TitleSubtitleDescriptionProcess Main StagesTouchpoints & BottlenecksBenchmarking and reference to other similar initiativesSuccess Factors / BarriersConclusionDosDont'sContact 1Contact 2
Advanced Design Project – a student project as a University-Industry collaborationA student project as an open innovation collaboration between the Technische Universität Darmstadt and an automotive companyAn automotive company is searching for an innovative solution for a specific problem. The research group System Reliability, Adaptive Structures, and Machine Acoustics SAM of Technische Universität Darmstadt was asked to develop solutions by involving students into the innovation process. These students are highly motivated, highly qualified, and not constrained by the standardized work flow in the industry. Therefore, they are ideally suited to develop innovative solutions off the beaten path. STAGE 1 - AGREEMENT AND SHAPING OF THE RESEARCH TOPIC First the automotive company and the TU Darmstadt have to agree on a research topic based on the industry’s needs and the knowledge of the research group at TU Darmstadt. Therefore, a cooperation contract is signed between both partners to ensure a good cooperation. Finally, the student group has to be recruited at the TU Darmstadt. STAGE 2 - RESEARCH PHASE The student group does research on the defined topic. In parallel, a continuous communication among all actors has to be ensured in order to meet all expectations STAGE 3 - PRESENTATION OF THE RESULTS AND GRADING OF THE STUDENT GROUP The student group presents the outcomes to both, university and industry. After the presentation, the results will be discussed among all actors. Finally the student group will be graded. TOUCH POINT - UNIVERSITY- INDUSTRY INTERACTION Touchpoints are the TU Darmstadt, which agrees with the industry on a research topic, the student group, which works on a research question defined by the industry, and the supervisors staying in contact to ensure all expectations are met. BARRIER 1 - INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY The main bottleneck is the management of IP. One the one hand, the automotive company claims all rights of the research outcomes. On the other hand the student group, as a part of TU Darmstadt, also claims its rights. Before the Advanced Design Project starts, a clear legal binding agreement has to be passed. BARRIER 2 - DIFFERENT EXPECTATIONS The university is expecting very accurate and detailed research on fundamental questions, while the industry expects ready-to-use outcomes, which can be monetized. The student group, who is in between these different expectations, must serve both interests. The main objective of the student group is to get the ECTS to proceed in their studies in order to graduate. To achieve this target, the group will do excellent research in a highly motivated way. Additionally the group can experience latest problems in industry to gain experience. The main success factors are a clearly defined task and reliable supervisors. The main objective of Technische Universität Darmstadt is to have a strong and intense cooperation with the industry to learn about the industry’s needs in research. The knowledge transfer from university to industry is very direct, but also the knowledge about the industry’s needs do influence the university’s research activities. The main objective of the automotive company is to gather innovative solutions off the beaten path for their problems. The main success factor is to have a motivated and capable group of students doing the research. At the very beginning, a detailed definition of the task must be carried out. A student group must be recruited, which is highly motivated, highly qualified, and open minded towards innovative research outcomes. In order to avoid differences concerning the intellectual property, a clear agreement has to be passed before the Advanced Design Project starts. During the project itself, it is vital that all actors communicate closely in order to meet the expectations of all actors. The task must not be too detailed in order to avoid narrowing the field of solutions. Innovations need space to flourish. Additionally, the student group must not be influenced too much by traditional solutions available in the industry for years to enable innovation. From the supervisor’s point of view, the degree of guidance must neither be too low, nor too high in order to give enough guidance to achieve innovative solutions, but not to push the student group to traditional solutions. Detail the tasks early on. Recruit a group of students that is highly motivated, highly qualified and open minded towards innovative research outcomes. Clear up the agreement of IP before the project starts. Facilitate communication among actors throughout the project. Do not detail tasks too much in order to avoid narrowing the field of solutions. Do not influence the students too much by traditional solutions already available in the industry for years to enable innovation. As a supervisor try to find the right balance between guidance and freedom for the students. Philipp Neubauer, Scientific staff at TU Darmstadt, supervisor of the student group, , , Germany, Neubauer@sam.tu-darmstadt.de, +49 6151 16-23594, , , , , , ,
Carbonsplash: the Carbon Fibre Water BikeB2B & B2C crowdfunding demonstration of R&D resultsCarbonsplash was conceived to showcase R&D results from the collaborative European project ENLIGHT (focussed on the development of CFRP – Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastics materials and manufacturing technologies for high volume automotive parts). The Carbonsplash initiative integrates technologies from various innovative companies into an attractive water bike vehicle that catches the interest and imagination of consumers. Private companies working in the field of carbon fibre reinforced plastic materials, manufacturing technologies and advanced lightweight e-bikes join forces to showcase their innovations in a light-weight foldable carbon fibre water bike prototype. The participating companies invest some very limited cash (less than €5.000), as well their own resources (time, materials, machinery). The choice of the prototype was made following an initial market research, and was based on the attractiveness to the public, and the market potential of the application. The main novelty of the approach is that it allows organisations with innovative technologies to apply and showcase them in an agile way, with a very low upfront investment, reaching a prototype stage that is then used to run a consumer crowdfunding campaign aimed at raising the substantial funds needed to initiate small series production. In this way, organisations can demonstrate their technologies and broaden their client-base at a very accessible cost, while creating a new profit-making venture. STAGE 1: CONSORTIUM AND APPLICATION IDENTIFICATION During this first stage, Bax & Company took the initiative of making an initial market research for the suitable application, which identified a gap in the market for “high-tech” water bikes. Following this, Bax & Company made the first preliminary conceptual designs, identified potential partners based on their innovations, and invited them to the consortium. The preliminary designs were made to satisfy the identified market needs for portability, speed, and appearance, i.e. the ability to fold the bike in a backpack (using inflatable floaters), reaching a max speed of 15km/h with the help of a small electric drivetrain, and making use of carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) to keep the weight under 20kg. STAGE 2: FROM CONCEPT TO PROTOTYPE The second stage consists of confirming the interest of the partners, and dividing the manufacturing of the prototype parts to the different partners based on the capabilities and strengths of their technologies. For example, one company is assigned the manufacturing of small complex parts with their CFRP 3D printing technology, another company produces the beam like components while a third one focusses on the shell type components. The different partners are producing the parts in their facilities, and will ship them to one central location for final assembly. STAGE 3: MARKET UPTAKE CHECK This stage includes activities for showcasing/promoting, and checking market demand for the water bike. The first official showcase will happen at an open event in the port of Barcelona, where the prototype will be tested in water in public for the first time with the aim of attracting attention from potential users. Several local media will be invited, and a video will be made, to promote the product. Additionally, the prototype will be exhibited at appropriate events and trade-fairs (e.g. JEC Europe, Composites Europe), that will allow the partners to showcase the capabilities of their materials and manufacturing technologies, which could potentially generate new clients in other sectors (e.g. automotive). In parallel, a crowdfunding campaign will be launched on the Indiegogo platform, providing the possibility for 200 people to acquire a beta version of the prototype. This will serve as both, a way to check market demand for the water bike, and to generate part of the necessary capital for upscaling production capabilities. STAGE 4: INCORPORATION AND INDUSTRIALIZATION If the previous stage demonstrates that there is a market demand for the Carbonsplash water e-bike then the detailed business model will be developed, and a separate legal entity will be set up, involving all the partners. This model should be developed to best fit the interests of all founding organizations. Additional water bikes will be sold to rental companies to further promote the product, and assess user satisfaction. In parallel, the partners will scale-up their production capacities (exploring the possibility of a joint venture) to prepare for market demand. Marketing activities will be carried out, such as targeted promotion in social media, water-sports enthusiasts’ media, etc. TOUCHPOINT 1: INITIAL AGREEMENT This touchpoint involves the initial contact with the potential partners. The interactions include face-to-face meetings, phone calls and email communications. The main difficulty in this interaction is that since the approach is completely new, companies have difficulty to assess the costs and the benefits of joining this initial prototyping step. TOUCHPOINT 2: PROTOTYPING This touchpoint refers to the interaction of all partners in manufacturing and assembling the parts of the prototype. Interactions will include: group and bilateral teleconferences between partners and the coordinator, workshops and meetings. The main difficulty will be to