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KAIRÓS - Key Account services and Innovation management support for TRivenetO SME’s

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - KAIROS (KAIRÓS - Key Account services and Innovation management support for TRivenetO SME’s)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-12-31

KAIRÓS project addressed the challenges of part 7 of HORIZON 2020 Work Programme 2016-2017, Innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises (EU Commission Decision C(2016)4614 of 25 July 2016). It provided services to SME’s of Triveneto (North Eastern Italy) to enhance their capacity in managing innovation in a strategic and structured way, so that the results of their innovation projects can effectively be exploited for increasing company’s competitiveness and growth in terms of jobs and profits.
Triveneto is a dynamic area from the economic and entrepreneurial points of view, nevertheless SME’s have a low attitude in innovation and innovation management. Often innovation happens by chance and investments in R&D are not considered as a strategic priority. Surely, small dimensions – typical of Triveneto industrial structure – low propensity in inter-company collaboration, difficulties in generational change, low managerial culture are obstacles to innovation management
Credit crunch, differences in the cost of labour, globalization of the markets, economic and cultural growth of geographical areas once underdeveloped have almost swept away the previous industrial leadership of our region’s economy. Systematic R&D and innovation approach can partly stem this trend and maintain our enterprises competitive in the global market.
In order to answer these challenges the following specific objectives have been pursued by KAIROS:
• to support an accurately selected group of SME’s of Triveneto macro region in designing, creating and maintaining an Innovation Management System (IMS) in order to include systematic innovation approach as an asset for growth;
• to support SME Instrument beneficiaries of Triveneto with Key Account Management services focused on helping the companies to better exploit SME Instrument opportunity during the assisted phase and afterwards, in order to reduce time to market and increase company growth;
• to foster the “International horizon” of innovation in Triveneto, involving cutting edge innovative companies in a special club of European innovators that will be exploited as archetypes for future followers;
• to deliver ad hoc innovation service packages for each company.
"KAIRÓS consortium supported SME's of Triveneto macro-region providing them with support for “Enhancing SME innovation management capacity” (23) and Key Account Management (29).
It could be considered a good result but it required a strong effort by the consortium partners to “sell” the EIMC service to the clients which often do not perceive the initial added value of this kind of services without a direct reward.
IMP3rove assessment methodology, Platinn, Innovation Health Check methodologies have been used to analyse the companies and benchmark them with a sample. Experts of the consortium assisted the questionnaire compilation during company audits with managers in order to:
• help the companies to fully understand the questions;
• help the companies to contextualize questions to their specific activities;
• help the managers to reflect on their current way of managing innovation within their company.
As a follow up, SME's received a consulting workshop, during which benchmark results were discussed with the experts and action plans were jointly elaborated.
Direct impact on companies assisted in Triveneto to enhance their innovation management capacities (service ""EIMC"") and Key Account Management services have been measured via a short term questionnaire.
Results arising from EIMC service questionnaire showed beneficiaries have been positively impressed by the expert professionalism (answer to question number 3 - "" How do you rate the EIMC expert added value during the assessment?"" –reached a mean value of 6,35 points out of 7), but the impact on their business of the service was rated “only” a mean value of 4,87 out of 7 (answer to question number 1 – “How do you rate the overall benefit of the EIMC service for your organisation?”); nevertheless a standard deviation of 1,55 must be meant as a range of different values in the answers collected. This could be due to the fact that not all the companies under interview are really interested into innovation.
Results arising from KAM service questionnaire showed beneficiaries have been positively impressed showed a higher impact on the beneficiaries: answers to question number 1 (“How do you rate the overall benefit of the KAM service for your organisation?”) reached a mean value amounting to 6,06, with a low standard deviation of 0,75."
For sure the assessed companies appreciated the advice and the deep analysis provided; companies were not aware about the new technical specification CEN/TS16555 on innovation management and they were interested to understand how to better use it for really demonstrating their innovation capacity as a distinctive element.
The action produced also wider implications, attracting companies with growth capabilities, strengthening their capabilities for being more competitive on the international scenario. In fact, KAIROS demonstrated that the methodology can be scaled up with an integration with other EEN services.