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Adapting and maintaining the innovation management assessment tools and support Enhancing the innovation management capacity of SMEs

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - IMP3rove for Future (Adapting and maintaining the innovation management assessment tools and support Enhancing the innovation management capacity of SMEs)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2019-06-30

This report summarizes the activities of the project “IMP³rove for Future”. The project has 7 work packages: 1) Creating an operational and capacity building/ training environment for the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), 2) provision of training to staff of EEN partners that use IMP³rove as an assessment tool in their services, 3) supporting EEN staff in assisted assessments of SME innovation management performance, 4) adapting and further developing the IMP³rove platform, 5) services to other actors in regions and Member States to develop better programmes to enhance innovation management capabilities of SMEs, 6) contributing to European and international activities in the standardization of innovation management, and 7) project management.
Work Package 1 concentrated on effective and efficient planning of the training capacity for EEN staff members. Satisfaction surveys among training participants yielded consistently strong results across a total of 9 types of training courses which were delivered to 580 eligible EEN staff members.

Work Package 2 concentrated on training delivery and the development of new training contents. We have trained eligible EEN staff members in 76 training courses which took part across Europe. 38 training courses were held at decentralised locations in close collaboration with EEN staff members and 38 training courses were held at our own premises. Furthermore, in order to address the training needs of the growing Enterprise Europe Network community and to match the development of their skills, we developed six new training courses: “Introduction to Root Cause Analysis”, “Removing Cultural Barriers for Innovation”, “Introduction to Innovation Value Networks”, “Innovation Life Cycle Management”, “Business Model Innovation”, and “Design-Driven Innovation Management”.

Work Package 3 was designed to provide continuous support to EEN staff members. Throughout the project, we have provided four types of support services: standardized coaching documents, coaching and experience sharing web-sessions, ad-hoc email coaching, and individual one-on-one coaching (via phone or web conference). 28 web sessions have been executed on a range of topics related to innovation management support services. Many topics have been defined based on feedback by EEN staff members to meet their needs to the best extent possible. We are pleased to share that overall 807 participants were attending the web sessions.

Work Package 4 increased the effectiveness of the existing IMP³rove platform by enhancing its user-friendliness, developing assessment contents to serve needs of specific groups or situations, and developing the benchmarking methodology to ensure tailor-made comparisons to competitors. Key achievements include the close collaboration with European experts on the development and launch of the new assessment tool Digital Innovation Quotient™ which can be used by EEN innovation advisers to assess and benchmark companies’ readiness for digital innovation. A German trademark for “IMP³rove Digital Innovation Quotient” has been registered at DPMA in April 2017 and a European Trademark has been registered at EUIPO in anuary 2018. The feature of mobile friendliness has been implemented to support the administrative set up of an assisted assessment in a way which improves its accessibility and convenience. We are pleased to share that ca. 2,500 company-level innovation management assessments have been conducted on the IMP³rove platform during the original project period, meaning a database growth of more than 50%.

Work Package 5 supported key decision makers and stakeholders in regions and Member States with insights and technical support. The overall objective was an enhanced effectiveness of their programmes in support of innovation and competitiveness of SMEs. Key achievements included the development of a stakeholder list of potential actors to be addressed covering innovation management support actors across Europe, and two publications covering case studies on successfully accomplished co-operations (published in 2016 and in January 2017) and delivered support services to actors in regions or member states. We are particularly proud that our assessment methodology has served as the basis for national innovation management awards, e.g. in Bulgaria where the President handed over the award – generating much attention and awareness for “how to drive innovation”, thereby, highlighting scalable lessons learned which are of relevance for many innovators. Moreover, with the IMP³rove Award, we ran an international innovation management competition to create awareness for opportunities and impact of leading innovation management practices.

Work Package 6 served to contribute to the standardisation initiatives of CEN, ISO and DIN level on innovation management to secure the relevance of these standards for SMEs and for the support providers rendering innovation management support services to SMEs.
Key achievements included the development and publication of CEN TS 16555-7 Innovation Management Assessment in 2015 under the convenorship of IMP³rove Academy. CEN TS 16555-7 has been translated into different European languages. ISO TR 56004 has been published in English and French. Some countries already expressed their interest in translating it into their local languages. This is expected to increase the up-take by SMEs. Moreover, key achievement included the development and publication of ISO TR 56004 Innovation Management Assessment – Guidelines including the Principles on Innovation Management Assessment in 2019. These documents are designed to provide guidelines for SME managers and other stakeholders interested in implementing an innovation management assessment. These documents are not intended as basis for certification.
Impact on the EEN staff members:
-Increased proficiency of EEN members in innovation management
-Enhanced quality of support services rendered by trained EEN members to SMEs in Europe with clear focus on generating profitable growth
-Possibility to participate in the national or regional innovation management support programs that require experience in the IMP³rove Approach.

Impact on SMEs:
-Increased transparency for SMEs regarding their innovation capabilities and growth barriers
-Receiving well-founded recommendations on how to overcome the growth barriers based on the IMP³rove benchmarking report
-Increased probability that the innovation projects within the Horizon 2020 SME instrument will succeed based on improved innovation management capabilities
-Possibility for SMEs in Europe to assess their innovation management capabilities according to the current CEN technical specification TS 16555-1

Impact on policy makers in Europe:
-Increased knowledge of effective innovation support programs for SMEs
-Implementation of enhanced innovation support programs for SMEs
-Access to a network of trained innovation management support providers that meet consistent minimum standards in supporting SMEs participating in the regional or national SME support programs
-Increased number of SMEs that are supported to get on the growth path increasing the rate of employment