coordinate the remote manufacturing of parts which should be assembled together and maintain all partners on the same page, something very important to build a functional prototype. TOUCHPOINT 3: CROWD-FUNDING CAMPAIGN This touchpoint refers to the interaction of the consortium with the public through the crowd-funding platform. The online campaign will be planned and launched, and subsequently the consortium will need to follow-up, and answer any questions that might arise from the community. It is very important that the campaign is well planned, the promotional materials (videos, pictures) show the attractiveness of the water bike, and that the backing packages are appealing. TOUCHPOINT 4: MEDIA The interactions with media will include the press coverage at the initial showcasing at the Port of Barcelona and subsequent showcasing at relevant events, and press releases. In these interactions, it is important to shape the message according to the audience of the specific medium. For example, in communications through public media, the attributes of the water bike that are appealing to consumers will be emphasised, while in industry specific media such as NetComposites, CompositesWorld, the innovations of the new technologies will be emphasised. The main success factors include the positive perception of the initial water bike concept from the public and potential users, the willingness of participating companies to invest initially out of their own resources, and lean and agile overall coordination of the project by an entity who has both the technology, as well as the market knowledge to push it forward. The main barriers to overcome include getting on-board a “critical mass” of business partners willing to collaborate and build the prototype, remote collaboration with companies in different countries, and striking a good balance between what the partners are asked to invest, and what they get in return. B2B crowd-sourcing a physical prototype is a new way to promote R&D&i results. This new approach facilitates exploitation of results and enhances visibility of new technologies that are difficult to show to a wider audience in an attractive way. Showcasing technologies in a “cool” prototype can also raise the interest of society to further support and promote scientific research. In addition, establishing a collaboration of at least 10 partners decreases the initial investment necessary to build the prototype. This model, together with existing consumer crowd-funding platforms, offers an opportunity to raise funding in a non-traditional way as well as to validate market interest in the product. Look at new funding sources. Aim for standardization of deals. Assess market interest. Consider all partners’ interests. Make sure the prototype is appealing. Underestimate the time needed to find the partners for the collaboration. Focus only on the technology, do make sure the prototype is appealing for society and the media. Laszlo Bax, CEO, , , Spain, l.bax@baxcompany.com, , , , , , , ,
CDILabs - An open innovation consortiumFaciliating collaboration between corporate companies and startupsCDILabs is a corporate innovation consortium aimed at enabling commercial collaborations between innovative tech startups/scaleup and multinational corporations. Launched in Turin, Italy, in 2016 by the Collège des Ingénieurs (CDI) and three leading industrial groups in automotive, infrastructures and energy industry (Fiat-Chrysler Automobile, Atlantia Group and ERG), the consortium has now grown to include over 10 multinational corporate partners, active in industrial sectors ranging from mobility to aerospace, from logistics to manufacturing, from renewable energies to oil&gas. During the course of the past three years since launch, CDILabs enabled over 40 pilots corporate-to-startup and initiated 5 collaborations corporate-to-corporate; with startups coming from than 20 countries in Europe and Israel. The consortium is structured as an open innovation platform based on a three-phased methodology. Each year, the process starts with the investigation of business and technological innovation needs and exchange of experiences among partners (Exploration phase), scouting of innovative solutions and technologies matching with corporate needs (Selection phase), with subsequent testing and validation on small-scale pilots (Pilot phase) before evaluating large-scale implementation. Stage 1: Exploration CDILabs methodology starts with identifying clear Innovation Needs for each of its corporate partners. These needs are defined together with the Partner Company through interviews with reference persons within the Partner Company. CDILabs then brings together and summarizes the needs emerged, and validate them against Top Management’s priorities, in order to identify the themes on which to focus innovation efforts. This paves the way for successful collaborations and grows an internal corporate culture favourable to innovation. In parallel, the consortium acts as a catalyser for joint opportunities among CDILabs partner companies: each one gets to interact and talk to the other corporate partners at roundtables, thematic events, and ad-hoc meetings, facilitating networking and sharing of innovation experiences and practices. Stage 2: Selection Once priorities and needs are defined, CDILabs looks in the market for solutions potentially able to address needs expressed by the corporate. CDILabs’ scouting perimeter focuses on innovative companies (typically post-seed startups) at European level, which encompass Israel. The pre-screening takes into account multiple parameters, such as solution maturity, expected implementation costs, as well as scaling potential and potential for new business opportunities. Preselected startups are then invited to meet the corporate at a Matchmaking day, which is an annual CDILabs event where startups present their solutions and identify potential use cases for a cooperation. The format of the event mixes pitching sessions for inspiration with one-to-one private meetings for focused business discussions, and is invite-only. Stage 3: Pilots Following CDILabs Matchmaking Day, the corporate companies identify startups that are able to address its needs and start discussing a pilot collaboration - shaping a framework of collaboration from objectives to resources and operational activities. To fast-track innovation, the pilots projects typically lasts only three months to one year, on a specific geography with a precise objective and budget. In most cases, the pilot is a direct startup-to-corporate suppliers relationship, though some projects may also require the involvement of suppliers, research centres or other third-party partners. Significant innovation opportunities can be found also in corporate-to-corporate pilots. Upon completion of the pilot, the result of the collaboration is evaluated on various KPIs and the corporate takes the decision whether to scale the solution. Post-pilot next steps can be: further co-development, co-licensing, supplier relationship, as well as reasoned investments and acquisitions. TOUCHPOINT: Meetings between CDILabs and Partner Companies Touchpoints of the process are meetings between CDILabs and Partner Companies, typically happening across the corporate organization, from C-level executives to BUs experts; meetings and calls between startups and corporates; an annual Matchmaking Day; roundtables between corporates; ad-hoc events for ecosystem building. BOTTLENECK: Attaining Commitment Main bottleneck is having a clear corporate commitment which is an enabler for a good relationship management with startups. It is essential that the corporate identifies clearly on its innovation needs, so that the scouting of solutions can be tailored for the overall organization priorities while matching what the operational level is looking for – and ready to work with. From the beginning it is also essential to identify for each Innovation Theme clear reference persons, who then act as project managers during pilots for ensuring they run smoothly and in schedule. SUCCESS FACTOR: Creation of an Innovation Culture The main objective of the multinational companies taking part in CDILabs consortium is to create a favourable culture of innovation within their organization, enabling to bring to life new products, services and business models. The main objective of startups is to access new sales channels, validate their solutions with large clients and create long-term partnerships with actors critical for scale-up. The main success factors are clearly defined objectives and a structured innovation process to manage the relationship between procedure-based established groups versus dynamic and challenging innovation suppliers such as startups. Innovation in established businesses can be a long, time-consuming and resource-intensive process. By streamlining the access of corporates to new solutions developed by startups, offering to C-level executives insights on innovation trends tailored to their needs, an access to an international network of partners, and creating open communications channels allowing key discussions to take place, CDILabs contributes to reducing the risk of innovation and unlock new opportunities for its members.  An open innovation consortium such as CDILabs is a fast track for knowledge & best practices sharing, Innovation risk mitigation, internal culture growth and a multiplier of Innovation opportunities. Identify corporate needs & priorities early on Tailor the selection of innovative solutions to corporate needs Create open communication channels between startups and corporates, facilitated by a neutral third party, to ensure both actors speak the same language Clear up the pilot's objective, resources, reference persons and KPIs before the project starts Do not restrict too much the field of research Do not commit to investments/acquisitions without having previously tested/validated the solution proposed by the innovation actor through small-scale pilot(s) As an innovation platform, remain neutral in the process, not pushing for a technical solution or another, but rather looking at the solution’s application and long-term usefulness David Storer, Strada Torino 50, Orbassano (TO), Italy, david.storer@crf.it, +39 335 6942465, Alessandro Magny, Via Giuseppe Giacosa, 38, Torino, Italy, alessandro.magny@it.cdi.eu, +39 3282143417, CDI Labs
