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Design Innovation Support Scheme for Tourism Industry

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TOURISM ID (Design Innovation Support Scheme for Tourism Industry)

Reporting period: 2016-02-01 to 2017-07-31

The overall objective of the TourismID project, was to use the experience, the tools, the capacity and the partners’ knowledge in order to create a framework – guide for designing “Design Driven Innovation Support Schemes for the Tourism Sector enterprises” by using Twining Advanced methodology.

This Guide, the “Design Options Paper” will serve as a Handbook for the innovation agencies concerned with designing and/ or implementing innovation programmes for SMEs, in order to develop similar “enterprise – friendly support schemes” tailored made for tourism sector .

To start with, what is innovation and why is it so important for the Tourism Sector enterprises? And why is tourism such a sector that the need to focus on was identified by this project’s consortium?
Tourism is an economic activity capable of generating growth and employment in the EU, while contributing to development and economic and social integration, particularly of rural and mountain areas, coastal regions and islands, outlying and outermost regions or those undergoing convergence. With some 1.8 million businesses, primarily SMEs, employing approximately 5.2 % of the total workforce (approximately 9.7 million jobs, with a significant proportion of young people), the European tourism industry generates over 5 % of EU GDP, a figure which is steadily rising. Tourism therefore represents the third largest socioeconomic activity in the EU after the trade and distribution and construction sectors.
At the same time, consortium partners had identified that the importance of innovation was long underestimated in service activities. In contrast to the radical innovations vital to growth in manufacturing sectors, innovations in services and tourism were secondary and capital-scarce, and for this reason they were excluded from the scope of government interest and action. Innovation in tourism industry does not feature as a high priority amongst tourism SMEs and investment in innovation by this group is notably low across the EU due to a number of behavioral, financial and operational barriers.
But how can innovation agencies that are in place for helping Tourism sector’s SMEs, really address the above mentioned issues?
During the last years, the particular importance of design as a key discipline and activity to bring ideas to the market has been recognized in the Innovation Union -Europe's 2020 flagship initiative. In line with the commitment taken in the Innovation Union, the EC has launched in 2011 the European Design Innovation Initiative (EDII) to exploit the full potential of design for innovation and to reinforce the link between design, innovation and competitiveness.
Using all the above evidence and their past collaboration on design-led activities, the three partner organisations –the Business and Cultural Development Centre, the Cardiff Metropolitan University and the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture have decided to combine their forces, knowledge and expertise on different aspects of the same issue, in order to come up with a guide, that will be used by other, similar innovation agencies to come up with Design Driven Innovation Support Schemes, that fully serves their respective target groups.

The overall objectives of the project were:
1. Establish a Peer Learning Working Group that will work closely, exchanging expertise and knowledge in order to overcome the common challenge,
2. Gather information such as cases and best practice of both design policies and tourism business examples to build the evidence base for advocacy.
3. Gather insights from stakeholders by organising regional/national and European -wide workshops, in order to assure that all stakeholders’ views and needs are covered by the output of the action, the Design Options Paper

TOURISM ID partners believes that the DOP is of high-value, and suggest all innovation agencies staff to use it as a Guide, in order to better design supporting schemes that promote design-driven innovation in the tourism sector’s SMEs.
- Management: Set up of internal management system // Set up of internal rules // Set up of Internal Budget Agreement // Organization of regular web-meetings
- Gathering of information-desk research: Identification of potential stakeholders, networks // Good practices -programmes and projects // gathering of information – case studies – policies – supporting programmes
- Insight gathering workshops: Development of the toolkit to be used in workshops // Call for participation of SMEs in the regional/national workshops // Call for participation of innovation agencies Brussels’ workshop //
Creation of the Design Options Paper - Work done during the development of the guide and the peer review process – issues addressed and subjects explained in the final DOP:
Context – Challenge of the project
Methodology used
Background of design vouchers
What is design and design for innovation
Tourism Industry and user experience
How to combine tourism and design
Success factors of Design in Tourism
Implementing Design in Tourism
Innovation Vouchers in EU policy
What is an Design innovation voucher and for which purpose
Who benefits from a Design Innovation Vouchers Scheme
How to set up a Design innovation vouchers scheme in a region
Identifying the right process
Further details about the implementation of a Design Support Scheme
Conclusions- Recommendations

- Dissemination and Communication Activities: Event in Brussels at ERRIN // Events in Theesaloniki, Oslo and Wales // Final presentation to 35 innovation agencies and ministry representatives from across Europe in Thessaloniki // News on partners’ web sites

Results achieved so far:
innovation agencies’ staff with increased management skills on design for innovation support programmes.
SMES staff participated in the workshops for gathering insights
increased awareness in regional stakeholders about the importance of design for innovation support programme
mutual knowledge among the project partners in view of future collaborations, and already established partnership in other collaboration opportunities.
Further than the already achieved goals and impact, it is significant to point out that there has been a significant interest among EU innovation agencies on the project itself. This was achieved both by the final event presentation in Thessaloniki and the presentation of it in the BEDA website. In the latter stage, the interest was translated in the creation of a BEDA Cluster, namely Design4Tourism Cluster with a twofold mission: 1) to explore the advantages that design-thinking skills, and particularly service-design methodology, can bring to the tourism industry, on the one hand; 2) to reinforce BEDA members’ capacity in this field, to support them in applying design-thinking to the tourism industry or in helping SMEs in the tourism industry integrate this methodology, on the other hand. The need for the creation of this cluster has been identified during the TOURISM ID project and its activities are funded by BEDA.