what is integer?

Project Details

Interconnecting 4 Helix Innovation Ecosystems in European Regions
01/02/23 - 31/01/25
GA Number:
Action type:
HORIZON Coordination and Support Actions

About the project

Focused on a challenge-driven promotion of healthy living, INTEGER will bring forward three important innovations for the development of more robust, sustainable, inclusive and integrative EU innovation ecosystems: The INTEGER 4 Helix Collaboratory mode, an EU Healthy Living Collaboratory and a new professional profile, the ‘collaber’ or ‘collaboratory manager’.

Project Objectives

Boost win-win games between business and social-oriented innovations addressing common challenges.

Transform co-creation dynamics into disruptive and tangible new products, services or competencies.
Co-design jointly public innovation policies.
Develop capacity building of the new generation of socio-digital entrepreneurs and ecosystems’ enablers, the collabers.

Devise funding and investment mechanisms for social innovation start-ups and SMEs to develop and scale up game-changing innovations.

Alignment with the New European Innovation Agenda Flagships

Project Outputs


  • Inter-ecosystem hands-on visits plan

  • Collaborathon Report & Exploitation Plan

  • INTEGER Platform guidelines

  • Inter-ecosystem projects and best practices exchanged

  • Business support intermediate services portfolio

  • Comprehensive 3H& 4H integration innovation ecosystems model

What do we mean when we say Collaboratory manager / collaber? Living lab? 3H& 4H integration innovation ecosystems model? Collaborathon (collaboration + hackaton)?

The triple helix model (technological business-centred innovation model), started in the 90s at the beginning of the digital revolution trying to solve the challenges of collaboration between universities, the public sector and high-tech companies. This model has been able to organise competitive clusters, science and technology parks, technological and economic entrepreneurship and capital risk and a full range of new funding mechanisms. However, in this 3H model the only role assigned to citizens was as consumers of products and services coming from business innovation.

So, a new trend started, the so-called Fourth Helix of innovation (4H) movement, when open and social innovation came on stage. In addition to universities, companies and public administrations, innovation activities expanded across the population willing to participate in solving its own social challenges, co-creating and co-designing sociodigital solutions from their community and its territory.

To make possible such a common framework, INTEGER will offer a third instrument for bringing together actors from 3H and 4H systems to face common challenges: the “collaboratories”, a next generation of living labs, a cooperative instrument based on a peer-to-peer approach between business-driven economic innovation and social-driven innovation.

It is an open innovation research method that aims to develop new products and services. End users are involved in a co-creation process in real conditions, based on a public-private-citizen partnership. The user is placed at the centre of the device in order to imagine, develop and create innovative services or tools that meet everyone’s needs. It aims to respond to concrete problems in a variety of fields ranging from agriculture to health, including tourism, the environment and participatory democracy. They are open innovation ecosystems in real environments that use iterative feedback processes throughout the lifecycle approach of an innovation.

Col·labers are the enabler/bridger profiles we need to define and train to do the facilitation in the new generation of living labs, the Col·laboratories. Col·labers are themselves socio-digital entrepreneurs, but not in the conventional way of entrepreneurs who generate products or services, but they are focused on creating the conditions for social/business/technology-driven innovations to merge and for the quadruple helix actors to work together.

This is a neologism, following the idea of a hackathon, but in the context of the new generation of living labs, the Col·laboratories (explained below). Col·laborathons are instruments to operationalise the quadruple helix collaboration. Usually, events where actors of the quadruple helix work together around specific challenges (e.g. nutrition and healthy living, social inclusion).

It is a neologism to express the next generation of quadruple or n-helix living labs. They are cooperative instruments based on a peer-to-peer approach between business/social/technology driven innovations. The INTEGER project has as a main aim to generate the 4H INTEGER Col·laboratory comprehensive model (two scientific papers will define this model and the elements and modules that comprise it. It is a model that, although based on the regional triple helix dynamics, goes beyond it to include the quadruple helix (citizens and social entities and actors) in the innovation processes.

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