CH4PA - The multipurpose vehicle for developing countries fueled by biomethane A frugal innovation for 1,5 billion small farmers to enhance their productivity, meet the raising food demand, save 95% of CO2 emissions and reduce fuel costs by more than 50%Spirit Design developed this market innovation as a concept and a prototype for the CH4PA (chapa = Portuguese for “buddy”). Its name is derived from using biomethane (=CH4) as fuel. This environmentally compatible and affordable multifunctional vehicle increases the productivity of small farmers. The project is a cooperation with many different stakeholders aiming at puting the CH4PA in series production in Brazil. STAGE 1 - IDEA The idea of developing a vehicle combining a quad and a tractor for small farmers came up after first client projects in the agricultural field. The project OX was born. It was build-up to a design concept and then rested for a while. STAGE 2 - FEASIBILITY AND MARKET RESEARCH By the means of funded feasibility studies, the OX was taken to the next stage, where the design concept and the technology of CNG (compressed natural gas) were reflected upon. In cooperation with the Technical University of Vienna, it was determined if a CNG engine would work for a tractor. Furthermore, a market research was conducted in China to identify competitors and market potentials. Due to IP issues in China, Brazil was selected as target market. Based on a local study on the needs of the small farmers, the concept evolved from OX to CH4PA. STAGE 3 - DESIGN DEVELOPMENT AND PROTOTYPE A crucial part was the raising of the money for the design and prototype development. After organizing the funding provision, a search for partners for the prototype build-up was conducted. The offers of large, well-known companies turned out to be out of reach. But the Virtual Vehicle in Graz aided to find cheaper approaches and by chance an expert in building special cars as well as a SME with a tool shop. There the CH4PA could be built at reasonable costs. Due to the height of the external costs, the Brazilian partner agreed to pay 50% of the IP costs. STAGE 4 - TESTING AND COMMUNICATION At this point the testing of the prototype has been started, during which a few necessary improvements and some points for further development were detected. Additionally, increased communication activities took place. Those included a.o. a website, conferences and PR activities in specific media and on television. Finally, the CH4PA was transferred to Brazil for further testing and promotion. STAGE 5 - COST PLANNING FOR SERIES PROTOTYPES, BUSINESS PLAN Due to the PR activities, industrial attention and contact to AVL Brazil, who supported the development of a roadmap and supplied fundamental numbers for a business plan, was obtained. This business plan will serve as an acquisition tool for industrial partners as licensees. Concrete negotiations have already started with the company Agrale. STAGE 6 - INVESTOR AND/OR LICENSE AGREEMENTS WITH INDUSTRY, FOUNDING OF A NEW COMPANY Currently, a new company specialized in the development of biogas regions is under planning. This company will provide products and services connected to biomethane upgrading in developing countries. TOUCHPOINT 1 - TECHNOLOGY LEARNING STAGE  Throughout three client projects, first contacts to the field agricultural vehicles were made. The projects gave insight into the strategies of big tractor producers and allowed to set up own know-how. Furthermore, they pointed out the big market segment of small farmers in developing countries that has not yet been targeted by established companies. TOUCHPOINT 2 - USER NEEDS AND REQUIREMENTS The next important touch points were scientific and cluster conferences, where personal contacts to experts of development assistance were built. Those pointed out that the fuel costs (which count up to nearly 50% of small farmers’ expenses) are as important as the price of the whole vehicle. This process led to the idea of using biogas as vehicle fuel, which the farmers can produce themselves from agricultural residues. TOUCHPOINT 3 - PERSONAL CONTACT TO THE BRAZILIAN MANAGER OF ITAIPU A professor of the University of Agriculture provided the contact to the environmental manager of Itaipu, the world’s biggest hydro power plant. Itaipu runs a Brazilian research institute for biogas, CIBiogas, which signed a MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Spirit Design to define a long-term cooperative relationship. This cooperation still lasts. TOUCHPOINT 4 - CONFERENCE ON MOBILITY OF THE AUTOMOTIVE CLUSTER OF VIENNA By chance, the acquaintance of Peter Kainz, a former builder of special vehicles, was made during the search for a supporting partner for the prototyping. He introduced Spirit Design to a tractor distributor and service company, which also offers workshops. In this way, the road was prepared for the fastest and cheapest way of the prototype production. TOUCHPOINT 5 - PERSONAL CONTACT TO A MANAGER OF THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY AVL organized the contact between Spirit Design and their Brazilian representative, who became enthusiastic about the project. After the finishing of the prototype, AVL was hired to organize workshops for the development of two series near.   BOTTLENECK 1 - INDUSTRIAL MANAGERS OF THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY Though, the contacted industrial managers of the automotive industry were initially interested in the idea, they only saw reasons, why it could not work. Also their market focus was on the big, developed markets instead of poor, small farmers in developing countries, a market segment that - they believed - would disappear in a while. BOTTLENECK 2 - TRANSATLANTIC BUSINESS AND BUREAUCRACY The development of the MOU, the transfer of half of the IP rights as well as the technology import were very costly, time consuming and stressful due to the crossing of international boarders, Brazilian bureaucracy and (at the beginning) language barriers. BOTTLENECK 3 - INTERNAL RESISTANCE Not everybody working at Spirit Design supported the project from the beginning. Though, funding could cover the direct costs, the risks as well as the opportunity costs seemed to high. Therefore, the development was internally fought instead of backed-up. SUCCESS FACTORS A clear but also adaptable idea and a well-developed strategy are the basic success factors for the implementation of an innovation. These require money, time and a fitting network. Money was provided by various funding agencies and the Brazilian partner. Know-how was delivered by the partners and from research of the local market. Further important success factors are cost efficiency as well as, entrepreneurship and good communication, which will keep the project successful even in times of profit driven innovation from multinational companies. BARRIERS Throughout the project, money stayed the limiting factor of the process. Also, the organizational structure of Spirit Design is unsuited for in-house developments.  For the next steps, development of small series prototypes, production and launch, a Brazilian tractor company as license partner and funding from big investors will be needed. Furthermore, building-up of the infrastructure in Brazil with open and reliable partners (research, industry, etc.) that are willing to contribute to the same goal is necessary.  One of the most important parts of a project is the research (about i.a. market, its driving forces, technology, industry, potentials). Hereby, the best approach is to see the target market as a holistic system. The users and their needs play a major role in this system. Therefore, it is of importance to involve them directly and ask the right questions (done by i.a. workshops and feasibility studies) It can also be helpful to show them visual concepts as people have problems to think more abstract. Beside the users, partners are of importance especially ones in other fields, as no one has all the know-how. So while waiting for the right time and instead of being afraid of other people stealing the idea, one should communicate and already build-up the fitting network.  In the beginning, it is also necessary to develop a long-term funding strategy, as it will take time until investors will join.  Another lesson learned is that an idea might needs some evolvement before a successful implementation. Therefore one should keep the initial idea flexible and check the strategy carefully. But the most important message is to simply not give up. Even if other experts discourage you. But many people can just not think outside their boxes. Georg Wagner, Managing Partner, , , , Georg.wagner@spiritdesign.com, +4313677979, , , , , , ,
Co-coaching for technology intensive companies to unlock their full innovation and growth potentialCo-coaching of the high-growth SME Fuchshofer, to boost its innovation performance by leveraging its operational strengths and its innovation management capabilities In this case study, Fuchshofer Präzisionstechnik GmbH (approx. 70 employees), with a very advanced technological knowledge in the field of high-precision manufacturing (working mainly as a subcontractor of companies from automotive and space industry sectors), is supported by a coaching team of industrial fellows of Cambridge University and innovation & change agents of i2m. Their role is to help provide a foundation from which to make the successful transition into the development of Fuchshofer’s own products, thereby implementing for the first time a product-driven innovation strategy. The traditional business of Fuchshofer is to win contracts, usually from Large Enterprises, for the production of specific parts of e.g. cars or airplanes. Although the Company’s high technical knowledge allows it to maintain a good positioning in this market, the dependence on external factors is still relatively high, and there is exposure to a range of associated risks. In this context, the Company’s management did an analysis of the available resources and capabilities, along with the potential products and markets that could be addressed. They identified an innovative product that would best fit its needs: it would be ’its own’ product, highly technological, covering a huge market need and with a high ROI. However, Fuchshofer thought a step further and recognised that a more structured innovation management process compared to the existing one would help them a lot, to significantly speed up the realisation of their product ideas. In order to take full advantage of its innovation potential, and with the aim of securing its production site and its market positioning for the future, the Company approached the co-coaching initiative driven by IfM ECS Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Cambridge (UK), and i2m (AT) to collaborate on the systemic development of a strategy with a clear focus: sustainability and impact. The overall objective was to design and implement a viable plan at Fuchshofer to take full advantage of the Company’s potential to identify and implement innovations. A functional platform was developed and deployed and the whole organization was involved in the innovation process. Stage 1: DIAGNOSIS STAGE (duration two months) In this stage i2m coaches and Fuchshofer were the main actors. A lean systemic 360° organisational analysis was applied to examine the structure, processes and culture of Fuchshofer in a holistic manner. To ensure objectiveness and thus avoid any bias that would impair conclusions drawn i2m was leading this activity. This also helped to keep Fuchshofer’s time efforts as low as two days in total. Additionally, a compact analysis of the Company’s external environment including benchmarking with relevant peers was also made as well as a target market analysis. The data collected was jointly explored by i2m and Fuchshofer, in order to better understand the often complex and fast changing external context and drivers, to shape a common understanding of the current business strategy and to define a shared company vision within the Company. The coaches’ role was to help Fuchshofer to thoroughly understand the principle of interdependency — that change in one part of a system affects the other parts — the outstanding characteristics of organization development compared to classical expert consulting approaches.  