Despite the EU’s enormous economic and regulatory strength, it lags behind in digital technologies. Across many measures, the EU fails to encourage dynamism and innovation. For example, in 2020, the U.S. economy saw venture investments to the tune of $150B, compared to the EU’s $40bn, and only 13 per cent of global VC investing goes to Europe. What’s more, in critical areas like Artificial Intelligence start-ups, only 5 of the 100 most promising AI start-ups are based in Europe. But digital technologies are surely crucial to Europe’s future. What holds Europe back? Many argue the EU’s regulatory structures hinder more than help, seeing an overweening bureaucracy standing in the way of innovation. Others suggest that both the EU and European national governments are risk-averse, more interested in talking up the dangers of the digital world – like cyber-bullying or trolling – than its transformative opportunities. Or perhaps the failure lies in investment, with not enough spending across the EU on R&D and fundamental research? Or do the EU’s plans for ‘digital sovereignty’ herald a new era of innovation and development? What does Europe need to accelerate innovation, and is the EU help or hindrance when it comes to new technology?

Speaker: Dr Norman Lewis, managing director, Futures-Diagnosis Ltd.

Dr Norman Lewis is a writer, speaker and consultant on innovation and technology. He is recognised worldwide as an expert on future trends and user behaviours regarding technology innovation and adoption. He has many years of experience working with start-ups in Silicon Valley and the UK. Norman was formerly a director at PwC, responsible for running their crowd-sourced innovation programme. Before this, he was the director of technology research at Orange, France Telecom. He is an advisory board member of Bubbletone Blockchain in Telecom – the world’s first decentralised mobile roaming service. He was also an executive board member of the MIT Communications Futures Programme and a former ITU TELECOM Forum programme committee chairman. He is a co-author of Big Potatoes: the London manifesto for innovation.


Join us from 1.45pm for a 2pm start. Discussion will finish at 3.30pm, followed by a brief informal reception.