CORDIS - EU research results

CoachCom2020 – a coaching community enhancing impact of the H2020 SME Instrument

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CoachCom2020 (CoachCom2020 – a coaching community enhancing impact of the H2020 SME Instrument)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2016-11-30

CoachCom2020 was a coordination and support action which has been selected by the European Commission to develop the framework for the business innovation coaching which is offered to the beneficiaries of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument (SMEI).
CoachCom2020 accomplished its mission in close interaction with 3 groups of stakeholders:
• EASME (the EC Agency responsible for the management of the SME Instrument initiative) and the EC DG R&I
• Coaches (business innovation experts supporting the SME beneficiaries to achieve their innovation and commercialization objectives)
• KAMs (Key Account Managers working for the Enterprise Europe Network who act as a link between the SME beneficiaries and the coaches to facilitate and supervise the coaching process)
to help SMEs succeed with their business innovation projects and master the next challenge on their innovation journey as they move from one stage in their life cycle to the next.

CoachCom2020 provided the SMEI coaching community with an organizational set-up, an operational platform, and an infrastructure for peer learning, including:
• a holistic approach to business innovation along the stages of a company’s life cycle
• a case tracking/monitoring system
• a coach matching and performance measurement system
• an impact evaluation/benchmarking system
• a learning platform for the professional community of business innovation coaches.

CoachCom2020 was a consortium of complementary organizations working in the field of business innovation coaching or innovation support throughout Europe, including: Innovayt SA (DK) (Coordinator), Platinn - Association Plateforme pour l’Innovation (CH), Scottish Enterprise (UK), Lithuanian Innovation Centre (LT), TII – Association Européenne pour le Transfert des Technologies (LU), CENTRIM at the University of Brighton (UK) and Oppidoc SARL (FR).
In summary, the work of the tow project years encompassed all elements needed for a comprehensive coaching system: the organizational frame of the coaching scheme, the setting up and fine-tuning of the IT platform with its various elements as the backbone for its realization, the nurturing of a knowledge sharing community of coaches, the broader communication to the internal stakeholders (coaches, KAMs) as well as external stakeholders (particularly regions), accompanying research studies digesting the evidence provided along qualitative and quantitative approaches.
All this work was performed in intense interaction with all stakeholders, i.e. the different EASME units, the Commission's representative from DG R&I, the EEN KAM coordinators and the KAMs (Key account managers) as well as the EASME business coaches. Several loops of specification and validation were conducted with the user groups. Under an enormous time pressure (largely due to an administratively delayed project start) the work was achieved in high speed, job descriptions were defined and agreed, recruitment schemes put in place, a methodological basics established in a series of handbooks, and finally the case tracker platform released in March 2015. Following this early phase the software has been further developed and fine-tuned in response to actual needs of the managing EASME unit as well as KAMs and coaches. After dedicated training the full running system was handed over to EASME in June 2016 while efforts now shifted to develop the knowledge dimension of the active coach community which by then was numbering around 200 coaches. During all the project time, huge investments were done into the competence development of the KAMs and the coaches in a series of small scale coach induction meetings as well as large scale KAM and Coach-KAM training events.
Today, over 2000 coaching activities delivered by about 600 coaches across 80 European regions have gone through the pipeline of the joint workflow between EASME, EEN/KAM and coach. Over 450 of these can be considered "success stories" and every day (sometimes enthusiastic) feedback is coming in from the SME beneficiaries.
The project contributes to the following five larger dimensions of impact:
• Effective collaboration between coaches and EEN key accounts in favour of SME coaching.
• Strategic convergence of regional decision makers and European authorities in charge of the SME instruments on the specific mission of EEN key accounts within the European coaching scheme.
• Effectiveness of the community platform and coaching in reaching its target SME audience/users.
• Strategic orientation and positive SME impact of coaching measured at the gate from their SMEI phase 1 project to their SMEI phase 2 project.
• Positive SME impact measured at the gate from their SMEI phase 2 project phase 2 to enhanced "phase 3" services.

In order to leverage the value created and demonstrated at European level within CoachCom, an exploitation path has been set up among the consortium partners and in interaction with the EASME that will open the future option for regions to access and use parts of the coaching platform in their innovation support systems.
The network organisation of the coaching system built around the value chain to SMEs