Stage 2: PRIORITISATION AND ACTION PLAN DEVELOPMENT STAGE (duration: Three days) The main actors involved were Fuchshofer, as well as the coaches from IfM-ECS and i2m, who worked together intensely to identify the key priorities for the Company by means of interviews with Fuchshofer’s key management personnel and observation of plant activities, along with an initial action plan to help address these priorities. Priorities here mean what are the “order winners” that enable the specific SME in its particular sector to outsmart competitors (e.g. demand management, quality or delivery) and what are the business constraints (e.g. plant & equipment, people & information or cash) that hinder further growth. In concrete terms a comparison of priorities and practices was made with the Company’s management team to show how resources are allocated and whether or not this reflects the Company’s priorities. Also, the implications of continuing ‘as is’ were assessed. Proposals for an improved “future state” were identified. Areas requiring urgent attention and those where resources are allocated unnecessarily in order to efficiently improve in a focused approach, were also included in the functional innovation platform developed to improve Fuchshofer’s business activities. A prioritised action plan was developed with the management team to assist the company to reach its desired level of performance. Significant knowledge transfer from University to Fuchshofer took place during this stage to align the Company’s management team view how to best manage the constraints the Company faces while maximising the performance of order-winning capabilities. i2m also participated here, as it was responsible for taking the results and conclusions reached and map them into an actionable action roadmap for their future implementation. The Company’s limited available resources were sensibly taken into account in there as well.  Stage 3: CHANGE AND IMPLEMENTATION (duration: ongoing) In this stage, the responsible party is i2m in close cooperation with Fuchshofer. During this phase, several detailed activities have been planned and executed in order to implement the action plan developed in the previous stage. Firstly, internal organisational measures have been agreed and introduced, addressing the highlighted order-winners as well as business constraints requiring attention to efficiently improve Fuchshofer’s functional platform to reach its desired level of performance. i2m also safeguards that if implementation of the action plan developed risks to slow down, targeted support of IfM-ECS is received to speed up the process again. Secondly, processes and tools for early detection and adoption of new ideas are designed and introduced, including the absolutely new focus on developing own products (partly for completely new markets). In addition to this example, the implementation of several other measures related to boost the overall innovation performance (e.g. systematic integration of customers, partners and external innovations into own product & service development process, innovation management performance, involvement of employees in the innovation process at all levels, etc.) are also started. Touch point 1: Personal meetings For an SME used to implementing its strategic activities for many years, without external consultants (i.e., University and Technology & Organization development SME), to understand the potential of developing own products and implementing structures to unlock its innovation opportunities were critical. The CEO needed to build trust in these completely new ways of thinking and fully support the implementation of change within the organization. At the same time, this was one of the bottlenecks within the project, as the availability and response time of the Management was slow, especially at the beginning. Once the objectives had been defined and the project started to be put in place, the need for personal meetings faded and other forms of communication were implemented. Touch point 2: Collaborative communication tools and collaborative development In the diagnosis stage, an important touch point was the use of online communication tools (in this case, tele-conferencing using WEBEX and TeamViewer and shared file services using OwnCloud). The access of all participating parties (mainly both SMEs) to the complete information was essential to monitor the progress, success and impact of the measures agreed. The monitoring of milestones and deliverables was also made easier for all parties through these tools. The bottleneck, in this case, was the establishment of far too ambitious deadlines. In this sense, Fuchshofer and its employees needed more time than expected to also cover this work in addition to their pressing daily business. However, once they managed to free some resources, they supported the current activities enthusiastically. These experiences also allowed Fuchshofer to implement new tools for its collaboration with lead users for its own products, to be able to understand their requirements and thus develop specific products focusing on customer solutions. Examples of similar ‘Diagnose & Prioritisation’ engagements have been seen across a range of major funded programmes, e.g. in the UK with programmes such as Sharing in Growth (Aerospace sector):  (http://www.sig-uk.org/ ) Civil Nuclear Sharing in Growth (http://namrc.co.uk/services/sig/ ) PrISMS (http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/news/prisms-programme-publishes-preliminary-results-of-its-work-with-uk-smes/#.WKyb6zqmmUl ) Furthermore, compared to other University knowledge transfer projects as well as co-coaching projects and being analysed with the Assessment Tool for University-Business Collaborative Research Partnerships (U-B Tool) developed by the European University Association (EUA) in the context of the FP7 project “European Universities Implementing their Modernisation Agenda (EUIMA)” (see http://ubtool.eua.be/), the project could contribute to Fuchshofer in several aspects. Firstly, from a strategic point of view it could allow to increase its R&D capacity and, especially to gain access to academic and organisational expertise. Secondly, the project addressed very deeply structural factors, which will contribute to implement new organization processes to detect innovation and by providing a new orientation to the SME towards the manufacturing of own products. Thirdly, in the area of “facilitating aspects” the SME experienced the potential of a trustworthy coaching relationship, the commitment and interdependence with partners and the advantages of working in a network with open innovation approaches. For Fuchshofer, there were three main tangible success factors: Firstly, to make a transition from a company working exclusively on a contract manufacturing basis into a company that successfully offers contract manufacturing and complementary own products in parallel. Fuchshofer has taken substantial advantage of learning from the solutions IfM-ECS has developed for the individual needs of technology-intensive SMEs in more than 1000 coaching projects, over the last 15 years. Significantly, the co-coaching team of IfM-ECS and i2m has helped to efficiently use lean identification of business priorities and to implement smart business strategy development and implementation-management tools. Secondly, the objective was to implement a systemic innovation management system that shall allow the company to identify, optimize and implement further products as a result of a strategically implemented innovation process. Last but of no less importance, Fuchshofer also strived for coaching that clearly focused ONLY on these core elements of their company, that actually form the “functional platform” for their business activities. This clear focus causes less efforts and less investment and therefore saves precious resources of SMEs - their time and money. For IfM-ECS, the main success factor was to learn from the implementation of its over-15-year-proven knowledge transfer methodology and know-how derived out of its most recent research result,s whilst supporting the technological SME in an effective way and with a clear objective: to deliver tangible impact in the most efficient way (e.g. minimal time requirements of management team, lean approach to identify valuable insights, outstanding domain knowledge to quickly understand relevant external drivers). An Industrial Fellow from IfM-ECS engaged with Fuchshofer’s management team, reaching a common agreement on the challenges, and highlighting the key priorities on which they needed to focus. This led the way to develop a structured view of prioritised potential improvement paths. Furthermore, a clear action plan with specific next steps was proposed. In summary, the University managed to deliver clear knowledge transfer to the SME that will help provide a foundation from which Fuchshofer can consolidate and grow in the future. The primary role of i2m, the SME specialised in innovation-driven organisation development, was to set up a systematic process of implementing the actions planned for strengthening Fuchshofer’s functional platform for its business activities, as well as designing the accompanying easy-to-digest organisational learning process. This continued support for effective implementation is one of the key benefits of this co-coaching approach of