On the 27th of January, DIHNET revealed the winners of the 2020 DIH Champions Challenge at the virtual EDIH Conference 2021 “Gearing up towards European Digital Innovation Hubs”. The awards ceremony gathered more than 1176 participants including Digital Innovation Hubs, designated EDIHs, regions and Member States, representatives of EEN, Clusters, SME associations, among other stakeholders.
DIHNET.EU was pioneer in launching the annual DIH Champions Challenge for identifying mature Digital Innovation Hubs in Europe. Begoña Sanchez, Innovation Systems and Policies manager at Tecnalia, and member of the DIHNET consortium, explains that the main purpose of this initiative is “to provide the DIHs community with a process for identifying good practices, showcase and support success stories of Mature DIHs that can inspire and guide other DIHs in their development.”
In this second edition, four DIHs were shortlisted as finalists: the am-LAB, the Basque Digital Innovation Hub (BDIH), the FZI Research Center for Information Technology and the ITI Data Hub (The Data Cycle Hub). The DIHNET consortium revised the proposals with the contribution of two external evaluators: Jan Kobliha, Ministerial Counsellor at the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, and Thorsten Huelsmann, manager of the Digital Hub Logistics Dortmund, winner of the 2019 DIH Champions Challenge. “The different applications from the DIHs have once again demonstrated that the different approaches and structures of DIHs in Europe are diverse and heterogeneous as the European regions and members states are. Each application has shown an individual service and format portfolio, governance structure and operations model which fits to the requirements of the customers in the innovation or digital transformation value chain” explains Thorsten. Jan Kobliha, external evaluator in both contests, adds that “this year the proposals were more mature and the results of the top ones were comparable to each other, which is a huge difference to last year, where we had one absolute champion. In Europe there is a huge increase of DIH projects, some of them aspiring to become a EDIH and they have gained more experience”.
The 2020 DIH Champions Challenge winners are two Digital Innovation Hubs that have demonstrated a leading level of maturity: the am-LAB (Hungary) and the Basque Digital Innovation Hub (Spain).
From DIHNET we want to congratulate both winners – am-LAB and the Basque DIH – for this great achievement, and also to the two finalists ITI Data Hub and the FZI Research Center for Information Technology. We hope other Digital Innovation Hubs see them as a source of inspiration for the future.