A European Food Ecosystem: The EIT Food Case Study

  • Paola De Bernardi
  • Danny Azucar
Part of the Contributions to Management Science book series (MANAGEMENT SC.)


This chapter aims to present the traits and key success factors of the “European Institute of Innovation and Technology” (EIT), analyzing the “EIT Food” case. To highlight EIT Food’s strategic position as orchestrator and catalyzer of innovation, knowledge, and business creation, the case study uses the lens of the “quadruple helix model innovation”. EIT Food’s mission, vision, strategies, objectives, values, and activities are finalized to foster and drive the challenges of the European food innovation ecosystem. The case study gives evidence on the role that a territorial innovation ecosystem can play to develop a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, enabling the transition from a knowledge economy to a knowledge society, namely from a triple to a quadruple helix model.

With a social mission and trusted multi-stakeholder independent community that is coming together to solve the challenges of the food system, triggering innovative bottom-up activities, EIT Food drives the shift towards an ecosystem perspective and fosters a sense of “collective stewardship” toward social, environmental, and economic sustainability. The entrepreneurial spirit and participatory approach of all the heterogeneous actors are increasingly being cultivated through open innovation methodologies and open innovation spaces to improve human health, access to quality food, and address the main challenges of the food system. EIT Food innovation ecosystem business model is people-centric and resource-smart based and finalized to stimulate connections and partnerships between consumers, citizens, businesses, startups, research institutions, students, and food supply chain stakeholders throughout Europe. The case study focuses on the key elements that characterize EIT Food, and hence, untangle under what conditions it shapes and influences economic, technological, and societal thinking within its ecosystem.


Food innovation ecosystem EIT food Quadruple Helix Value network Knowledge society 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paola De Bernardi
    • 1
  • Danny Azucar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ManagementUniversity of Turin, School of Management and EconomicsTurinItaly

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