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The costs of an innovation platform vary greatly. The operational costs can range between zero to several thousands of dollars per year. Platform members also incur costs; all members have to commit time to the meetings and activities of the innovation platform. Costs to consider for sustaining an innovation platform are: 

  • Facilitator (salary or at least payment for incurred expenses such as travel) 
  • Venue and refreshments for meetings 
  • Travel costs of participants 
  • Per diems for participants to attend meetings (only if strictly required as this can create wrong incentives) 
  • Communication costs (e.g. phone bills, printing) 
  • Funds for experiments with new ideas 

In principle, there is a good argument for public funds to be used to support start-up of platforms, provided that some co-funding (in cash or kind) from other stakeholders are in place.

  • Tackles institutional issues (e.g. difficulty to collaborate between organisations, policies, negative attitudes towards other actors) 
  • Strengthens capacity to innovate (adapt to change) of actors involved, which will remain after/if the platform ceases to exist 
  • Allows actors that are often ignored to speak up, if well facilitated 
  • Allows solving of problems where solutions depend on many actors acting together 
  • Dynamic: may change over time, and so remain relevant
  • Often takes time, will not lead to substantial change in a few months’ time 
  • Not adequate for pure technology dissemination 
  • Risk having meetings turn into “talk shops;” Needs to be steered towards action 
  • Depends on well-trained facilitators 
  • Difficult to deal with actors that are fierce competitors 
  • Unpredictable: difficult to promise deliverables to donors, because these depend on the interest and capacity of the platform members which change over time