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INNOVENTUALLY, One-stop source for innovation” — A PaaS (Platform as a Service) for the management of Open Innovation Challenges and Needs.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INNOVENTUALLY (INNOVENTUALLY, One-stop source for innovation” — A PaaS (Platform as a Service) for the management of Open Innovation Challenges and Needs.)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2017-07-31

Innovation is the main driver to boost and sustain competitiveness of the modern economy, and ultimately success of all companies and organizations. Innoventually is the one-stop source for every company and organization, aiming to leverage the knowledge of others (companies, organizations or individuals) for innovating.

> The problem to solve or challenge to tackle:
Companies nowadays do not have all the internal resources to keep up with the competition, while Open Innovation, new entrepreneurial behaviours and societal innovations are key processes in any professional scenario, and is the need of an orchestrated and supported approach.. Companies around the world have been facing problems related to innovation, and its exponential acceleration during the past decades. Due to the competitiveness of the free market, company’s revenues must be higher than its costs in order to survive. Most of the times, costs are determined by technologies and vary according to time and progress. Up until now, we observed that, in general, SMEs lacked both managerial and technical skills for their effectiveness. SMEs were less active than large firms in open innovation practices because of their particular characteristics related to the “organization, culture and strategy”, but now the Open Innovation business model is becoming an interesting alternative, and is gaining momentum rapidly. For SMEs, the Open Innovation model represents a significant way of saving money and innovating by leveraging the potential of the on-line crowd.

> Our value proposition:
to offer a worldwide accessible cost-effective platform, which will be an easier way to access innovative solutions. Nowadays there are several companies offering crowdsourcing services and PaaS mainly offering services which are mainly affordable by big corporations or big governmental programs. We introduce a one-stop-shop solution and a new proposition, offering a new service and product accessible by 99% of the global business. This will enable us to easily scale up at higher volumes of challenges and contests to be published and solved. This higher number of opportunities will also attract higher numbers of solvers, from different types of “communities” (research, design, customers, lead users, other companies, etc.). The ecosystem network will grow naturally, adding new value to our proposition, to any professional, company or organization that would like to offer their competencies and share their knowledge to solve challenging problems.

The business opportunity is large and high monetizable: by 2020, 4.5 billion people will be connected to the Internet; according to Accenture, 97% of companies believe that digital innovation is critical or important to their future performance. The value of supporting services and consulting for open innovation market (OI) was equal to €2.7 billion in 2013, and doubled in the following two years, reaching 5.5 billion Euro in 2015.

> Scope and objectives:
Our scope is to become the one-stop source for innovation sourcing in three years. Any company and organization that would like to use crowd-sourced solutions or ideas responding to their needs will be able to use our platform and access our network of solvers.

To achieve our scope and to validate the consolidated assumptions both as regard business model as well as technical functional points, we conducted a Feasibility Study (FS) to identify the following priorities:
1. Economic viability (priority level, strategic to the Ph1 objective): confirming the hypothesis related to the present Business Model as well as the Innoventually digital platform potentials to penetrate the European domain (specific focus on Italy, Switzerland and UK), enable us to elaborate a Business Plan (BP) as route to successfully enter the market.
2. Technical feasibility of the platform (secondary level).
"The activities performed during the Feasibility Assessment were the following:

1. At business level, we carried out key activities investigating demand drivers and potential entry barriers due to usability and awareness; we Identified specific functionalities that the users need in order to maximise the value added by gathering data directly on our client’s needs and requirements (interviews and surveys). Potential entry barriers or regulations were duly analyses and appropriate mitigation assessed paired with IPR issues (tasks 1.1; 1.2; 1.3; 1.4)

• Step #1: we conducted a sound in-house market research analysis, resulting in the identification of market potentials, relevant industry applications, target audiences;
• Step #2: we proceeded on with a detailed customer segmentation, resulting in a crystal-clear scenario of our target groups, archetype personas and related “gains&pains”;
• Step #3: we consolidated our Business Model and revenue model, enabling us to assess and fine-tune our market penetration strategy and to define costs/benefits stream;
• Step #4: we elaborated a sound marketing strategy (market penetration strategy, policy price), including promotion and communication activities to engage users/customers, resulting in a first pre-commercialisation plan.
• Step #5: we intensified our on-going relevant partnerships with key-players (still on-going), resulting in robust relationships facilitating the market entry;
• Step #6: we conducted a detailed IPR analysis, resulting in the assessment of a first complete IPR management plan.

