New products are the focal point of competition and the lifeblood of successful companies. Developing high quality products more efficiently and effectively tops the agenda for senior managers around the world. Yet Product Innovation (PI) is a risky and costly business. As development timescales and customer satisfaction become ever more critical, organisational and management skills become more vital. The PROMISE project therefore aimed to assist European SMEs benefit from the implementation of project management approaches and procedures which have been proven to enhance management of product creation, development and commercialisation (the product innovation life-cycle), thus increasing both their global competitiveness and capacity for growth.
The project involved 13 participants: 3 consultancy companies, 3 intermediary organisations, 6 SMEs (end users) and a professional society, targeting to improve sales through PI of at least 5% across SME partners and improve of 10% in key areas such as cost reduction, time to market and reduction in risk. In addition, one project launch workshop took place in each of the end-user countries and one pan-European launch took place with system support tools available for demonstration. Information on project results disseminated to 500 SMEs (or other intermediary type organisations that can themselves assist further diffusion).
The project was completed in several steps:
(i) completing the identification of critical success factors (i.e. the approaches, methods, practices and specific procedures) related to project management that impacted most strongly on PI in larger and multi-national companies and where appropriate in successful smaller enterprises (best practice in larger companies may not always be suitable for transfer even with adaptation to SMEs)
(ii) defining which of the above already best meet SME needs and therefore have optimum potential for widespread transfer and adaptation into European SMEs
(iii) working from the above, to provide a blueprint format together with associated tools (the toolkit) to assist SMEs access and implement a series of project management approaches and procedures
(iv) transferring, piloting, testing, and evaluating the effect of implementation of the prototype toolkit in 6 end-user SMEs across Europe (across a number of manufacturing sectors), with pre-determined performance variables built in, so that benefits of use can be proved and quantified
(v) diffusing results and outputs to the broadest possible pan-European audience of SMEs, through comprehensive dissemination and exploitation strategies.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts