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INNOADDITIVE: Innovation Challenges for Additive Manufacturing

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INNOADDITIVE (INNOADDITIVE: Innovation Challenges for Additive Manufacturing)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2021-04-30

Project INNOADDITIVE (ID: 870598) was funded by the H2020 call INNOSUP-05-2018-2020 - Peer learning of innovation agencies. Goal of INNOADDITIVE was to create peer learning opportunities between three partnering Innovation Agencies for better supporting the adoption of Additive Manufacturing (AM) in SMEs - Small and Medium Sized Enterprises. The project was implemented between 2019 and 2020, involving partners Hub Innovazione Trentino (foundation for technology transfer based in Trento, Italy), LTU Business (technology transfer company owned by Luleå university of technology), and Steinbeis 2i Gmbh (development agency from Baden-Württemberg).
The digitization and competitiveness of the manufacturing industry cannot proceed without a changing mindset toward technology. Additive Manufacturing opens radically new business opportunities, but also brings new challenges for SMEs, who need to acquire new technical and hard skills and new talents able to take advantage of AM. On the other side, Innovation Agencies need to build an in-depth understanding of this new technologies, of the challenged that SMEs face in integrating it, and build capacity to launch new initiatives capable of supporting adoption of AM in SMEs.
The objective of INNOADDITIVE were many: firs of all, the project sought to collect examples of successful initiatives (good practices) adopted by Innovation Agencies with the aim of fostering the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies (especially AM) in SMEs. Second, INNOADDITIVE sought to organize peer learning workshops between Innovation Agencies (not only those partnering the project) to share and discuss feasibility and impact of the collected goood practices. Third, INNOADDITIVE sought to design a new format of support program that Innovation Agencies could activate to accelerate and facilitate the adoption of Additive Manufacturing in SMEs, and to fully describe it into a visual Guide that could be used by practitioners in Innovation Agencies to innovate their offering towards SMEs.
INNOADDITIVE workplan entailed one work package (Peer learning of innovation agencies), consisting of three tasks: 1) collection of good practices of initiatives already implemented to support adoption of Additive Manufacturing in SMEs; 2) organization of peer learning workshops for sharing those good practices; 3) Design of a new initiative for fostering the adoption of AM in SMEs (Design Option).

As for the first task, good practices were collected by the three project partners after a scouting process scoped mainly within the partnering region and innovation ecosystem, as well as at a national level. In order to ensure comparability and easiness of collection and sharing, good practices were collected by means of a common template that was developed during the first two months of the project. As a result, ten good practices were tracked by the three project partners. Five out of ten good practices were collected from innovation agencies beyond project consortium: this allowed to maximize the impact of peer learning. A short description of the collected good practices is available on the Design Option Paper. All good practices include guidelines for implementations and suggestions to other innovation agencies that might be interested in replicating them in their own ecosystems. Full description of good practices was not included in the final deliverable because of length issues: however, they can be made available to interested innovation agencies upon request.

As for the second task, workshops were organized in the three partnering regions to present the collected initiative, and allow for exchange and mutual learning between participants (including other innovation players and company representative associations in the regions). As required by the INNOSUP-05 call, the Twinning advanced method (Twinning+) inspired the organization of peer learning professional training workshops pivoted on the exchange of the previously collected good practices between project partners and beyond. Focus was especially given in sharing know-how, tips and hints for the management of these initiatives. Due to the COVID-19 pandemics outbreak, in-situ workshops had to be replaced with online workshops, having the duration of two to three hours each. The three workshops took place with almost the same format, organized by the three partners between November 2020 and march 2021. Altogether, 39 participants took part in the workshops. Referent persons from the tracked good practices (including innovation agencies beyond the consortium), were invited to participate and present their own. Each presentation would last between 15 and 25 minutes, plus a short question and answers session moderated by the workshop host (one of the three INNOADDITIVE partners).

As for the third task, project partners engaged in the design of a new initiative for supporting the adoption of AM in SMEs. An initial ideation of the format of the initiative was done by the three partners during an online service design workshop. After that, the initial concept was further elaborated by Hub Innovazione Trentino, involving staff with manufacturing engineering background and technology transfer competences. The design work was inspired by design thinking and service design methods, in order to maximize the quality and feasibility of the expected output (the Design Option). Also, the Innovation Challenge Design Canvas, delivered by the previously funded INNOSUP-05 "INNOCHALLENGE" project, was utilized as a blueprint. As a result, the partners co-created a novel format of initiative that Innovation Agencies can adopt to further enhancing open innovation and technology transfer in SMEs with regards of advanced Manufacturing technologies and solutions: The "Additive Manufacturing Research-Industry Open Innovation Booster". The Design Option comes with a short visual Guide, which also includes the collection of the good practices.

The Guide is embedded in the final deliverable D1.1 Design Option Paper, and available as a stand-alone document for download on www.innochallenge-project.eu/innoadditive.
The Innovation Challenge Design Canvas, delivered by the previously funded INNOSUP-05 "INNOCHALLENGE" project, was utilized as a blueprint for ideating, outlining, and describing in detail the design option. As a result, INNOADDITIVE delivered a novel format of open innovation initiative (very similar to ain innovation contest) that Innovation Agencies can adopt to foster research-industry open innovation and technology transfer in SMEs with regards of advanced Manufacturing technologies and solutions. We have called it The "Additive Manufacturing Research-Industry Open Innovation Booster". Hub Innovazione Trentino will likely furtger develop the Design Option and pilot it (in kind) in 2022. Also, further Horizon Europe funding will be searched for supporting a large scale piloting and evaluation of the the scheme across Europe with sound methodologies (e.g. RCT - Randomized Control Trial), as recently done by INNOSUP-06 projects (namely, "200SMEchallenge", led by HIT).
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