IfM-ECS and i2m. The client is not left alone in this implementation phase that is critical for the success of the entire coaching initiative! Additionally, a tailored innovation process, well-aligned with the existing company structures and processes, was jointly designed to help Fuchshofer to develop its first own product, in the leanest way possible. This especially includes the development of capabilities for developing innovation partnerships to satisfy the Company’s increasing needs of external sources of expertise, technologies and innovations. Moreover, the support to design and implement approaches of how to create and manage alliance-based business models (including specific product-technology marketing tools) was also started. The overall success factor was the very effective collaboration of all the actors involved, which was made possible through the use of collaborative (e.g. tele-conferencing like WEBEX, shared file repositories like OwnCloud) and OI tools (e.g. Online Project Management Tools or Evernote or Trello). For Fuchshofer, the main barrier was that it was confronted with a new way of doing business and manufacturing products. Although it was already a very successful company in its market niche, the CEO was so ambitious and had such a clear idea of what he wanted, that he managed to overcome many internal barriers (e.g. to motivate his management team as well as key personnel and still find enough time to work on the development of their first product in parallel to the very pressing daily business). He was convinced that the only way to guarantee growth was to change the habits of the company, through setting up an additional potential revenue stream and create and implement a process that guarantees a constant innovation feeding into that stream. A further barrier was the existing reluctance of Fuchshofer regarding external consulting. Unmet expectations in previous projects have led to this reserved attitude. In this sense, the courage to trust external experts made the project a complete success. In order to be successful in co-coaching projects, one of the keys to success is to be fully open to the potential opportunities arising. No prejudices about the possible result should be taken beforehand. Additionally, one’s own interests have to be clearly defined and the interests and motivations of the other partners must be taken into account. On the other hand, the analysis to be done by the University and other external parties has to be critical but also in the framework of the realistic possibilities of the Company. The outcome has to be tangible and the implementation plan needs a flexible timeframe. Finally, the participation of the management and decision-making personnel is critical. It is important not to impose an action or activity on the SME that it cannot or does not want to implement. Often the border is very thin and the flexibility has to be there as change needs time. In this sense, do not expect fast answers and do not exclude any party from the communication process: transparency is essential. Alexander Blaschka, , , , alexander.blaschka@i2m.at, +43 664 513 8195, , , , , , ,
Cooperation through Clusters and Strategic Research CentersAn open innovation approach implemented between Flemish universities, research centers, and industryTo support the transformation of the manufacturing industry in Flanders required to fully embrace the opportunities and challenges offered by Digitization and the Industry 4.0 agenda, the Strategic Research Center “Flanders Make” was established in 2014, supported by the Flemish government. This physical Center brings together Academia, Research Centers and Industry to implement a jointly defined strategic roadmap for research, innovation and industrial uptake in the field of product design and product manufacturing. Flanders Make consists of a unique combination of an “Intra-Muros” capacity for applied and transformational research and a “Virtual Department“ consisting of a number of leading Flemish academic laboratories, which together with industry partners execute projects of different types (including Strategic Basic and Industrial Cooperative). The roadmap definition and the project implementation are supervised and validated by both an Industrial and a Scientific Advisory Board while IP principles are discussed and agreed in an IP board. KU Leuven was one of the co-founding partners of Flanders Make and leads key roadmaps while Siemens Industry Software (SISW) has been a driving industry member from the first hour and involved in several of the identified strategic innovation lines. These two partners together create both a platform and bring own expertise. STAGE 1 - STRATEGY: ​Definition/update of the global vision and strategy of the Research Centre. Validation by the International Scientific and Industrial Advisory Board. STAGE 2 - DEFINITION OF MAIN TECHNOLOGY ROADMAPS Definition/update – by all stakeholders – of the main technology roadmaps. Intensive consultations with all stakeholders take place and proposals are iterated and consolidated in joint workshops. STAGE 3 - SELECTION OF RESEARCH TOPICS: Staged process to propose, develop and select concrete research topics for implementation in projects (with subsequent reviews by stakeholders, management board, funding agency). Dedicated consultations and workshops take place per roadmap and per gate in the Stage Gate process. STAGE 4 - PROJECT EXECUTION: Execution of the selected research projects. STAGE 5 - PROJECT FINALIZATION: Finalization of the research projects with specific attention on valorization perspectives and required follow-up actions. STAGE 6 - PROJECT DISSEMINATION: Dissemination of the – open part of the – research results to the broader (industrial) community. STAGE 7 - IMPROVEMENT: Evaluation of the processes as well as roadmaps in view of future improvement and adaption. TOUCHPOINT 1 - PHYSICAL AND VIRTUAL CONSULTATIONS Physical individual consultations with the involved stakeholders. Mainly physical; of course from time to time some virtual consultations take place (online surveys) TOUCHPOINT 2 - WORKSHOPS Research roadmap workshops. Project proposal workshops (per Gate in the Stage Gate process) to come to a common project definition endorsed by the involved academic, research and industry partners. SUCCESS FACTORS: The key success factors are the identification of common technology innovation needs for a whole industrial sector (Flemish Manufacturing Industry with all stakeholders) and the pooling of available innovation and research capacity among a variety of academic, RTO and industrial research laboratories to address these needs through a structured research roadmap. The complexity and multi-disciplinary nature of the problems posed by the manufacturing industry make it impossible for a single research team to address the required innovation challenges. Cooperation between complementary competences as well as along the value chain from basic research to industrial deployment allows to develop, implement and validate breakthrough solutions previously impossible. BARRIERS: A first barrier challenging industry-academia cooperation is related to the different time horizon pursued by the various actors. This makes that the industrial support to generic long term basic research is often not easy to obtain as the outcome seems still too far away for solving the daily concerns while the need to extend research trajectories to address short term industrial deployment needs is not always put as a priority in the academic research. By being together in the intensive roadmapping and programme discussions and understanding each other’s agenda’s and concerns, this gap however gets narrowed down. Overall, the experiences of cooperating in the context of Strategic Research Centres or Advanced Research Clusters are very positive for KU Leuven and Siemens Industry Software. Pooling competencies across various complementary fields and sharing research needs between different companies, possibly also along the value chain, allow to unleash innovation power and realize innovations not possible stand-alone or by pure bilateral cooperation.  Respect each other’s DNA and KPI’s, including the IP concerns of the various stakeholders. Be sufficiently open in sharing roadmaps and research needs as the leveraging power largely outweighs the potentially competitive concerns. Lose view on addressing the long term research needs by focusing too much on short term industrial deployments, the research partners should not become/be expected to become a service organization helping out in daily problems but have to enable the long term breakthroughs. For the research partners: don’t lose the view on the need to eventually realize socio-economic added value through the innovations. Bert Pluymers, Senior Industrial Researcher Manager, , , Belgium, bert.pluymers@kuleuven.be, , , , , , , ,
Cooperative Doctorate Degree within an Industrial CompanyA collaborative R&D project to integrate practical experience into research and implement current research into practiceThe main purpose of pursuing a doctorate degree in the industry is the bilateral cooperation between the industry and the research institute to exchange and create research knowledge. This enables the participating parties to support verification of research as well as validation in practice. The aim of the industry as a client is to examine non-trivial challenges in a fundamental scientific way and to find solutions which are working in practice. Application possibilities for this concept are almost unlimited. For example, new applications, functions, methods, products or processes can be the core of this kind of research project. Practical proximity over a longer time period (usually 3-4 years) is of particular advantage for the research institute. Industry experience and knowledge can be used to identify current challenges and can be targeted in research. STAGE 1 - DEFINING THE TOPIC The first step is to identify a suitable topic that can be processed by a PhD student. This step can be carried out in various ways. For example, the topic can be identified within an already existing research project with industry partners or a potential task can be derived from practical challenges identified by the industry. Other options are also conceivable at this stage. STAGE 2 - FINDING THE PARTNERS Secondly, a suitable candidate for the task has to be found on the basis of the defined task. Additionally, the respective partners (supervising institute or university / industrial partner) have to be found. It is important that the expectation of all parties involved is communicated right from the start and organizational aspects are