their operations. DIHs provide: “test-before invest” consultancy including staff awareness testing and training, digital transformation conceptualisation and integration pathway development; digital skills training for staff before and during digital transformation; identification of investment opportunities (from government grants to digitisation investment specialists); innovation networking, bringing researchers and innovators offering solutions to partner with organisations needing those solutions.

As part of the Society 5.0 vision of Japan’s government, the speed and scale of adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies by SMEs in Japan is a key policy objective. The European Union and many of its Member States share similar objectives. Through its research and innovation funding over more than a decade, the EU’s Factories of the Future and related themes have created the idea of a Digital Innovation Hub (DIH). 

EU-Japan cooperation in research and innovation is accelerating and Japan is now negotiating to join the Horizon Europe programme, allowing the inclusion of Japanese research institutions and innovative companies in projects. Here, one of the pillar objectives of the EU-Japan.AI project is to boost the cooperation between EU and Japan and together with AI-REGIO project has co-organised the seminar covering the following main topics:

  • The DIH concept: a successful European methodology to digitalize the region
  • The AI-REGIO Project
  • The METHODIH Methodology
  • DIHs in practice: Case studies

The goal of the seminar, held on 15 September, was to explain the DIH concept to relevant policymakers, as well as research and innovation actors in Japan who are well-placed to create equivalent organisations in Japan. In addition to aiding the adoption of digital innovation in Japanese industry, the adoption of a DIH approach offers opportunities to cooperate in this area with partners in the EU.

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