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Enhancing Innovation Management Assessment Capacity of Enterprise Europe Network partners and Innovation Management Capacity of SMEs

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EEENIMAC (Enhancing Innovation Management Assessment Capacity of Enterprise Europe Network partners and Innovation Management Capacity of SMEs)

Reporting period: 2019-04-02 to 2020-10-01

Continuously growing competitive pressure on (European) SMEs requires excellent innovation management capabilities and successes, in order to survive the always faster occurring trends and ongoingly changing customer demands. In order to support the European SMEs with their innovation management challenge, a network of intermediaries will be supported and trained, to deliver high-quality innovation management support services to said SMEs, helping those to successfully implement sustainable innovation management procedures.
This project is important for society, because supporting the SMEs in Europe directly transfers to supporting the major source of employment. As SMEs account for 99% of all businesses in Europe (https://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/sme-definition_en) supporting those means supporting environment, employment and thus society. The project success in enabling SMEs to manage innovation for further growth leads to job security for those employed in SMEs, as well as additional need for new talents/ employers in those SMEs, as they grow.
The overall objective of this project is to develop the innovation management capacity of European small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) by enabling the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) to deliver high-value innovation management assessment services. This includes providing access to high-quality assessment tools as well as a tailored and agile training and capacity building environment for the EEN partners.
This project targets to build on the excellent results gained so far from the integration of the IMP³ROVE Approach in the Horizon 2020 programme on “Enhancing Innovation Management Capacity of SMEs”. Leveraging the comprehensive experience and expertise in supporting innovation management services, IMP³ROVE seeks to further develop the proven training approach to address up-coming innovation management challenges in SMEs and disseminate proven assessment tools.
This summarizes the activities of the project “Enhancing Enterprise Europe Network’s Innovation Management Assessment Capacity (EEENIMAC)” during the months 1-18 across the following four work packages: 1) Provision of innovation management assessment tool, 2) Provision of training activities, 3) Continuous coaching and support activities and 4) Project management.
Work Package 1 concentrates on continuously offering access to the functionalities of the IMP³ROVE online platform. This includes the Innovation Management Assessment (IMA) tool, which is in line with the technical standard CEN TS-16555-1, the IMP³ROVE Digital Innovation Quotient (DIQ) and additionally, further enhancing its user-friendliness and functionalities in line with the needs of innovation advisers of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN).
Major achievements of the first project phase are the release of a new assessment platform fulfilling the criteria of being leaner, more secure, more adaptive and more dynamic while building up on the asset of a proven database. Therefore, the databases of the IMA and of the DIQ have been transferred to the new system. During the development phase of the new assessment tool, IMP³ROVE also started to set up an online learning management system and a Skill Self-Assessment helping users to identify their training needs. On top, frameworks for two new assessments (Stages-of-Excellence in Innovation Management and Sustainability) have been developed and tested already.
Work Package 2 concentrates on the development of new training contents and formats and the delivery thereof, in order to support the EEN in improving their business advisor skills and innovation management capabilities. A newly developed Skill self-assessment serves to evaluate the status quo of the EEN staff members’ business advisor skills to help them prioritize suitable training and support contents and to tailor their individual learning journeys. In the project phase of months 1-18 we have developed and released our first e-learning module “Removing Cultural Barriers”, which also allows participants to learn new content at their own time, pace and leisure in a more convenient setting without compromising the quality of training content. Furthermore, we launched several Boot Camps in collaboration with Europe-based consortia, which delivers concentrated training contents within 4 days and allows for lively discussions, close teamwork and networking opportunities. Due to the current situation we also introduced another new training format, which due to the overwhelming response, we will continue to offer as a standard format, i.e. virtual training courses. Adapting to the volatile situation this quickly allowed us to accommodate the EEN’s training and support needs. The virtual training courses were very well received, which increased the number of training participants tremendously. We also successfully developed and launched six new training courses.
Work Package 3 is designed to provide continuous support to EEN staff members in the use of the IMP³ROVE assessments and training programme. The following major activities took place as part of our support and coaching services: mentoring mailings proposing individual training programmes; individual one-on-one coaching requests have been answered; web sessions have been scheduled and conducted; support documents received updates based upon the upcoming changes of IMP³ROVE processes; ad hoc technical support has been provided via email and phone on a daily basis.
Work Package 4 meets one of its requirements with this report. Prior to that, WP4 was established to ensure optimal collaboration with all stakeholders involved. This was especially shown with IMP³ROVE’s reaction to the COVID-19 countermeasures, such as lockdown situations in several countries: keeping the high-quality capability building support services available to all EEN members by directly allocating more resources to the adaptation of training content to a purely virtual format. This quick reaction allowed for a continuous support service on all channels. The close communication and collaboration with the contracting authority secured a high level of information transparency at all times. Due to regular agreements with the EASME and the advisory board, and the resulting flexible adaptation of the support services the pandemic crisis impact on the project was minimized.
Moving forward, IMP³ROVE will focus on further scaling their capability building services among EEN members and providing their new and established assessment tools focusing on innovation management, digitization and sustainability. Moreover, new e-learning modules will be launched to enrich the service portfolio further.
By the end of the project, we will have broadened the service portfolio by covering new topics as well as deepened the services with e.g. a larger benchmarking dataset or new in-depth assessment tools.
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