clarified early to avoid negative surprises. Once all partners are defined legal documents and agreements should be addressed. STAGE 3 - PHD PROCESS The third step marks the actual Phd process. The corresponding process can vary according to the requirements of the respective supervising institute or university. It is common to have further arrangements between the parties involved e.g. additional requirements, defined number of publications, organizational aspects, etc. The most important thing though is to closely supervise the PhD student both at the institute and at the company. Regular appointments and an adaptation of established promotion processes are a must have. STAGE 4 - PHD PROMOTION The final step is the actual Phd promotion ceremony. Again, the guidelines of the supervising university must be followed and any particularities clarified in advance. Typically critical is the handling of research results. TOUCH POINT 1 -  MEETINGS BETWEEN PARTIES There are various touchpoints between the parties involved throughout the promotion process. For example, there are regular discussions between the doctoral student and his supervisors (both at the university and in the company). These can be carried out face-to-face, in presence workshops, but also with the help of communication technologies (e.g. telephone / video / messaging) Regardless of the type of touchpoint, it is necessary that such exchange appointments are correspondingly prioritized by all parties involved. This is essential not only for the progress of the task but also for the motivation of the PhD student. TOUCHPOINT 2 - PROMOTION CEREMONY As in the previous touch point, it is advisable to arrange consultation sessions at the beginning of the project on the basis of the agreed promotion plan as well as to define several contact persons both at the university side and at the industrial partner. The thematic proximity of the participating parties, a trusting cooperation, mutual support and a good, motivated support of the PhD candidate are the main success factors for a cooperative doctorate in the industry. The scientific work of a PhD student tries to combine the requirements and findings from practice with those of research. Therefore regular face-to-face exchange between the participating parties is essential. As a success model, a distribution of 80% of the time in the industry and 20% of the time in the institute has been proven practical but can be according to boundary conditions. In order to ensure an effective handling of the task, a precise task and expectation horizon is indispensable. A lack of presence or insufficient presence has to be categorized as barrier since the risk of spending too much time on finding the specific topic is very high. In addition, it must also be understood by the superiors at the institute, as well as in the industry, that such a PhD student is not to be regarded as a highly qualified workforce, but as a researcher who needs appropriate freedoms. To ensure project success it is helpful to acquire a highly motivated and excellent student as well as qualified supervisors e.g. post doc graduates at the university and company side. Moreover, it is important to ensure equal treatment of the PhD student at university and within the company. Also, it is advisable to arrange consultation sessions at the beginning on the basis of the agreed promotion plan as well as to define several contact persons both at the university side and at the industrial partner. It is important to provide access to relevant data to the company and to recent research at university (Confidentiality Agreement). For the sake of these collaborative projects, it is important to not understand the PhD student as cheap labor in company. Also do not understand PhD student as information source for potential projects with the company or other companies. Acquire highly motivated students. Ensure equal treatment of the student between company and academia. Arrange consultation sessions in advance. Provide access to data to company and university. Understand the student as cheap labour. Underestimate possible conflicting interests between company and science. Understand Phd student as information source for potential projects. Albert Albers, Professor; Clemens Birk, Project Manager; Benjamin Walter, Project Manager, , , Germany, benjamin.walter@kit.edu, +49 721 608 45486, , , , , , ,
Growing Ecotile’s Innovation and Manufacturing EfficiencyIfM ECS helps Ecotile in the development of a plan for business growth, identifying areas for potential efficiency gains and putting an innovation process in place to develop new products and service opportunities As part of the wider PrISMS program (Practical & Innovative Solutions for Manufacturing Sustainability), the Institute for Manufacturing Education and Consultancy Services (IfM ECS) worked with 120 smaller manufacturers to improve their business strategy and support capability development. The program enabled IfM ECS to develop business support tools to address firm’s strategic and operational challenges. Ecotile is a manufacturer of PVC interlocking floor tiles. Ecotile was an organisation to benefit from the program. IfM ECS worked with the manufacturer to develop a plan for business growth, identifying areas for potential efficiency gains and putting an innovation process in place to develop new products and service opportunities. The key objectives for the project were, firstly, to develop a plan for business growth, secondly, to identify ways to make efficiencies, and finally, to put in place an innovation process to develop new products and services. STAGE 1: DEFINITION OF ACTION PLAN IfM ECS assessed Ecotile’s priorities and practices through the IfM ECS Prioritisation process, a whole-business diagnostic and action-planning tool to help the firm to understand its strengths and weaknesses and draw up an action plan to address them. STAGE 2: DECISION OF A BUSINESS STRATEGY The business strategy was assessed and defined with the firm’s board, with an emphasis on innovation to boost growth. STAGE 3: ACTIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS Product market groups were refined and streamlined with a view to improving manufacturing efficiency. The board focused on its customers and competitors, leading to a radical rethink of where to target its marketing budget to highlight the value of the firm’s products compared with its competitors. Competence mapping helped to identify areas where the company performed well and areas that could be improved. Each member of the Ecotile team took ownership of these areas and improvement plans were established. STAGE 4: INNOVATING Operating disciplines were examined to determine how the firm could position itself to offer a better balance of innovation, service and efficiency. Once this structure was agreed, IfM ECS led several process mapping sessions on systems and procedures, examining the steps in each process to identify more efficient ways to achieve the same outcome. TOUCHPOINT 1: INTRODUCTION IfM ECS introduced to Ecotile Ops. Director by Luton Borough Council. TOUCHPOINT 2: ASSESSMENTS IfM ECS assessing Ecotile. This helped to show the gaps in understanding of key members of the management team relating to the current focus of the business. In particular, it showed that the Operations Director was running the factory to lower its cost profile, when the markets currently served by the business would respond well to improved service and more innovative products. This allowed the manufacturing part of the business to refocus on those elements of the operation which would deliver these benefits, even if costs rose as a result. TOUCHPOINT 3: STRATEGY MAPPING SESSIONS IfM process mapping sessions focusing on Strategy Development. This helped the Management team of the business to become better aligned with the MD’s understanding of the European market for their products and to understand which markets represented the best opportunity to grow sustainably. SUCESS FACTORS On the one hand, Ecotile measured its success based on key metrics, including turnover generation, profitability and the number of new jobs created. On the other hand, IFM-ECS measured success based on whether the project delivered on the objectives and whether there were any learning points and enhancements to the tools and the approach that could be applied to support future projects. BARRIERS The first barrier overcome was that of removing the mismatch between the manufacturing offering and the demands of the marketplace the business wished to serve. The second export-related barrier to overcome was through understanding the demands of markets in mainland Europe and understanding how to supply to those markets a customer value proposition sufficiently compelling to gain traction. Concerning business strategy, the directors agreed on, and communicated to all staff, an ambitious five-year market growth strategy. Moreover, the final results improved considerably, turnover increased by 41% in just over a year since the start of the project and operating profit increased by 12%, this was despite major investment in capital and an increase in staff levels by four (an increase of 20%). Furthermore, Ecotile invested in a new twin shot injection-moulding machine. This capital investment meant they could manufacture tiles with a 30% recycled core, making the range more cost-effective, sustainable and environmentally friendly. They have also invested in a second robot and ‘drive in’ racking to maximise storage space in the warehouse. However the major innovation is made in the manufacturing process in order to match the market requirements in the sector. In addition, the use of the twin shot injection-moulding machine and a shrink-wrap packaging machine puts Ecotile at the leading edge of technology in its sector. A new German-language version of the Ecotile was launched as part of the plan to boost sales across Europe, with growing awareness of the company in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. It can therefore be stated that business strategy, as well as manufacturing efficiency and innovation have been enhanced in the process. James Gedye, Managing Director, said: “Working with IfM ECS on our strategy enabled us to really focus on what is important in our business and to develop new systems to complete our processes more efficiently and cost-effectively, leading to growth through innovation" From the SMEs perspective: Seek external knowledge and advice to improve the business strategy and operations. Tackle difficult problems e.g. sustainability, energy use etc. in small managable steps. Involve many people within the organisation in changes and improvement projects (not just managers). From the RTOs perspective Have a holistic approach in business assessment. Provide a clear process and associated action plan for improvements. Have an effective method to capture feedback, data and knowledge from the SME to improve future tools and engagements. From the SMEs perspective: Assume that a “business as usual” mentality can provide a competitive advantage for the long term. Assume that the business or sector is unique and external people cannot assist unless they have worked in this sector. From the RTOs perspective: Use academic language and jargon. Focus on what you know rather than what the business needs. Nicky Athanassopoulou, Senior Industrial Fellow, , , , naa14@cam.ac.uk, +44 1223 760 376, , , , , , ,
