mapping the cleantech ecosystem in Flanders

Cleantech Flanders, powered by VITO, released their Cleantech Report 2020 which provides a complete overview of the Flemish CleanTech ecosystem, its impact, the opportunities and challenges for the future. More and more companies and organisations are endorsing the demand for sustainability. The implementation of CleanTech, abbreviation for clean technologies, accelerates the transition to a more sustainable world by contributing to a cleaner environment and substantial energy savings.

Thingit and We Connect Data jointed forces to support VITO in the data mining exercise and the economical analysis as input for developing the final report.

Thingit started from a deep analysis of all patents in the relevant CleantTech domains released by companies located in Flanders.

We Connect Data deployed Datascouts to map the landscape, build an accurate company profile of all relevant players and collect relevant business metrics to analyse the economical impact realised over the last 10 years.

Multi dimensional ecosystem analysis

CleanTech is not a traditional sector, it is cross sectorial and plays a role in various (industrial) domains, covering energy , circular economy, mobility, air, water and soil. CleanTech produces products, processes and services that improve both operational and environmental performance. Moreover CleanTech is often implemented by traditional players in their ambition to reduce their carbon footprint and counter climate change.

The ecosystem analysis requires to understand relationships and impact beyond the boundaries of one company. It requires to look at actors from multiple perspectives and thus to gather sufficient information on multiple dimensions to understand how they contribute and create value in the CleanTech ecosystem.

Mapping & Research Methodology

The starting point of the exercise was the definition of the taxonomy, the dimensions defining the ecosystem, i.e. the actors, their activities and the role they play in the ecosystem. The classification of CleanTech was defined in close collaboration between VITO, Thingit and We Connect Data to ensure a clear and common understanding.

The most crucial step of the project was mapping the ecosystem, i.e. developing the directory of relevant actors. Based upon existing databases from former research combined with desktop research and a deep analysis of patent publications by companies bases in Flanders, the ultimate list of technology providers, enablers and adopters was created.

Building an accurate profile of all actors was made possible by aggregating information from multiple datasources. This is where the DataScouts platform plays its role, gathering a wide range of data points like financial performance, investments & funding, shareholders, company size, locations, target market etc. Bottom up analysis allows to turn individual company information in a landscape view, to identify trends and relationships in the ecosystem.

The analysis of patents in CleanTech domains resulted in an additional dimension, mapping the innovation hotspots in the CleanTech ecosystem. Thingit’s experts in technical due diligence and valorization conducted the analysis and turned patent data into detailed insights in the innovation activities undertaken by a diverse portfolio of companies, mainly large and established industrial players.

Understanding the dynamics of an ecosystem requires insights in relationships. Thingit and Datascouts mapped connections between the members of CleanTech Flanders and other spearhead clusters which embrace innovation and value clean technologies and circularity, including Catalisti, SIM Flanders, Flux 50, Flander’s Food and the Blue Cluster.

Continuous Ecosystem Monitoring

Our analysis provided a solid base for CleanTech Flanders to write its 2020 report. The results were transfered to CleanTech Flanders using the Datascouts Platform. This enables Cleantech Flanders to continuously monitor the companies in realtime. The methodology that we developed for enriching and classification guarantees that there will be continuity in for the upcoming reports.

The CleanTech 2020 report presents the current state of Flemish
CleanTech and describes its evolution as well as the challenges ahead.

Cleantech Flanders 2020 Report

Our ambition is to monitor the Flemish CleanTech ecosystem and its evolution over time. The close collaboration with Thingit and We Connect Data, always with the end goal in mind, made that the data mining could be provided within a relatively short period of time.

Frans Snijkers, director Cleantech Flanders