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Final Report Summary - INNOVATION PLATFORM (Innovation Management Platform for Aeronautics)

The Innovation Management Platform for Aeronautics (IMPA) is a collaborative wed-based software application that was designed to promote the development of breakthrough technologies and concepts in aviation by applying principles of systematic innovation, model-based idea generation, and the best practices in innovation management. Developed by Altran and FP7 consortium partners EADS Innovation Works, Cassidian Optronics (formerly Carl-Zeiss-Optronics), and Micos Engineering, the platform is built on a structured, workflow-based innovation process. Well-defined stages of idea generation and maturation, formal and informal reviews and feedback, lead to the selection of highpotential concepts for launch as formal projects. A continuous “technology watch” feature feeds and supports the idea development process. IMPA is designed to help generate, develop, and select novel concepts which can lead to disruptive/step-changes in aeronautics. The platform can equally be used to support and enhance incremental innovation.

The IMPA platform incorporates a structured, workflow based process ranging from capturing of raw ideas, to idea development and idea / concept selection with integrated informal and formal evaluations. Collaborative work is used throughout the process. The technology watch feature permits the systematic collection and monitoring of environmental and market changes, emerging technologies, and other information which can support idea development or the business strategy. Campaigns can be launched for organized calls for submission of ideas or technology watch items on specific topics to find solutions or identify new opportunities. Items are organized into clusters based on campaigns or automatic classification of spontaneous ideas whereby the classification is based on processing of key words and pre-defined categories. A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) and innovation management dashboard features permit top-down monitoring of innovation performance and alignment to the organisation’s innovation strategy. Finally, innovation guidelines and creativity methods were incorporated into IMPA in order to help users apply a portfolio of systematic innovation methodologies throughout the idea development as well as assessment and selection process. The IMPA tool is adapted to the aeronautics industry by the application of pre-defined categories based on the ACARE Taxonomy for aeronautical research & technology.

The software was developed with proven Microsoft .Net / C# Framework, MS Sharepoint Foundation 2010 and SQL technologies for trouble-free management of large quantities of information. It was designed for easy implementation and compatibility with most corporate or academic IT infrastructures. Once installed on a networked infrastructure, it can be accessed via standard web browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome) on PCs or tablets, allowing users to contribute ideas anywhere, any time. A mobile phone portal is currently under development as well.

The platform is founded on the principle that a well-defined innovation management process enhances an organisation’s innovation performance. While most organisations have well–defined and structured processes for project management and industrialization, the front-end of innovation usually lacks structure and may even be chaotic. Process based approaches are used to ensure the quality and consistency of results across industries and are particularly relevant to the aviation industry where safety and reliability are of critical concern, therefore well-defined processes, standards and regulations are applied throughout the product development and product lifecycle.

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