How small industrial SMEs can reach international markets and growth through Technology transfer The challenging path of an industrial SME specialized in joining technologies to become a first-class supplier of a leading steel multinational company, by using Technology Transfer as enabler This Open Innovation (OI) collaboration initiative features an Austrian SME that is specialized in a very specific industrial market niche: the joining of dissimilar metals. Its products are highly technological and can be used for welding different types of traditional and new lightweight materials, allowing several improvements in weight, energy consumption and usability. This technology can be applied in automotive, railway, aircraft and shipbuilding markets, as well as the construction of pipelines, aluminium and steel products. The financial resources of this SME for internationalisation outside of Europe are very limited and so expansion (especially outside of the EU) could not be focused on setting up own offices or subsidiaries in target countries. The option of finding distributors or representatives was also discarded due to the specialization and sophistication of the technology. With the support of i2m Unternehmensentwicklung GmbH (a technological consultancy company) and an OI approach (i.e. aiming to implement a Collaborative product design and development strategy) the solution was to look for market leaders in selected countries outside of the EU (e.g. non-OECD countries like Russia, India or Brazil) and set up collaborative research teams of both companies. These teams analysed the best technological solution for the needs of the client in an open collaborative way, with the aim of transferring the innovative technology of the SME to the multinational company. A University representing the local scientific community was also involved in the research teams as crucial opinion leaders who validate the technology for the selected country and the specific application. Additionally, the Austrian public sector was involved in the project, providing the necessary resources and guarantees to minimise the risks in case of failure. STAGE 1: Design of the cooperation concept and validation of the technology (4 months) The first challenge related to the collaboration was to identify the correct partner, interested in investing in new technologies. The message and presentation of the technology transfer concept, as well as a personalised approach were crucial to find a common ground for understanding. The participation of the local University in this process was also fundamental, in order to validate the technology approach. Furthermore, the Public Funder provided not only financial perspectives, but also contact data of potential stakeholders. The main tools used during this stage were Youtube and Webex. Key success factors were personal engagement of the SME’s CEO, research work, definition of common technological goals, and an attractive concept for all stakeholders involved. STAGE 2: Preparation of collaboration and exchange activities (2 months) The main process related to this stage was to design the collaboration process and select the correct people to interact from each side. On one hand, common ground on technological levels needed to be defined. On the other hand, the transmission of the common goals to the operative teams had to be clear and transparent for both sides. Main tools used were standard presentation and visual communication tools. Key success factors included personal visit of the SME CEO to the Multinational, definition of a common technological roadmap, and establishment of clear milestones. STAGE 3: Implementation of collaborative Technology Transfer project (12 months) The main process was the setup of the common research teams, with a clear definition of responsibilities and a direct reporting to the CEO/CTO. A critical aspect was the respect of the different milestones by each participant and the timely availability of each deliverable. Main tools used were Online Project Management Tools and frequent personal presence of the SME personnel at the premises of the Multinational company. Key success factors included a well-designed research plan and monthly monitoring by the CEO (of SME) / CTO (of Multinational). For the SME, the main positive experiences were the design and testing of a new way of distributing its sophisticated products and services, based on a collaborative approach rather than purely a sales approach; and the development of a marketing approach tailored to the product-technology-market combination and an innovative revenue model. The process was quite demanding especially in terms of personal engagement for the management of the company. TOUCHPOINT 1: Finding the common research ground Finding a  common research ground and estabilishing the different steps, milestones and deliverables was a huge challenge, as the SME was confronted not only with a new playground but also with a new cultural environment of a non-European company. TOUCHPOINT 2: Financing agreements Concerning the financing and the services offered by the Public funders, the main bottleneck was the extended decision-making time that was needed by the Agency (6 weeks longer than originally planned). During this period, the project development was uncertain and no clear messages were provided on the evaluation process. Once the project was started and the research activities got on their way, the cooperation entered into a very positive dynamic, achieving excellent results and contributing to design a future-oriented model for further potential markets. TOUCHPOINT 3: Technological knowledge and transfer For the Multinational, the main objective was to learn and implement a new disruptive technology into its production processes, in order to gain a clear competitive advantage in the global market. The collaboration, in terms of developing a common R&D project with a foreign company, meant a completely new approach and showed a viable alternative for future projects. Overcoming the internal challenge of several administrative barriers was made possible through the engagement of the senior technological responsible of the company, who showed full confidence in the process and in the project results. TOUCHPOINT 4: Online collaboration tools The online collaboration tools used and the lively and frequent interaction of all parties involved contributed greatly to the success of the project. The previous discussions and the common set-up of the research plan, as well as the establishment of realistic milestones and deliverables, played a significant role. Concerning the University, a specific working group was set up with the SME to understand the technical process and the potential application fields of the technology. Additionally, the local Multinational was involved in this collaboration team, in order to demonstrate its use and advantages. A fundamental aspect was the organisation of the available resources, which were quite limited as the scientists and experts selected were partly involved in other projects. The direct support of the management of all parties involved facilitated a dedicated engagement of all participants. The use of advanced collaboration tools (e.g., Protosphere, OwnCloud) also contributed to the success of the project. TOUCHPOINT 5: Funding as a kick-off Although the funding was secured with some delay, the project could start immediately and a clear plan was established in order to achieve the desired results. The main objective of the participating SME was to find a partner to develop an industrial joining process of metals in a key market, like steel. The SME had to demonstrate that its technology could deliver a first class solution, generate a collaboration model applicable to further markets, use OI tools to guarantee a smooth cooperation and integrate the know-how of the local scientific community to optimise the access to the target country. The Multinational’s objectives were to identify and adapt an innovative, viable solution to a novel joining process and to provide access to the most advanced technology. Additionally, the solution would help to gain competitive advantage, implement collaborative methods and contribute to the modernisation of a very traditional industry. The objectives of the University were to get access to new advanced technology, useful for further research and publications, and to test and validate the technology for its use in the specific sector of steel production. Additionally, it aimed at getting PhD students involved in industry lead projects, implement collaborative methods for research and contribute to the further technological development of the University. Finally, the objectives of the Public funder were to contribute to the dissemination of Austrian technology, support the collaboration with international companies, support the use of OI tools, and provide a fall-back scenario to the SME to encourage it to take the risk. The success factors of this collaboration can be summarised in the following points: All parties obtain a clear benefit in the cooperation Professionally complementary partners Compatible company strategies and visions of main actors The OI tools used (e.g., Online Project Management Tools Protosphere, OwnCloud) set the basis for a long-lasting collaboration The technical results allow for a further business cooperation The methodologies implemented can be used in further markets For an innovative industrial SME, it is extremely difficult to succeed in international markets with Multinational clients in a classic sales approach. The set up of collaborative research teams as a way of introducing the technology, using Open Innovation tools and involving all kinds of stakeholders (SME, Multinational, University, Funding Agency) has shown that an alternative way of successfully making business is possible. The drawback is that the time span needed to reach success is far longer than expected, due to the numerous people and processes involved. Have a clear plan of the collaboration content and objectives. Define your own interests and understand the interests and motivations of the other partners involved. Define very clear technical deliverables and milestones. Establish common medium and long-term goals. Try to involve top tier management of all the actors involved. Select easy-to-use online Project Management tools. Invest in personal contact, schedule personal visits to your partner. Secure the basic financing before getting starting. Count with additional 3-6 weeks to your original planning. Impose your views on the partner. Expect fast answers. Underestimate the time framework planned. Underestimate the technical skills of your partner. Alexander Blaschka - Technology & Innovation Manager, , , , alexander.blaschka@i2m.at, +43 664 513 8195, , , , , , ,
