Catalysing systemic change

What are Deep Demonstrations?

EIT Climate-KIC offers ‘systems innovation as a service’ to help Europe deliver a transformative green recovery

EIT Climate-KIC’s response to climate emergency has been to focus our efforts on systems innovation, to generate options and pathways for radical transformations in whole countries, cities, regions, industries and value chains. 

Deep Demonstrations are the large-scale projects through which we offer our ‘systems innovation as a service’ model to Europe’s most ambitious ‘challenge owners’ – i.e. the mayors, government ministries, industry and community leaders, and funders who have the means and mandate to tackle Europe’s biggest climate change challenges.

We designed the initiative to meet the increasing demand for our role as an orchestrator of systems innovation. Our systems innovation model uses a balanced portfolio of interventions – across education, technological innovation, citizen engagement, policy, finance and other relevant levers of change – to catalyse fast decarbonisation; to drive climate adaptation and resilience through circular economy approaches; and, in the case of industries, to generate new markets, business models and value chains coherent with a 1.5 degree world.

The world needs inspiration, and proof that inclusive, fast and large-scale change is possible, to achieve net zero in time.

EIT Climate-KIC’s eight Deep Demonstration projects act as:

  • a test bed environment for the 1.5-consistent systems transitions called for by the IPCC, European policymakers and our own strategy and Theory of Change 
  • sources of innovation and learning that can accelerate change elsewhere, and provide policy inputs.

These demonstrations were launched in 2019 and build on our ten-year track record of climate innovation in cities, industry, land-use and finance, which we bring into the portfolio phase of our demonstration projects. You can explore our larger portfolio of work in these areas here.

Deep Demonstrations are our way of accelerating learning about how to change the world in the context of urgency, diversity and radical uncertainty.

We invite new partners and funders to work with us to expand and progress this initiative, for a rapid and inclusive green recovery across Europe.

Interested? Email us to start the conversation.

The methodology >
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‘Innovation-as-usual’ – typically siloed and focused on ‘supplying’ the market with technology-led solutions – is not delivering a 1.5 degree world. We need a new model of innovation. We need innovation to catalyse systemic change.

Deep Demonstrations tackle multiple societal challenges in an integrated, holistic way.

For example, Healthy, Clean Cities looks at waste, mobility, heat, power, buildings, infrastructure, fuel poverty, skills, jobs, well-being, etc., as a set of interrelated city challenges.

Our food-focused demonstration works at the level of a global value chain. It looks at hunger, obesity, health, habits, perceptions, production, distribution and ecological degradation as connected challenges.


“Deep demonstrations are intended as inspirational examples of what is possible in cities, sectors, countries and value chains when innovation is orchestrated, collaborative, mission-oriented and demand-led. They represent the ‘growth edge’ of our strategy for tackling climate change through innovation.”

Kirsten Dunlop, CEO of EIT Climate-KIC


 

Our methodology 

In line with our systems innovation methodology, deep demonstrations have four iterative and non-linear components:

    1. INTENT

      We engage Europe’s most ambitious challenge owners – i.e. city mayors, regional leaders, government ministers, community leaders and CEOs of major companies – to secure a clear intent and demand-side pull for transformational change. In this phase we listen to understand local or sectoral challenges, as well as current commitments with regard to decarbonisation and resilience. We start to identify the multiple systems at play in the ‘problem space’ and may also discuss the role of culture, identity, habits, needs and top-of-mind concerns. We work towards a clear commitment to (1) work together on an innovation portfolio focused on catalysing radical transformation of the systems identified, and (2) willingness to bring existing programmes within a systems innovation portfolio logic. (For example, in Slovenia, the intent is to become the world’s first fully circular national economy, using systems innovation as a key tool).

    2. FRAME

      Together, we formally map out the relevant systems to identify where and how innovation can play a role in catalysing change dynamics, and we start to design a hypothetical portfolio – i.e. innovation ‘positions’ or leverage points that can address barriers and opportunities. Portfolio positions may include social innovation as well as innovation in finance, technology, policy, governance, citizen engagement, education and other relevant levers of change.

    3. PORTFOLIO

      We build and manage a portfolio of 30–100 connected innovations designed to address leverage points identified in earlier stages. To activate this live portfolio, we search for multiple innovation solutions and possibilities, and we launch calls for new and unexpected ideas, shaped by what we learn on the ground. 

    4. LEARNING

      We use sense-making and learning to generate actionable intelligence. It is our desire that decision-makers have actionable intelligence and knowledge at their fingertips, to accelerate learning about how to achieve transformation at scale. Beyond EIT Climate-KIC and our Deep Demonstration partners, we also want others to follow our journey and benefit from our learnings. To that end, we are committed to reporting transparently on our Deep Demonstration programme as it unfolds. Feedback loops inform policymaking and dynamic management of the innovation portfolio. 

