Skip to main content

Cross-Organisational Assessment and Development of Intellectual Capital

Final Report Summary - CADIC (Cross-Organisational Assessment and Development of Intellectual Capital)

Executive Summary:
In a global knowledge-based economy high performing clusters of different organisations are seen as the core of innovation, regional development and competitiveness for their members. Therefore, there is a growing need for SMEs in Europe to engage and collaborate in networks and clusters. The European research project CADIC addresses the aim of the European charter for small enterprises to “Foster the involvement of small enterprises in inter-firm cooperation at local, national, European and international levels”.
CADIC aims at helping a large number of SME to set up and strengthen own clusters and engage in existing and suitable clusters on a much easier and more cost-efficient basis in order to enhance competitiveness for all involved stakeholders. To reach that aim, the “Cross-organisational Assessment and Development of Intellectual Capital” (CADIC) needs to be supported systematically by suitable management methodologies and technical platforms.

CADIC’ main research objectives are:
o Create an innovative, facilitatory and safe cooperative communication environment for the SME’s linked in knowledge-intensive, innovative, and expanding clusters, characterized by flows of process knowledge (“how to.”) between cluster members.
o Enhance IC flows and IC flow-management within and between the member SMEs, and enhancing IC-based transactions with other stakeholders. CADIC ensures that these activities realize pathways to value (tangible and intangible), and improve the safety and opportunity-richness of the business environment that the SMEs inhabit. Achievement of the latter goal is essential in order to make a strong positive impact on the performance of the sector as a whole. To maximize impact, clusters must stimulate growth by enriching the business context: enhancing their “relational capital” through collaboration and bonding among local firms and agencies across all sectors.
o Overcome “coopetition anxiety”: The process of flow, which being relational, enhances collaboration and generates a common language which ensures that exchanges in coopetitive situations focus on advantages/opportunities gained through cooperative infrastructure development (avoiding competitively sensitive issues) . CADIC enables SMEs to rapidly acquire and use this language, fostering the building of trust and radically increasing overall cluster performance: generating a safer SME business environment, increasing the richness and variety of the business context (“growing the cake”) and enabling new opportunities for SMEs to find productive niches.
o Enable comparability of individual IC assessments: To be successful in their business environment companies generate and use specific configurations of Intellectual Capital which are mostly very specific and context dependent. Assessment of IC therefore is based on individual objectives and strategic prerequisites of the respective company. To start cooperation based on IC configurations presupposes a standardised basis for the comparison of this individual IC analysis. Based on the EU FP6-project InCaS, it is the aim of CADIC RTD performers to develop a sound concept to compare the Intellectual Capital of organisations and clusters.

Project Context and Objectives:
Project Background
In a global knowledge-based economy high performing clusters of different organisations are seen as the core of innovation, regional development and competitiveness for their members. Therefore, there is a growing need for SMEs in Europe to engage and collaborate in networks and clusters. The European research project CADIC addresses the aim of the European charter for small enterprises to “Foster the involvement of small enterprises in inter-firm cooperation at local, national, European and international levels”.
CADIC aims at helping a large number of SME to set up and strengthen own clusters and engage in existing and suitable clusters on a much easier and more cost-efficient basis in order to enhance competitiveness for all involved stakeholders. To reach that aim, the “Cross-organisational Assessment and Development of Intellectual Capital” (CADIC) needs to be supported systematically by suitable management methodologies and technical platforms.

