The main objective of the FINDER Project, instilled by Europe’s Digital Future Outlook, is to improve the collaborative, digitalization-driven business ecosystems between incumbent and high-tech start-ups, as drivers of Europe’s future innovation.

Europe’s Digital Future Outlook[1] urgently calls for smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth, aspiring to secure competitiveness in Europe through innovation. To reach these objectives, there is a European agenda seeking to secure competitiveness for European companies and citizens[2]. The ambition for digitally driven innovation implies a need for new business ecosystems, in which institutions, large corporations, SMEs and individuals in society will be interconnected by means of digitalization, in unprecedented ways. These innovative, yet complex, inter- organizational networks, made up of both industry incumbent and high-tech start-ups, will hopefully serve as prominent engines for future innovation within Europe’s business landscape. Many emerging digital technologies promise to have a transformational and disruptive effect on business and society at large. The benefits of new digital technology, however, are not always easy to reap, both for grassroots-emerging parties, lacking the network to get traction on their next new bright idea, but also for incumbents, that is, established players that may lack the sensitivity for the newest and latest. As a result, our broader society may miss out, as entrepreneurial potential remains untapped, and knowledge is unevenly distributed across parties.

Over the past four years the FINDER project has worked to advance scientific knowledge regarding the management of innovation, in the context of the emergent digital landscape. This has rendered working papers, several case studies on the startup-incumbent interface in the fintech domain, and last but not least, the professional and academic training of 4 early stage researchers (ESRSs) tat each are well on their way to a phd in management in the upcoming year(s). The below provides for some reflections by some of key stakeholders in this process, to whom the FINDER project team is highly grateful for their enthusiasm, coaching, sponsorship and persisting involvement over these years:

“During the last four (or so) years, we worked with the PhDs on the different deliverables that were agreed upon with our funding partner, the EU Horizon 2020 program. On top of those, the lively discussions in the group often led to additional blogs, papers, presentations and the likes thereof. It is with joy, and even some pride, we’d like to share some highlights from these with you here.

During March of 2021, Atos hosted “Inclusive Digital Innovation in Financial Services and Insurance”. During this full-week event, we produced a daily webinar in which we highlighted key topics within this very important topic for banks and insurers: how to organize innovation within an ecosystem of banks, Fintechs, authorities and customers. Among the esteemed speakers, we welcomed Josemaria Sota (IESE Business School), Hubert Tardieu (GAIA-X), Nikhil Chouguley (Deutsche Bank), Remco Veenenberg (Fintech authority) and Jeremy Abiteboul (DreamQuark). Complemented with key experts from Atos and Radboud University, the webinars drew lively discussions from the various attendees from universities, Atos, our clients and partners, and various industry bodies.

After a lively discussion in one of Radboud’s classrooms, James and Ivo decided to write a paper about their respective views on the dominance within Fintech innovation ecosystems. With the help of George Dermowidjodo, a highly experienced and well-respected banking strategy consultant, they created a paper that focusses on the dynamics between all the participants in collaborative innovation. The resulting opinion paper “Ecosystem dynamics: Understanding dominance and centrality in innovative ecosystems”, explores the collaborative innovation from the viewpoints of (incumbent) banks, Fintechs, ecosystem orchestrators and academia. The paper was peer-reviewed by the Atos Scientific Community and published on in October 2022, finding its way in the hands of hundreds of readers. 

The final highlight we wish to recall are the two strategy days we organized during the closing months of the FINDER project. Atos hosted two full-day seminars on business innovation strategy and policy respectively, during the SMS London 2022 conference. During both seminars, we welcomed key leaders from both the academic and business world in our headquarters in London, where insightful presentations and passionate discussions were held to the benefit of a packed crowd. We remember vividly the great presentations by George Miller (Atos), Prof. Robert Hoskisson (Rice University), and Mario Schijven (University of Illinois) who shared their insights in behavioral bias in the topic of the first day: “Behavioral Biases and Corporate Transformation Strategies”. During the second day, the policy day on Fintech ecosystems, we distinctly remember Charleen Sparks (Lloyds Bank), who shared her experiences in orchestrating the Lloyds Bank Fintech sandbox.

For us, these highlights are obvious signs that combining academic brainpower with business acumen is a great way to elevate innovation to a new level. Another feather in the cap of the FINDER project and yet another reason to thank Rick Albers and Remco Neuteboom for their vision and hard work to bring us all together. We thank you very, very much for giving us the opportunity to be directly involved in the Finder program and equally thank Radboud University and Atos for hosting this great research program. Thanks also to Dan Cohen and Prof. Hans van Kranenburg for sponsoring us. Final thanks -and congratulations- go to James Ellis, Ami Wang, Jonas Röttger and Jonas Geisen. Working with you has been a great experience and a lot of fun. We hope, and fully expect, that we will meet again in this dynamic world of financial services & technology.

Lead the way and keep on rocking, fab four.”

Ivo Luijendijk and Frederik Kerling

Ivo Luijendijk, Atos Group Industry Director Data Analytics and Emerging Technologies – Global Financial Services and member of the Scientific Community. After 15 years experience as a banking consulting, Ivo now drives business reinvention for the Atos global financial services clients.

Frederik Kerling – Head of Fintech and Quantum industry Director – Global Financial Services and member of the Scientific Community. Frederik is specialized in bridging the gap between complicated technologies and realistic commercially viable business outcomes, and is currently heading the Fintech Engagement program with Remco Neuteboom.

[1] Foster, C. & Heeks, R.B. (2013). Conceptualizing inclusive innovation: modifying systems of innovation frameworks to understand diffusion of new technology to low-income consumers, European Journal of Development Research, 25(3), 333-355.

[1] European Commission, (2014). Europe’s Growth Strategy. Luxemburg, European Union.

[2] European Commission, (2014). Digital Agenda for Europe (

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