CORDIS - EU research results

Establishing services enhancing the innovation management capacity of SME´s in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INNOKAM 2019 (Establishing services enhancing the innovation management capacity of SME´s in Hamburg andSchleswig-Holstein)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2019-12-31

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the pillar of the European economy and, because of their size they often do not have their own department that keeps an eye on innovation. There is an indication that enterprises grow faster and bring new products and services to the market which have established a good innovation management, generating the necessary amount of fresh ideas and translating the promising ones quickly into marketable products. Market access and profitability of new products and services can also be accelerated when companies decide fast which new ideas they pursue and which they abandon. In day-to-day business, however, innovation management is often drowned out in small businesses. Lack of financing also is one of the biggest problems of SMEs.

The Enhanced Innovation Management Services as an additional service of the Enterprise Europe Network offer SMEs the opportunity to evaluate and improve their innovation management capacity. This will lead to improved competitiveness, faster growth and more and stable jobs for the European society.

INNOKAM has been implemented by the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) consortium in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein (EEN-HHSH). EEN-HHSH is established as a well-known regional one-stop-shop for all EU-related enquiries for SMEs and regional stakeholders and formed by the four partners Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein (IB.SH) Tutech Innovation GmbH (Tutech), Wirtschaftsförderung und Technologietransfer Schleswig-Holstein (WTSH) and IFB Hamburg (IFB).

For the period 2019 INNOKAM had as its core objective to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of innovation processes in small and medium sized enterprises with significant innovation activities in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein by offering the “Enhanced Innovation Management Consultancy” and the “Key Account Management - (KAM)” services. Aim was to tackle existing lack of innovation management capacity in small and medium sized companies (SME) and support their innovative activities in order to creating economic impact. The guiding principle was to tailor the needs of the identified regional innovators and innovation systems.
In this context the KAM service was targeted at beneficiaries of the SME instrument under Horizon 2020, the EIMC addressed other highly innovative SMEs. The EIMC helped companies to establish effective innovation management systems that enhance the realisation of growth opportunities. The KAMs focused on overcoming bottlenecks to enhance the success of the funded project. They assisted in finding specialised coaches and establishing a coach-client relationship. All successful SME Instrument applicants were able to find a coach from the database who addressed their needs, thanks to the good EEN support. Both approaches aim to raise the company´s competitiveness and profitability.

In the period 2019 eight companies in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein were funded by the SME instrument comprising six phase 1 beneficiaries and two phase 2 beneficiaries. INNOKAM provided all of these with the KAM services and supported them in a careful needs analysis followed by a thorough coach selection. As the KAMs took care to include coaches from different European countries, three of the coaches are Non-Germans. Six KAM cases were concluded in 2019, two will be continued in 2020/2021.

Enhanced innovation management consultancy was offered to 32 new small and medium companies, six cases from 2017/2018 have been continued. EIMC started with the innovation management capacity assessment followed by the feedback and agreement on an action plan based on specific innovation challenges of the company. During the following months the companies worked on their action plan accompanied by feedback of the innovation management consultants. After roughly one year the process usually was completed with a final meeting to evaluate the achievements of the company and to agree on further steps including use of regular EEN services 15 cases were completed in 2019, 23 services will be continued and completed in 2020/2021.
was very positive. The support by EEN innovation experts helped the companies to implement actions for further growth according to the developed action plan during their demanding day-to-day business. This quotation may serve as an example: “We found the impulse to set up and implement an internal idea management system particularly valuable - a tool that ensures that the submission of ideas will follow a defined process including a feedback loop in the future and that our striving for continuous improvement can thus be even more actively shaped by every employee.”

A measurement of the impact was done by comparison between the first and the final assessment after one year. Result was that all clients could improve their performance. In addition the direct feedback of the companies in the course of the interviews as well the use of further services of the EEN, European funding programmes and additional actions to enhance the competitiveness indicated and underlined the success of the EIMC service.

The regional network of innovation support management services also strengthened and built up new opportunities of collaboration - especially in the environment of clusters and the Smart Specialisation Strategy. Regular meetings with stakeholders were performed during the project period.