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Norwegian Innovation Management Services

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NORIMS (Norwegian Innovation Management Services)

Reporting period: 2014-07-01 to 2014-12-31

The action was carried out by Innovation Norway as the sole partner in the project following an amendment of the contract. A competence group was established, covering both Key Account Management (KAM) and Enhancing Innovation Management services (EIMC), consisting of five innovation specialists (regional EEN advisers), the EEN coordinator and the SME NCP. In practice the work was divided into two areas. The SME NCP coordinated the implementation of KAM services and the EEN coordinator the EIMC services.

Training of the innovation specialists was the very first priority – and also a prerequisite for the implementation of the services. KAM services demanded first and foremost self-studies (documents provided through the EEN KAM forum) and internal discussions on tools and methods, while EIMC services were based in the implementation of the IMProve tool. None of the innovation specialists were already familiar with IMProve. The first round of training was carried out in the autumn, leaving little time for implementation of EIMC services. As regards KAM, we had to await the results from the first cut-off of the SME instrument (phase 1). The results were published end of September and the first Norwegian project could start in October.

The first year of implementing Horizon 2020 EEN services, i.e. KAM services to SME beneficiaries and EIMC services to selected companies, was first and foremost a year of learning, trial and error. This was also the intention at the outset. The implementation was started with relation to both types of services, but none of the service packages could be finalised in 2014. Consequently, objectives could therefore not be fully reached.

Important note:

Please note that no peronel (or other costs) will be reported in the Financial guidelines -as agreed with Commission representatives during the SAG meeting 23 April. Due to an internal error the man hours/personel costs related to the NORIMS project/INNOSUP-action was reported in the SAG3 Final Report.
WP 0 Integration of the action into the EEN general services

The action is closely integrated in the general services of EEN Norway. Both the KAM and EIMC advisers deliver the full range of Network services and all EEN advisers promote the action to potential clients in their own region.
The progress and process of the action is discussed at the weekly common network meeting held via VR every Tuesday, updating all EEN advisers to the current status of the services.

WP1 Implementation of KAM services for the beneficiaries of the SME instrument

Two Norwegian SME instrument projects were given the go-ahead after the June 2014 cut off, i.e. in time for implementation to start in 2014. The first was given the starting date 1 October, the second 1 December. Naturally, only two service packages could be started. After the results were published the beneficiaries were divided between the two Key Account Managers. Contact was established immediately after the Commission had given the green light in form of letters of notification to the EEN coordinator dated 22 October and 24 November respectively.

As regards the implementation of KAM services the objective was threefold:

1. To identify weaknesses in the innovation capacities of the beneficiary that hinder the realization of growth.
2. To identify suitable coaches
3. To accompany the beneficiary through the SME instrument.

Company 1

Initial contact: Contact was established by phone and the Key Account Manager explained the services available and the process to follow, received a first briefing on the project and started the preparation for the first meeting and the gap analysis. 0.5 day.
Analysis: For the first company an analysis was carried out using the Osterwalder Business Canvas method and concrete needs when it comes to the realization of the phase 1 project and enabling the company for the next phase. The gap analysis was conducted mid-December. Due to a busy schedule the company was not available earlier. The Osterwalder method was used and the company’s needs were identified as described in the case tracker. The company did not reach a conclusion regarding the use of or selection of coach before the end of the year. 1 day in total.

Company 2

Initial contact: Contact was established by phone and the Key Account Manager explained the services available and the process to follow, received a first briefing on the project and concluded the preparation for the first meeting and the gap analysis. Preparations for the use of the Osterwalder, Life-cycle and the business innovation tree were made. 1 day.

WP 2 Implementation of EIMC services

Following the initial training organized by the IMProve Academy, the innovation specialists set out to define the target group in concrete terms. Applicants to Horizon 2020 projects in need of enhancing their innovation competence and capacity were seen as key targets. These companies were also seen as highly motivated for IMProve and EIMC services. In this first stage, three existing and well-known clients of Innovation Norway were selected, both SMEs with growth potential.
Analysis: A gap analysis based on the IMProve tool was carried out in the selected companies and draft action plans were made.
Challenges: The demand for advisory and support services regarding the SME instrument and Horizon 2020 in general increased dramatically in the autumn. It was necessary to give priority to those cases. Little time and resources were left to proactive mobilizing of SMEs to EIMC services. Therefore only three EIMC packages were started. None of them were finalised during 2014. The innovation specialists have also identified a lack of relevant tools to be used after the main analysis has been completed. There is a need, for instance, for tools for generating new ideas, improving the innovation culture among other. However, the processes are well underway. Appr. 10 days in total.

WP 3 Project management and quality assurance of the project

The management and quality assurance of the action is carried out by the EEN Coordinator and the SME NCP, who are closely monitoring the action and supporting the KAM and EIMC advisers in their work. Establishing a joint understanding of processes, tools and sevices as such are important elements. It has also been important to ensure a strong link between WP 0 and WP 3.
KAM services will enable the SME to carry out the SME-instrument according to plan. Once completed, the process will also have strengthened the SMEs ability to develop and implement at phase 2 project of high quality. In the long-term perspective it is expected that the SME-instrument beneficiaries will have increased their ability to innovate and to deliver innovations to the market – to the benefit of a wider audience and the company itself. Ultimately, growth will be the result of delivering innovations to the market, innovations that will contribute to solving joint European challenges.

EIMC services will - once completed - contribute to enhancing the innovation management capacity of Norwegian SMEs, making them more competitive on the international market. More innovations will see the light of day and the economic performance of companies will be improved - resulting in growth and job creation.