How can partners get involved in the Deep Demonstrations? >
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Circa 40 EIT Climate-KIC partners are already involved as design partners in the Intent phase of Deep Demonstrations, including several core partners. These 40 tend to include city partners, universities, research agencies, and NGOs. Relatively speaking there are few SMEs and large companies in the Intent phase, who we expect to be more engaged in the portfolio phase when innovation is in delivery mode.

The Deep Demonstrations process is designed to search for and engage partners with appropriate capabilities, interests and expertise at several points in a carefully designed methodology consisting of four, iterative phases: INTENT-FRAME-PORTFOLIO-INTELLIGENCE. See Diagram 1 for an overview of the Deep Demonstrations Process:

  1. The initial phases of INTENT and FRAME seek partners with capabilities to offer in:
    • design of innovation and facilitation,
    • understanding and thinking in systems, identifying intervention points for change and innovation needs.

These phases involve partners in a number of scoping, planning and design activities, for example:

  • negotiation and scoping of ambition with challenge owners,
  • mapping of existing initiatives and connections among them,
  • mapping of the systems that make up the focus of transformation,
  • exploration and ideation with respect to leverage points, moveable levers, lock-ins or potential stranded assets,
  • ‘audit’ work on financial levels, regulatory issues or opportunities, cultural concerns and priorities;
  • design work on innovation positions and the design of a portfolio of innovation actions and projects – so that they can learn from one another and explore synergies and integration of solutions.
  • formation of a platform for co-creation and collaboration across multiple actors, departments, ministries and project proponents.

This is primarily ‘funding for time’, i.e. partners providing expertise through a process of discussion, scoping and design; with some specific deliverables needed in systems mapping, for example, stakeholder consultation, funding architecture or economic modelling.

  1. The FRAME phase in the process includes a structured component of ‘Reconnaissance’, which means looking for possible solutions to the innovation positions identified for a portfolio. This involves members of the Climate-KIC team working together with ‘design’ partners working in the INTENT phase to scan for relevant solutions in the Climate-KIC partnership, in organisations outside the partnership and across the world, and contacting those which seem most pertinent to the transformation challenges and objectives associated with each Deep Demonstration in order to understand whether the stakeholders involved might be able/willing to implement their solution in a particular context. Again, this is primarily ‘funding for time’, scanning, researching, analysing and discussing possible solutions, contacting and building relationships with potential solution proponents. This phase of the process also entails building a financing plan for the Deep Demonstration which may be of interest to partners with technical expertise in funding architecture.
  2. The PORTFOLIO phase starts with a call for proposals to invite responses from all the solutions that have been identified in the FRAME phase as well as open an invitation to any other innovation actors who believe they have something to offer. Once proposals are received, they are assessed and selected through Climate-KIC’s portfolio composition process. At this point the Deep Demonstration process introduces funding over time for the development and deployment of innovation projects in situ as ‘options’ in a live portfolio of solutions. We expect the majority of all existing partners to be engaged in this phase. Funding at this stage also includes time for active sense-making between partners involved, the challenge owner(s) and the Climate-KIC team to extract learning and inputs into policy.
  3. The INTELLIGENCE phase of the process – which starts early on and in parallel to the formation and activation of the portfolio – also seeks partners to support evaluative learning and extraction of insight and learning from the activities in the portfolio in order to support decisions to adjust policy, procurement rules, introduce legislation, direct focused capital, invest in scaling. These will usually be partners whose innovation work forms part of the live portfolio but could also be partners whose competence is specifically suited to sensemaking, data analysis, insight generation or the design of blended finance solutions and innovation in funding approaches to support scaling of viable solutions..
  4. Each stage of the process entails an expression of interest and/or call, but the process itself provides for proactive search for partners with relevant capability to offer. Partners will need to check the Partner Portal and the Climate-KIC website for updates on the areas of Deep Demonstrations that we are working on. Details on expression of interest opportunities/calls will be advertised to the partnership. Additionally, partners are encouraged to suggest ideas for new Deep Demonstrations as long as a direct relationship with a challenge owner can be established at the heart of it.

All of the Deep Demonstrations are currently still in Intent and Frame stages. The experience of partner engagement so far has been a process of learning as we go, working on ways of adapting the EIT granting mechanisms and requirements to the needs of a different way of working.

The latest developments in terms of EIT requirements on KIC financial participation in innovation projects do apply to the Deep Demonstrations but with recognition that these initiatives will be the core value proposition for EIT Climate-KIC going forward. EIT acknowledges the value of EIT investment as seed funding to establish the foundations for these programmes to attract larger scale funding in order to be viable – likely through different forms of blended finance – and wishes to see the role of Climate-KIC BVH as an orchestrator of the process formally recognised and built into agreements with challenge owners and future funders.

