RIBRI – Radical Innovation Breakthrough Inquirer

Horizon scanning for radical innovation breakthroughs

RIBRI is built on a major recent cutting-edge and highly successful forward-looking activity that followed very similar goals and steps as the Finnish Radical Technology Inquirer (RTI), which was commissioned by the Parliament of Finland in 2013 and updated in 2016. The core element adopted from the RTI is the “sense-making framework”, i.e. the use of the two central notions “Radical Innovation Breakthrough (RIB)” and future “Global Value Networks (GVN)” in structuring and interpreting the results of a systematic horizon scanning.

The notions on the theoretical framework are based on the Multi-Level-Perspective (MLP) on socio-technical change developed by leading innovation researchers such as Johan Schot and Frank Geels (2007). The MLP conceptualises the evolution of socio-technical trajectories as a continuous interplay of societal, technical, political, and economic developments on three levels: the macro-level Landscape, the meso-level Regime and the micro-level Niches. In particular, it describes the emergence of new socio-technical regimes out of protected niches through various possible transition pathways e.g. initiated by pressures from the landscape level.

The core concept of our project is to identify 100 opportunities for Europe and the world by confronting emerging GVNs with today’s aspirations on RIBs.

For this, objectives and steps were:

  1. To collect and systematise up-to-date information, from sources world-wide, on key future radical (technological and societal) innovation breakthroughs (RIBs) – that are currently at the stage of being aspirations;
  2. To evaluate the potential of these key breakthroughs as emerging trends or game-changers and their strategic importance for Europe, taking into account their scientific basis and technical feasibility, their relevance for existing economic structures in Europe and strategic potential and risks in relation to potential future global challenges and future global value networks, within Europe as well as outside it;
  3. To identify Europe’s strengths and weaknesses in reaping the benefits of the 100 most significant breakthroughs.
  4. To produce a report suitable for use by policy-makers describing the 100 most technical and social significant radical innovation breakthroughs, underpinned by a structured analysis and data set with descriptions of all promising candidates identified that are potentially feasible in the next 5 to 20 years.

In addition, however, we aim at two more far-reaching aims directed at underpinning a European future orientation in a more general way:

  1. To initiate a community of actors committed to engage into a Pan-European dialogue on radical innovation breakthroughs that may form the nucleus of wider future oriented debate in Europe and thereby strengthen European futures orientation and resilience.
  2. To pave the way for an ongoing exploration of radical innovation breakthroughs combining human judgement and automated analysis in a fruitful way.

There are detailed descriptions of every potential Radical Innovation available in the final report:

A poster gives an overview of the findings:

A tool allows you to make your own analyses of the data and group the innovations according to your needs. You can choose either single Radical Innovation Breakthroughs or groups of them to see the aggregated results. Try it here:




  • European Commission, Directorate-General Research & Innovation, Directorate A Policy Development and Coordination, Unit A.6 – Data, Open Access and Foresight


  • Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Karlsruhe, Germany (Coordinator)
  • Institutul de Prospectiva, Bucharest, Romania
  • Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku, Finland