CADIC’ main research objectives are:
o Create an innovative, facilitatory and safe cooperative communication environment for the SME’s linked in knowledge-intensive, innovative, and expanding clusters, characterized by flows of process knowledge (“how to.”) between cluster members.
o Enhance IC flows and IC flow-management within and between the member SMEs, and enhancing IC-based transactions with other stakeholders. CADIC ensures that these activities realize pathways to value (tangible and intangible), and improve the safety and opportunity-richness of the business environment that the SMEs inhabit. Achievement of the latter goal is essential in order to make a strong positive impact on the performance of the sector as a whole. To maximize impact, clusters must stimulate growth by enriching the business context: enhancing their “relational capital” through collaboration and bonding among local firms and agencies across all sectors.
o Overcome “coopetition anxiety”: The process of flow, which being relational, enhances collaboration and generates a common language which ensures that exchanges in coopetitive situations focus on advantages/opportunities gained through cooperative infrastructure development (avoiding competitively sensitive issues) . CADIC enables SMEs to rapidly acquire and use this language, fostering the building of trust and radically increasing overall cluster performance: generating a safer SME business environment, increasing the richness and variety of the business context (“growing the cake”) and enabling new opportunities for SMEs to find productive niches.
o Enable comparability of individual IC assessments: To be successful in their business environment companies generate and use specific configurations of Intellectual Capital which are mostly very specific and context dependent. Assessment of IC therefore is based on individual objectives and strategic prerequisites of the respective company. To start cooperation based on IC configurations presupposes a standardised basis for the comparison of this individual IC analysis. Based on the EU FP6-project InCaS, it is the aim of CADIC RTD performers to develop a sound concept to compare the Intellectual Capital of organisations and clusters.

Project Results:
Work Performed and results achieved
MAP’s Expert Group recommended that public agencies should support embryonic and existing clusters rather than trying to create them from scratch . The CADIC SME-AGs in 5 core countries have therefore worked closely with 5 pilot-companies in the CADIC consortium, who served as catalyst SMEs, mobilising and extensively promoting the cluster building process within and beyond each cluster’s boundaries for their own improved performance. This “bottom-up” approach provides strong support for the rapid extension and sustainability of the cluster.

During phase I of the CADIC project, each of the 5 core countries (Italy, Spain, UK, Greece, and Portugal) has initiated at least one CADIC SME-cluster each focusing on a particular branch within an industrial sector. CADIC clusters were set up in the following branches: Process Engineering (Spain); Creative Media Industries (UK); IT &Services (France), Industrial Carpentry (Portugal).

During the first year of the project, the main work was focused on developing a basis for bottom-up cluster management. Hence, the so called “cluster facilitation concept” has been set up within CADIC: It outlines the major challenges and pitfalls of inter-firm collaboration and proposes as stepwise approach to help SMEs engaging in cluster activities on a save basis. Tools and methodologies were developed prototypically by CADIC research team which support cluster managers as well as SMEs to succeed in their networking efforts.
The second phase of the project focused on testing these prototypes with the CADIC SME networks and enhancing these supporting tools for future use. Throughout 33 months CADIC developed and tested the following methods, tools and services:
o CADIC framework describes the CADIC process of bottom-up cluster support. This includes a guideline (www.cadic-guideline.org or www.cadic-guideline.eu) for Cluster Facilitators (CF) describing the application areas and implementation process of the following methods, services and tools:
o CADIC IC benchmarking system is a method and a database to analyse the current status quo of IC stocks and flows of clusters and companies. Processes and tools for IC analysis have been developed for different applications: for evaluation and monitoring activities (IC cluster review), IC strengths and weaknesses analysis (IC Check) of an SME clusters as well as an online self-rating tools for single companies. The data can be compared between companies and clusters and hence can highlight champions and best-practices in knowledge management in collaborations.
o CADIC web platform & online services provides a web tool to easy and intuitively start and enhance distributed interaction in clusters (connecting tools, forums, document management, group discussions, virtual collaboration spaces, multimedia artefacts, interactive encyclopaedia on Intellectual Capital (InCapedia). The CADIC web platform supports participants’ activities in events mounted in a CADIC cluster’ collaborative learning environment. It also facilitates the transfer of the learning acquired back to the individual SMEs and/or for external dissemination in didactic form. It runs via the software downloadable at www.projectpier.org
o CADIC offline support services support the effective and efficient offline IC-Flow between the collaborating partners. Core element of the offline support services is the management of information and communication within a cluster as well as with outside stakeholders of the cluster. Communication planning ensures effective knowledge transfer and helps to store and develop the cluster IC proactively. Moreover, special working aids for CADIC members to initiate or reactivate their individual cluster activities (e.g. collaboration topic, starter kits for new members, initiation checklists).