EIT Climate-KIC’s systems transformation value proposition, derived from EIT Climate-KIC’s 2019-2022 Transformation, in Time strategy, is designed to deliver systems innovation to tackle climate change. This value proposition – ‘systems innovation as a service’ or ‘transformation service’ offers value in different ways to challenge owners, partners and funders. Specifically, the tenets of the overarching value proposition are as follows:

    • For challenge owners: deploying the concept and the method of systems innovation to catalyse fast decarbonisation and build the conditions for inclusive prosperity and resilience to shocks in specific places. In the case of industries, to generate new business models that are coherent with a circular net-zero carbon economy and/or a regenerative economy, creating new markets and new forms of value for long term competitiveness and resilience. This value proposition includes activation of a portfolio of live innovation actions, testing for viability, feasibility, desirability and unexpected combinations of effects and scaling mechanisms in line with specific place and location needs. EIT Climate-KIC convenes sources of innovation, supports the design and implementation of innovation actions, facilitates sensemaking and learning from innovation experience to support decision making to accelerate transformation – including policy change, regulatory intervention, active procurement and financial investment.
    • ForEIT Climate-KIC partners: facilitated access and opportunities to contribute expertise, ideas, and solutions to all points in the systems innovation process, including facilitation of engagement with challenge owners and potential funders and investors, analytics and design, specific innovation solutions to be implemented in specific places, capabilities for learning, business model design and development, support for decision making and policy development, support for implementation through financial innovation or community engagement. Where partners are offering solutions, EIT Climate-KIC’s systems innovation approach, working in close partnership with challenge owners and the transformation needs of specific places, offers the conditions for live implementation, leading to proof of concept and therefore greater opportunities to secure follow on funding. The systems innovation approach facilitates and encourages learning and knowledge transfer across the community of partners through structured sensemaking, supported by the Exaptive Cognitive City platform. This approach offers seed funding, project funding and co-funding opportunities for all partners for systems innovation purposes, supported by grant management services provided by EIT Climate-KIC, as well as opportunities to work together to crowd in large scale funding and investment financing.
    • For funders: In the case of EIT, which will continue to be EIT Climate-KIC’s primary funder in the next couple of years, the systems innovation value proposition demonstrates the value of fully-orchestrated knowledge triangle integration to achieve a positive impact on the societal challenge of climate change in the form of job creation, new forms of growth and value, social cohesion, skills and capability building, and achievement of Europe’s decarbonisation commitments. Most importantly for EIT it also provides a means to financial self-sustainability for EIT Climate-KIC in the form of payment for the orchestration of systems innovation, thus converting the EIT investment in the Climate-KIC consortium into ongoing value delivery for Europe. In the case of other funders, EIT Climate-KIC’s systems innovation approach offers a means to achieving systemic change at the scale and pace needed in a context of climate emergency. This is encompasses opportunities for social impact investments to complement public finance, to deliver outcomes that will avoid social, environmental and economic catastrophe, and provide opportunities to investors and social impact funds to earn a decent economic return on funds invested. For private capital, EIT Climate-KIC’s approach offers a unique capability to bridge the investment supply gap and satisfy demand for capital deployment at scale in future climate solutions.

Interested? Email us to start the conversation.

Systems Innovation Stories

Systems innovation content hub

Read stories and thought leadership related to the ‘big picture’ of systems innovation – the theory, methodologies, thought leadership and policy context.

Systems innovation content hub

Deep Demonstrations Stories

Deep Demonstrations content hub

Find out more about each one of our eight Deep Demonstration projects below. Visit these hubs for stories, fact sheets, video and more.

DEEP DEMONSTRATIONS CONTENT HUB

Deep Demonstrations Content Hub

Healthy, Clean Cities

Fifteen cities across Europe are working with us to accelerate their transitions towards carbon neutrality and climate resilience – using joined-up, systems innovation as a key tool.

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Healthy, Clean Cities
Long-termism

We’re designing a demonstration to address short-term thinking (in finance and other areas of society) that prevents the 1.5 °C transition we need.

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Long-termism
Resilient Regions

We work with regions particularly exposed to climate impacts due to the make-up of their landscapes, economies and societies.

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Resilient Regions
Landscapes as Carbon Sinks

We apply systems thinking to help turn a number of specific landscapes across Europe from carbon sources to carbon sinks.

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Landscapes as Carbon Sinks
Climate-friendly Food Systems and Diets

Work with us to catalyse a shift towards a healthy food system that can feed future generations within planetary boundaries.

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Climate-friendly Food Systems and Diets
Just Transformations

We’re working for democratic and inclusive transitions in regions still economically dependent on fossil fuels and polluting industries.

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Just Transformations
Circular, Regenerative Economies

The government of Slovenia has articulated the ambitious and inspiring aim to become the world’s first fully circular national economy.

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Circular, Regenerative Economies
Resilient, Net-Zero-Emissions Maritime Hubs

We are working with ambitious ports and shipping industry leaders to create a circular, inclusive, net-zero-emissions maritime sector.

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Resilient, Net-Zero-Emissions Maritime Hubs