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Transforming SMEs into successful experience stagers

Final Report Summary - STAGEIT (Transforming SMEs into successful experience stagers)

Project objectives:

The objectives of StageIt were to develop knowledge about how SMEs can take advantage of experience staging as a means to improve their competitiveness and to put this knowledge into practice in three SMEs operating in different sectors. The point of departure for the project was the recognition that technological innovation alone does not necessarily insure market acceptance. Instead, competitive environments require innovation that goes beyond technology to provide less tangible, but potentially more valuable, experiential benefits.

Description of work:

Researchers from academia were seconded to three industry partners and researchers from the industry partners were seconded to the two university partners. The primary purpose of these secondments was the transfer of knowledge between industry and academia through the analysis and development of the industry partners‘ opportunities for experience staging in an iterative process. The iterative process consisted of analysis of current practices and customer satisfaction, development of implementation plans for experience staging and implementation of these plans.

Main results:

In the StageIt project, three SMEs participated in journeys of transforming their services through experience staging. The project involved selecting from a wide range of possible ways and means to stage experiences to come up with the method that seemed the best fit for each SME’s business as well as being achievable. Each SME selected a distinct method to this end. For one company, the focus was on customer Community, for another it was on creating Meaning and the third company focused on Originality in its experience staging.

The StageIt project yielded three in-depth longitudinal studies of the SMEs involved. Furthermore, an on-line survey was developed to collect data about customer satisfaction and perceptions of the experiences staged by the SMEs.

Based on the in-depth case studies and customer survey, a total of seven academic papers and a book chapter have been developed. Two of these have already been published and five are still in the academic peer-review process. Furthermore, a report for industry was developed and is available for download on the StageIt web site (

A large and varied number of presentations based on the StageIt project have been made to academic, industry and mixed audiences.

Expected final results and their potential impact and use:

The three partner SMEs will continue to benefit from the transformations achieved and lessons learned. The academic partners will continue to benefit from the practical experience gained and the field data collected. Taking a broader view, the knowledge generated through StageIt will continue to be disseminated through both formal and informal channels to inspire European SMEs to incorporate experience staging in their strategies.

Project web site:
Project Coordinator: Dr. Marina Candi, Associate Professor, Reykjavik University Center for Research on Innovation and Entrepreneurship,