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Promoting innovation management techniques in Europe

The European Community is supporting actions aimed at promoting the integration of innovation management techniques (IMTs) in European business. A series of projects promoting IMTs have been selected for funding within the framework of the EC's INNOVATION programme.

A proper ...
The European Community is supporting actions aimed at promoting the integration of innovation management techniques (IMTs) in European business. A series of projects promoting IMTs have been selected for funding within the framework of the EC's INNOVATION programme.

A proper integration of IMTs facilitates an entreprise's ability to establish and integrate new technology in a coherent and non-disruptive manner, thus strengthening the long-term business prospects of businesses, particularly SMEs. As most SMEs do not have the necessary in-house knowledge and skills in IMTs, they often rely on external advisory services (e.g. consultancy companies, specialized promotion bodies, etc.) to use and incorporate these IMTs within their business.

The Community actions being supported by the INNOVATION programme were selected following a call for proposals published in December 1995. The call, which related specifically to the promotion of innovation management techniques, closed on 15 March 1996. Two types of projects were requested:

- Projects to strengthen the know-how of national and regional organizations promoting IMTs, both in the public and private sectors;

- Accompanying measures fostering the transnational exchange of knowledge and methodological practice in the promotion and use of these techniques in SMEs.

Of the 107 proposals submitted in response to the call, 31 proposals were selected. These will receive Community funding of approximately ECU 9 million. Over 900 SMEs will be the subject of innovation consultancy assignments under the projects selected. At the end of these assignments, these businesses will have drawn up an action plan intended to help them integrate the appropriate innovation management techniques into their overall strategies.

Apart from these SMEs, the projects and accompanying measures provide for specific activities to disseminate the results (particularly to other SMEs and consultancies). The objectives of the projects selected include:

- Developing experience and raising awareness in the design and monitoring of support schemes promoting IMTs;

- Creating a body of experience by the implementation of more than 900 innovation consultancy assignments in SMEs;

- Disseminating results to facilitate the harmonization of methodologies and provide added value to regional and national schemes and their operations, public or private.

A status review of the 22 IMT projects and accompanying measures which started at the beginning of 1997 is now available. This includes contact details for each project. This list of projects is expected to be extended, in the near future, to include the further 9 selected proposals for which the contracts are still under negotiation.

Source: European Commission, DG XIII

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