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Innovation Management Capacity Building of SME by the Enterprise Europe Network Baden- Württemberg

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BW-KAM (Innovation Management Capacity Building of SME by the Enterprise Europe Network Baden-Württemberg)

Reporting period: 2014-05-01 to 2014-12-31

The overall objective of the project was to enhance the innovation management capacity of SME in the geographical area of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, which is the geographical area covered by the EEN-BW. BW-KAM targets (1) SMEs beneficiaries of the SME Instrument, which are located in Baden-Württemberg as well as (2) high potential SME with strong innovation activities and high potential for internationalisation and growth. This is to be achieved by performing in-depth interviews (audits) with the companies from the region in order to establish innovation potential and deficits and to create an action plan to maximise the potential and overcome the deficits.

The three overriding objectives and quantified estimated results of BW-KAM are:

1. To increase the impact of the SME instrument by enhancing the innovation management capacity of the SME beneficiary through an efficient and professional key account management as set out in the proposal, including
a. Identification of weaknesses in the innovation capacity of the SME beneficiary in the SME instrument, that may hinder a successful realisation of growth and commercial potential in regard to the SME instrument project / innovation
b. To identify suitable coaches and moderate the coach/SME relationship.
c. To accompany the SME during the SME instrument project in all phases
d. To ensure the submission of a professional business plan / proposal for the next Phase of the SME instrument

This service was only be implemented with SME Instrument beneficiaries and therefore could only commence on announcement of the first successful projects from the 1st cut-off date call for phase 1 proposals with deadline on 18.6.2014.

2. To support SMEs in Baden-Württemberg, that are not participating in the SME instrument but have a high growth and internationalisation potential, with innovation management services enhancing the SME capacity in striving for growth through innovation and internationalisation. As the number of SME-Instrument winners from Baden-Württemberg was unclear at the beginning of the BW-KAM project, flexibility of apportioning effort according to the actual number of successful SME Instrument beneficiaries from Baden-Württemberg and EIMC cases was delivered.

3. Continuous improvement of competences of EEN innovation consultants through
a. Peer-to-peer learning in a community of KAM and senior consultants for the enhanced innovation support services.
b. Training of less experienced = junior innovation consultants in EEN-BW.
During the project period, the following work was performed split into three categories:

1. Key Account Management:
- Establishing contact to the successful SME client eligible for KAM process: In the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument beneficiaries - Phase 1 - Cut-off date 18/06/2014 only 1 SME from the BW-KAM region Baden-Wuerttemberg was successful to win a proposal: The SME “Amorph Systems” from Stuttgart and their project proposal “AERFOR - Proactive Passenger Flow Management for Airports with an Advanced Forecasting System” in “Greener and more integrated transport”. They were provided with the following KAM service
- Explanation of the process and requirements from the company (in telephone conversations and a workshop at the company)
- Engaging the company for the coaching phase of the project
- Implementation of needs analysis via the innovation audit performed by senior staff with relevant company stakeholders
- Specification of coaching requirements
- Validation of coaching requirements
- Presentation of coaching alternatives
- Identification and selection of best-matched coach
- Agreement on time-frame for coaching process
- Formalise coaching contract with the company, the coach and the EASME
- Follow up of coaching process with the company

Main results achieved:
- Successful SME Instrument client company contacted and engaged in KAM process (1 KAM case study initiated, not yet completed)
- Workshop and needs analysis carried out with company
- Successful identification of coach and coaching contract formalised
- Coaching process entered to EASME Case Tracker

2. Enhancing Innovation Management Capacity
- Process for the ranking and selection of SME initiated and implemented
- Contact to highest-ranked companies established
- EIMC process, commitment (from the SME and SEZ) and expected result of process introduced and explained
- Innovation/needs analysis carried out
- Action plan and recommendations created and documented in individual action plans for SMEs
- Action plan and planned implementation agreed with clients
- Implementation of coaching plan (some initiated and completed, some initiated and are due for completion in 2015)
- Continuous feedback between SEZ and SME client installed

Main results
- Standardised process for identifying and ranking potential clients installed
- Highest-ranked companies contacted and, depending on available time resources, recruited for the EIMC process (19 EIMC cases)
- Workshop and needs analysis carried out with company
- Successful identification of coach and coaching contract formalised
- Implementation of coaching plan for all EIMC cases

3. Peer-to-peer learning and on-the-job training
- Installation of regular meetings for knowledge exchange
- Good practice and experience exchange between senior and junior colleagues (including the development of “service portfolio guides” (“How to …”) on different services and expertise available in the team (i.e. specialists on IPR issues, project management or exploitation)
- Creation of standardised documents providing information about the project, KAM and EIMC services (flyer, one-page service presentations)

Main Results
- Regular meetings (physical and by telephone) installed
- Participation at regular meetings of senior staff and juniors to ensure knowledge transfer and exchange of experience
- Service portfolio guides created (to be updated and extended during the new project period)
- Experience collected for the initiation of new KAM cases in 2015 as companies successfully apply for the SME Instrument
BW-KAM project provided SMEs with better innovation management tools and systems and they are thus better performing companies after receiving the BW-KAM services, as they are enabled to:
- Identify their technological needs
- Create more ideas
- Filter out less promising ideas more efficiently
- Translate promising ideas into projects better
- Have more external partners in such innovation projects
- Close down projects quicker if not according expectations
- New products and services enter markets quicker and deliver profit earlier.

BW-KAM enabled SMEs to identify their weaknesses and barriers towards their innovation management systems and – by working on those through targeted coaching and/or mentoring services – make their innovation management system more efficient and effective. This has an impact on the implementation of innovation projects in the SME and creates a better return of investment for the company. This may result in growth, in internationalization and in enhanced competitiveness of the SMEs.

KAM services were provided to 1 SME (the only SME instrument proposal winner “Amorph Systems” from Baden-Wuerttemberg, Project acronym: AERFOR).

19 EIMC cases were started and completed in 2014.