ekip Tools and methods

Ecosystem and Innovation Portfolio Approach as leverage

In complex areas of innovation and development, growth does not arise from a single point but from interactions between many actors in an ecosystem. To build capacity for and to be able to scale, we need to build strategic competence and strategic partnerships in a multi-stakeholder environment.

This can be done through working with innovation portfolios as an approach to develop the ecosystem's growth areas.

A portfolio gathers and organises the efforts to address a common challenge by facilitating and supporting collaboration and co-creation between the different actors. These actors have different types of expertise, size, influence, interests, and outreach, yet, they share the same vision and have agreed on rules for their collaboration. A portfolio is subjective, a chosen scope.

The portfolio is coordinated together with selected partners and with a common strategy for creating development.

The Zone model – understand when to do what

The zone model categorises activities in the innovation process into yellow, green, and blue zones to represent different innovation phases. The model functions as a map for the partners to orient themselves and gain an understanding of when and how to do what.

YELLOW ZONE – Exploring the unknown together

The yellow zone is an open, shared, and neutral space where the mandate is quite unclear, and organisations share challenges and opportunities. Who owns what, and who will do what is not clear. It is therefore necessary to co-create and to work with neutrally and being transparent. In the yellow zone, you need to stimulate, explore, experiment, facilitate, test, and monitor the world around you to create knowledge and understanding. Organisations can share the risks of the unknown and unformulated. It is important to create relationships for future partnerships, and the commitment and presence of the participants drive the opportunities. Type of funding: Seed funding.

GREEN ZONE – Partnership in the space in between

The green zone is in the space in-between organisations. There is a need for collaboration and dialogue with shared mandates. Organizations must negotiate and create agreements about who does what, what can be done together, and how it should be done. It also includes conceptualisation and consortia building related to interests, specific projects, and partnerships. Type of funding: Project funding.

BLUE ZONE – In your own organisation

In the blue zone, the organisation decides for itself, has control and mandate. The work takes place within the structure of the own organization and with the logic by which you conduct your business. It can be business-driven and based on internal organizational development, investment logic, and scaling. Type of funding: Investment.

The flavour of innovation – OPSI Innovation Tool

The Innovation Tool has been based on OPSI's Portfolio Exploration Tool and has been merged with the zone coloring. The model categorises innovation work, and is among other things, used to create an dialog tool and an overview of the types of projects and initiatives that organisations are running and which they may be missing. The model describes different innovation aspects, facets, enhancement-oriented, adaptive innovation, mission-oriented innovation and anticipatory innovation. Each facet also has its own “flavour” and methods for the best possible development. For example, in "anticipatory" it's "What if" questions, scenarios, radical and exploratory, while "enhancement" is about improvements such as more, faster and better.

(OPSI is a group within the OECD that works on innovations for the public sector.)

The Layer Model – effects in an ecosystem

This model divides development into layers defined by its funding and is based on the layer model that Vinnova's Vinnväxt initiative in Sweden uses as a reporting method. The adapted model for portfolios has four levels where the first layer (yellow) covers core funding for (in this case) the core, the second layer (orange) covers project funding for projects led by the core partners or in which they participate, the third layer (green) covers project funding for partners outside of the portfolio, and the fourth layer (blue) focuses on qualitative events linked to companies and private investments.

How do you track changes in a an ecosystem and portfolio?


Lund Innovation Ecosystem Portfolio Tracking (LIEPT) is a method to monitor and analyse the development of portfolios of different innovation efforts, over time, within a multistakeholder innovation ecosystem. The LIEPT model offers an approach to track and understand changes over time and to have a dialogue in a complex context.

The LIEPT model has been developed gradually through the work of the Future by Lund innovation platform. It been created out of the need to identify growth in ecosystems and of follow themes and portfolios to make them understandable and investable. By integrating different models, such as Vinnväxt's layer model (by Vinnova Sweden’s innovation agency), OPSI's innovation tool (by OECD) and the zone model from Future by Lund, a comprehensive method is created to visualise and track changes in an innovation ecosystem, for example in the form of money, time and materials, innovation characteristics, as well as critical events connected to a theme or portfolio.

Four Main Elements that Make Up the LIEPT Model

1. Setting the scope: Scope setting involves defining what to monitor by specifying themes, areas, or portfolios. This is a subjective choice and perspective. Though this a start and a baseline, platform, is created clarifying who is included, what activities and areas to build and include, and thereby what to monitor.

2. Layered model: : Here development is divided into four layers. The first layer includes core funding for the scope, the second layer includes project funding for projects led or participated in by the stakeholders in the scope, the third layer includes project funding for partners outside the scope, and the fourth layer focuses on qualitative events linked to business and private investment.

3. Data collection and visualisation: The third part is based on Lund University's tool for advanced data processing of funding data from the Swedish and European public support system in combination with self-collected quantitative data. This enables visualisation of who receives funding, where it comes from and how it combines with other models to show follow-on projects and area development. The LIEPT model thus creates an opportunity to track and understand the evolution of innovation ecosystems over time, enabling actors to strategically manage their portfolios and make informed decisions for future actions.

4. OPSI's model and the zone model: This part combines OPSI's Portfolio Exploration Tool, with the zone model and divides innovations into four areas and uses two axes to understand and map innovation activities character. The zone model categorises activities in the innovation process into yellow, green and blue zones to represent different phases. Together, they can visualise the character and movements of the portfolio's activities and projects over time, which often change and have different needs.

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