2. On a technical level, and basing on the feedback directly received from our prospects and clients, we improved the design of the entire platform, adding new features specifically for the SMEs (task 2.1 2.2 2.3; 3.1; 4.1) including:
• step #1: key users and strategic partners to represent the end-users checking the feasibility of Innoventually platform services compatibility with their needs and expectations. The action dealt with a series of tests performed together with Barilla, iDigital3,to validate the new platform custom features for the specific target groups (and in particular for the SMEs). This was done with the help of several focus groups organised together with the partners which were instrumental to gather relevant information about GUI preferred options, main desiderata in terms of functional points as “users”, specific tools for the SMEs. As a result of focus groups, discussion and testing, we assumed potential customer “pains&gains” of the Innoventually’s digital platform, the requirements from the potential users also in terms of UX which will be the objectives of the SME PH2 project implementation (WP2 Prototyping &Design evolution). We also further assessed the technical feasibility of the digital platform and to validate main functional points, so we proceed with the pivotal design of the digital platform and a series of test conducted on regular basis together with selected key opinion leaders to check appropriateness of the look&feel, usability. To this extent, a private beta version of the digital platform was released for internal testing only, and for a limited time only just to validate the design as well as the performances. This enabled us to validate our potential users/customers needs and demands related to features&performances in use, related GUI (Graphic User Interface), and its features. As a result, screening bugs, ergonomics and implementation issues were checked and validated.
• step #2: elaboration of a detailed product development plan (for Phase 2 implementation), supported by the agile development methodology and by a digital marketing expert coaching (by EU coaches portal). As a result, we consollidated our strategy plan to reach the market, including implementation roadmap, key strategic actions, main milestones, pre-commercialisation plan. We identified 2 partners and signed cooperation agreements for pilot actions to be implemented in the forthcoming 18 months instrumental to further operation, technical and economic viability and pre-commercialisation actions.
• step #3: elaboration of a plan to satisfy all regulatory requirements necessary for market readiness, including a risk assessment and contingency plan will be conducted.

Results achieved so far: Technical Assessment (TA) and Economic Feasibility Analysis (EFA) resulted in the actual stage of the Innoventually's digital platform.
The Feasibility assessment and the results achieved during the recent 6 months activities definitively confirmed both the technical, operational as well the economic viability of our proposed innovation.
The work carried out was instrumental to plan and assess the progress needed on both economic, operational and technical level to reach market maturity. We have already set up our strategic and implementation plan to be carried out in the forthcoming 18 months, according to an accurate operational plan for the crucial activities to put in place to demonstrate our business model, superior performances in use and innovative character in real conditions.
The study conducted up to date definitively confirmed a strong market demand as well as potential customers willing to pay for our innovative solution. We now have a clear understanding of our “archetype persona”, their needs, demands, expectations and how our solution will be able to meet these demands.

The feedback collected from our industrial partners, stakeholders and third parties as well as our potential end-users/customers in these past months helped us to better understand the demands from our target market, so that GUI, ease-of-use and timely responsive capacity of the tools provided by the Innoventually’s digital platform will be of paramount importance to engage potential customers.

The introduction of Innoventually’s digital platform will have relevant impacts on industry and economic level:
- for Innoventually as a company in terms of growth and market dominance;
- for the potential customers, to monetize the value of digital collaboration, improve the innovation capacity, to stimulate crowdsourcing;
- for the EU, increasing the competitiveness of the EU SMEs and open innovation main players, resulting in social and economic benefits (jobs creation; economic growth, increased competitiveness, up-skilling).