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Co-create Design Innovation Services

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CODIS (Co-create Design Innovation Services)

Reporting period: 2018-04-02 to 2019-07-01

The basic CODIS concept was to tackle the challenges that national/regional agencies face, providing innovation support services that really apply to and satisfy the needs of the SMEs. But how do you create a service or a programme that you can be sure that really catches the attention and satisfies your target group? The specific project partners, having great experience in similar methodologies, come up with an answer: Design!

But to begin with, what is design? “Design is an approach to problem-solving that puts the user at the heart of the development process. As such, it can be applied to developing user-friendly products and services in the private sector as well as effective public services .” But design, is not only recognised by people serving it. “Design is not just about the way things look, it is also about the way they work. Design creates value and contributes to competitiveness, prosperity, and well-being in Europe. The European Commission aims to accelerate the take-up of design in industrial and innovation activities at European, national, and regional level .” A particular importance of design as a key discipline and activity to bring ideas to the market has been recognised 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. It is clear that design has become a discipline of management and strategy. Management, since design gathers the staff and their skills around the solving of complex issues. Strategy, because design uses creation and innovation as a way to project into the future the durability of the structure and its profitability.

When design principles are applied to strategy and innovation, the success rate for innovation dramatically improves. Design is a methodology used to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions for clients by integrating innovation. Design draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be, and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user (the customer). A design mindset is not problem-focused; it is solution focused and action oriented. It involves both analysis and imagination. Innovation is a discipline that can be managed. SMEs could approach the practice of innovation (creating new products, services, and customer experiences) with a set of practical and rigorous methods, tools, and frameworks by design. Design is a key driver in creating new products and services that are attractive to customers, and can make a business stand out among the competition. Design drives the innovation process, and hence sharpens industry competitiveness for Europe. It must be led by a vision that sets out to achieve extraordinary results, and realised by strategies that extract the most valuable assets of innovation, creativity, and design to propel EU SMEs to the next greater height. The level of commitment and belief of European Commission in design’s capabilities has been proven by its Action Plan for Design-Driven Innovation, back in 2013 and a series of projects funded in order to lead all sides of the quadruple helix towards a design-oriented path. In a few words, it is the co-creation that adds value to a service or a product and it ensures its desirability, as it is co-developed with its final user in the centre of the procedure. The taken-for-granted challenge identified by the call itself, that “SMEs benefitting from support programmes still often remain dissatisfied with the services received”, in parallel with the partners’ experiences regarding setting up a design support programme, led to the development of the specific project.

CODIS has been proven to be really successful regarding that goal, as it came up with a great amount of advices and suggestions, while an extra feature was the design and delivery of a Pilot Action -Re:Connect-, based on its own guidance (draft DOP). This way, partners suggestions have been tested (and developed), offering a final guidebook that can lead you to securely design and deliver your own innovation support programmes / services in an efficient, sustainable and successful way.

Last but not least, CODIS partners have transferred knowledge and different points of view towards a common interest issue, thanks to the Twinning Advanced (Twinning+) Methodology. As though, they are keen on investing in their partnership and further build on the outcomes with more peer-learning activities, as the latter have strengthened all partners involved, proving the methodology’s value in collaborative work and exchange of experience between organisations that share expertise in different ways.
- Management: Set up of internal management system // Set up of internal rules // Set up of Internal Budget Agreement // Organization of regular web-meetings

- Desk research: Identification of potential stakeholders, networks // Good practices -programmes and projects

- Peer review workshop: 2-days peer-learning workshop in Tallinn among project partners

- Pilot set-up workshop: 5-days co-creation workshop in Thessaloniki among project partners

- Pilot programme up-and-running: Design support programme opportunity offered to 5 SMEs and 10 designers

- Implementation of the programme

- Presentation of pilot's results during the 1st Thessaloniki Design Week, InnovationID '19 Conference, Thessaloniki, Greece

- Memorandum of Understanding

- Dissemination: Final event during InnovationId '19 // News - articles on partners’ web sites // Contact with potential beneficiaries of the pilot through social media, emails, networks (chambers, sector representatives, etc)

Results achieved so far:
- project partners’ staff with increased management skills on design support programmes/services
- DOP tested in live conditions
- SMEs benefitted from the pilot programme
Further than the already achieved goals and impact, it is important to mention that after Re:Connect pilot success, KEPA has already decided to continue offering this opportunity. many SMEs and designers have already expressed their will to participate and the programme will run from September on.