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Design Driven Innovation For SMEs

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DesignShots (Design Driven Innovation For SMEs)

Reporting period: 2017-04-01 to 2018-06-30

The overall objective of the project was to use the experience, the tools, the capacity and the partners’ knowledge in order to address a common innovation support challenge namely to enhance the integration of Design Driven Innovation to SMEs through the creation of tailor made “Design Driven Innovation support programmes” for private sector.
Intermediary organizations offering support services on Innovation to SMEs are relevant actors in this process from two main points of view:
1) they can help policy makers in the development and application of programmes,
2) they can support SMEs to become more innovative.
The Peer learning activity let partners to learn from the best and to share good and bad practices in Design Driven Innovation support services for SMEs.
The realized Design Options Paper serves as a “guide” or a “handbook” to other agencies and business support centres to provide similar and/or more focused services/support/ programmes on Design Driven Innovation
The three project partners (KEPA- Greece, MBB-Malta, LUX Innovation-Luxemburg) implemented a peer-review process focused on design driven innovation support programmes for SMEs in order to drive competitiveness and growth. By combining forces, the partners have created the guidelines of a support instrument for integrating design innovation to SMEs.
The peer-learning process was based on two workshops (2 days each in Luxemburg and Malta) aimed at learning from the best and sharing good and bad practices in funding design support initiatives and schemes, as preparatory activity for the DOP preparation.
The workshops were organized through:
- the creation of a peer learning group (≥9 persons, from the 3 partners + representatives from regional authorities) in order to strengthen the competences in supporting SMEs in design driven innovation
- the cooperation with other initiatives that promote design driven innovation for the private sector in Europe (BEDA, Design for Europe, Design for Innovation).
Moreover, the partners implemented a pilot action by the means of a Design Diagnosis with 15 SMEs from the project partners' regions, with the aim of understanding what are the real and the unseen needs of the companies regarding design driven innovation and how to design a user friendly dedicated for them design driven innovation support scheme.
Such activities were functional for the preparation of the DOP - Design Options Paper, which identifies and documents the existing options, guidelines and implementation alternatives that DesignShot partners have experienced and would recommend to other agencies interested in implementing the proposed best practice.
Furthermore, the partners implemented different communication and dissemination activities about the project results, among which the organization of:
- a public event in Thessaloniki during European Innovation Forum (June 2018)
- a presentation of DesignShots and the DOP during Design4Innovation Project Workshop for policy Makers in Valetta (April 2018)
- three local workshops (one per each partners’ regions) presenting to SMEs how to design driven innovation can support their competitiveness.
The project has facilitated the knowledge exchange among the partners and the acquisition of improved skills on the following matters:
- provision of support services about design driven innovation SMEs in the involved territories;
- improvement of administrative and ‘back-office’ aspects in the management of design driven innovation support programmes forSMEs;
- enhancement of qualitative procedures in identifying the needs of SMEs and the corresponding most suitable funding schemes;
- identification of “good practices” among innovation agencies and intermediary organizations that have effectively design and implement design driven innovation support schemes.
These elements are significant results to increase the role of intermediary organizations, which can enable SMEs to concretely and correctively exploit these opportunities, enhance their capacity to boost their competitiveness and innovation performance though design, be competitive on international markets and face
global competition.
Moreover, the project can contribute to:
- prepare the ground for design driven innovation investments by handing out the results through various networks, in order to outreach innovation agencies, intermediary organizations and SMEs in the majority of EU members states;
- build capacities and skills: the development of a Design Options Paper will set the basis for building skills of the innovation agencies and intermediary organizations’ staff in realizing synergies between funds as well as SMEs in applying R&D&I investments;
- open dialogue with policy makers about the topic of design driven innovation for the private sector.
2nd peerlearning workshop photo