SMEs are core to European industry and are an essential component of innovation systems providing a key link in the chain of transformation of knowledge into new products, process and services. Increased global competition requires SMEs to internationalise their networks. Most large companies and RTDs have a formal commercial product development Stage Gate Process, which identifies resource allocation to maximise speed to market and places the knowledge on a development programme and not at the centre of the process. It takes a significant customer facing approach and by doing so avoids the production of costly over engineered products.
A key barrier for the successful collaboration between SMEs and large companies is that SMEs fail to re cognise the Stage Gate Process when approaching large companies. This results in the SME being unable to communicate with large companies, RTDs and financiers, which has detrimental effect on their success rate, speed of products to market and the number of TTT that are achieved.
This proposal directly and specifically addresses this perceived barrier. The primary objective of the SMEInnov8Gate pilot action is to set up an experimental transnational action which will research, analyse, synthesis, validate, test, standardise and disseminate effective SME Stage Gate methodologies which will enable SMEs to profit from innovation (IP, IA) exploitation partnerships with large companies and RTDs. It is anticipated that the pilot action will increase the speed, success rate and impact of the SME's TTT whilst reducing the cost of the process. The pilot action will focus on four themes Health & ICT, Automotive & Transport, Security & Defence and Agro Food and will provide four separate sector focused good practice methodologies which will be added to the portfolio of professional tools available to all IRCs. The methodology will directly improve the professional standing and sustainability of the IRC network.
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