Potential Impact:
Potential impact and use
Support and fostering of SME innovativeness has been in the centre of European innovation policies since the last 20 years. It is not only the mere fact that SMEs are the backbone of the European Economy which has driven the design of innovation programmes and support mechanisms. On top of this, globalisation is threatening this backbone from all business angles: customers, markets, suppliers and resources, financing and costs are the biggest issues that affect daily business operations of all companies, but in a most sensitive way those of SMEs. Other than big multinational companies, smaller businesses are tied much closer to local markets and resources, risks deriving from redefined strategies or business models cannot be compensated by other business units operating in other markets.
Hence, the topic of networking does especially affect SMEs as it is the only possibility, to distribute and manage risks and stay competitive on the long run: the need to adapt to customer demands, keep up with competitors, ensure the availability of resources are challenges that have been existing ever since, but turn out to be more and more competitive and therefore risky in a globalising economy.
These challenges exceptionally apply for SMEs involved in innovation processes, may they be aimed at product, service, process or even business model innovation (management innovation?). Especially when looking at product and process development activities, empirical studies have shown how important collaboration with customers, suppliers, research institutions, or for example competitors is. These collaborative relationships are of various nature e.g. formal or informal; business- or non-business-related. The latter topic is being discussed under the topic collaborative innovation. Looking at all of these aspects (risk management, market needs, competitors, innovation) SMEs are the most directly affected company type which decisively depends on external relations to operate successfully with a local business in a globalised economy.

But how exactly can this so called “networked culture” or also “networking competencies” be described and fostered? According to empirical studies, SMEs most important challenges when talking about networking relate to organizational and cultural issues as a consequence of dealing with increased external contacts, hence networking – may it be supported by the web of traditionally via the offline world – at the core it is a management challenge. Neither on organisational nor on personal level, SMEs are prepared to manage their networks efficiently on order to use external sources of knowledge to improve or keep their own market position.
CADIC will help a large number of SME’s to set up and strengthen their own clusters, engage in existing and suitable clusters or just to be informed about existing possibilities of collaboration on a much easier and more cost-efficient basis. Unfolding collaboration readiness and developing their collaboration skills through various management techniques, supported by collaboration tools is CADICs core contribution to long-term competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises.
The well researched and scientifically proven CADIC Framework delivers deliver a sound model and a methodology to guide SME as well as service providers through a successful bottom-up cluster building process, enhancing IC-based collaboration.
CADIC’s IC Benchmarking system enables SMEs to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of their own intangible resource base and compare it with other organisations. Identifying needs for improvement can support informed management decisions and motivate investments on cluster level – discovering and showing strengths can simplify communication with banks and investors.
A specially designed web 2.0 platform was developed and implemented, providing attractive functionalities for involved SME staff. Clusters can be managed in specially designed group spaces (collaborative learning environments) supported by collaboration tools.
The CADIC offline services provide methodologies, services and tools to support IC-based collaboration between SMEs, including training programmes for the roles “Cluster Facilitation team” (cluster-level) and “Cluster Relation Manager” (company-level) supporting catalyst SMEs in managing their cluster activities. Well-targeted information flows ensure IC-flows in the right direction to the right persons.
Apart from a sound business model which will ensure the running of the CADIC system managed by the consortium of SME-AGs and RTD performers in eight countries on a self-sustaining basis after the funding phase, a clear dissemination concept aims at rapidly attracting new national transfer partners and new SME-members for the CADIC network.

List of Websites:

Coordinator Contact Details
Mr. Stefan Zickgraf
CEA-PME
Confédération Européenne des Associations de Petites et Moyenne Entreprises
Avenue de la Renaissance 1
1000 Brussels
Belgium
info@cea-pme.de

Public website address
Further information on the project and the current activities are available on the official project website www.cadic-europe.org
CADIC services and toolbox can be accessed via www.cadic-guideline.org or www.cadic-guideline.eu