Insights from the European collaborative R&D&I project FACTS4WORKERSA project coordinator’s viewWorker-Centric Workplaces for Smart Factories (FACTS4WORKERS) is a European collaborative R&D&I project with 15 European project partners and a project budget of 7.916.441 EUR coordinated by Virtual Vehicle Research Center and funded by the European Commission under Grant Agreement Nr. 636778. FACTS4WORKERS will develop and demonstrate workplace solutions for factory workers that support the inclusion of increasing elements of knowledge work on the factory floor. These solutions will empower workers by applying state-of-the-art information and communication technologies. FACTS4WORKER‘s objectives are to increase problem-solving and innovation skills of workers, cognitive job satisfaction, and average worker productivity by 10%. As FACTS4WORKERS is underpinned by a human-centric approach, usability, user experience and technology acceptance are of the utmost project interest. STAGE 1 - SETTING THE OBJECTIVES Like all R&D&I projects, FACTS4WORKERS has run through a team building process, too. All stakeholders, mostly project partners defined at proposal stage how to achieve the project objective individually. And therefore, all partners started to run at full speed to tackle their subsequent tasks. STAGE 2 - INDIVIDUAL VIEWS BEGIN TO BREAK After a certain time one can observe that some/all partners have run into directions, which are not congruent to achieve the project objectives. In this second phase partners’ view of the project begin to break, which might result in chaos. Partners may observe that a taken strategy might not be successful at all. STAGE 3 - MANAGING A COMMON VIEW The project coordinator has to detect a potentially decreasing performance of the partners and then has to (re-)establish and communicate a common view on the project’s objectives as well as the way to achieve them. The project coordinator has to seek commitment of all stakeholders on a co-developed, sharpened common goal. STAGE 4 - WORKING AS AN UNITED TEAM In the fourth phase, project partners are ready to perform, and they become aware of the meaning of the project milestones and deadlines. They can work together more efficiently and effectively. At the stage, the project is really moved forward. TOUCHPOINT 1 - KICK-OFF At project kick-off everybody is talking on how to achieve the project’s objectives without knowing, how others “tick” and what they expect from the project. Project partners are talking about the same things – and they think that they are well understood by all others. TOUCH POINT2 - DAILY WORK AND THE ROLE OF THE PROJECT COORDINATOR In daily project work after a while, things become different. Problems and even conflicts arise, which may result in a disrupted collaboration if not handled properly. If a project coordinator is not able to recognize a potential team conflict at the right time, the project collaboration culture will break. It is important that a project coordinator expects this challenge and that a conflict between partners will arise during project runtime. It is then crucial that a project coordinator attempts to develop a common project objective together with the key stakeholders of the project to solve this challenge. Finding the right moment for this action is challenging. It is located somewhere between the point of no return and the forward planning of the project. The project coordinator has to detect a potentially decreasing performance of the project partners, which requires conducting many individual conversations with project partners, which are usually of a more open communication atmosphere. Some partners may be very honest in telling their opinion of the work of other partners, which is then a strong signal to act. In the usual group meetings, project partners are very silent on sensitive topics. TOUCHPOINT 3 - PERIODIC STRATEGY MEETING Periodic strategy meetings have proven a powerful tool in FACTS4WORKERS to solve conflicts, sharpening the project goal and refining the solution approach. It is important that this process is not conducted in a top-down manner. Solutions have to be worked out in a participative approach together with all partners and in a way that the high intrinsic motivation from the beginning of the project can be re-installed. All project partners have to realize by themselves, that a newly developed approach is valid. In FACTS4WORKERS the collaboration concerning a main topic is paramount, while the elaboration of a certain solution approach is considered subordinate. At proposal stage the knowledge on how to solve the research topic was not fully available among the project partners. Hence at project kick-off, the project partners aimed to handle the topic without having a too concrete solution approach in mind. In the second step of the collaboration initiative FACTS4WORKERS, solutions approaches and solution strategies started to crystalize. Some of them were already known at proposal stage; however it was not yet well-enough understood which of them seemed to be applicable and adequate. It is the goal of a cooperative project like FACTS4WORKERS to mash-up the different roles of the actors. Solution providers for partial solutions (here: University & RTOs) cannot satisfy the needs of the industry partners alone; they must cooperate with others in order to be successful. Ambitious use cases were needed to establish a common sense across partners to solve the challenges emerging in the project in a cooperative way. The first phase of FACTS4WORKERS has been incredibly important to make the consortium fit for solving the challenges. SUCCESS FACTORS Determine the willingness to collaborate: At proposal stage a coordinator does not always know well enough, if project partners fit together at all, and which particular partners fit together very well. Are their overlaps between partners, conflicts of interests, competitive situations, or can the acting persons really work together as a team? Interestingly, a sensitive coordinator can – if he is willing to observe and listen to the conversations between partners – identify already at an early step, which partners are willing to really contribute, and which partners are only in the boat. Most of the time, this first impression proves to be true till project close out. Own the required technical knowledge: Project partners need the required technical knowledge to really contribute solving the project’s challenges. There is a huge difference between partners who are just participating in the project with a focus on learning new things to those partners who really want to implement successful solutions. Collaborative projects will have partners belonging to one of these categories. If the majority of the partners are implementers who know what to do, a coordinator is lucky. This is rather a matter of persons in the project team than of organization names. Many persons have put their heads a long way over the parapet to become a consortium member in terms of formulating challenging tasks in the proposal. But they have not stated well enough beforehand, if and how well they are prepared to conduct their ambitious tasks in the project. Some partners may think they will manage their work somehow, and some partners may already have a clear understanding of what they are going to do in the project and why. A coordinator has to effectively manage both parties. Having more implementers in the project will make the project more successful. Intrinsic motivation has to be in place: As a coordinator one has to assume that the individual goals of the partners have to match to the common goal of the project as defined in the proposal. If this is not the case right from the project start (the proposal stage respectively), a project may not be successful. At least an individual goal of a project partner will not be able to be satisfied through the project’s achievements. A successful R&D&I project usually starts with selecting the appropriate project partners. It is a dead letter to ensure during a running project that all goals of the partners can be met, if the goals have not been agreed already at the proposal stage. If somebody is not contributing well to the project already at the proposal stage, it may likely to happen that this one will become a problem candidate during the project runtime.  A project coordinator cannot force a partner to perform a high quality work in the project: An intrinsic motivation is always required beforehand, and cannot be established through a coordinator’s actions. It should be noted once more that face-to-face meetings is the strongest instrument to facilitate cooperation. Sitting around a table and having a face-to-face discussion is such a powerful instrument, which cannot replaced by virtual meetings. The first phase of a European collaborative R&D&I project is crucial to make the consortium fit for solving future cooperation challenges. The project coordinator plays a major role in this process. As soon as individual views begin to break, the project coordinator has to start the process to manage a common view again. This requires both bilateral talks as well as periodic group meetings. Conduct regularly recurring project meetings in a short period (weekly or at least every two weeks). Have specific project meetings with a clear agenda and target audience. Address intrinsic motivation of the partners and keep up self-motivation of partners . Always evaluate if and how the project makes a sense for all partners. Do not solve conflicts on a bilateral level, but on project level. Do not refrain from communicating with the partners on a periodic short-term level. Do not focus on administrative and financial issues, only.  Martin Wifling, Coordinator, , , Austria, martin.wifling@v2c2.at, +43 316 873-9001, , , , , , ,
Joint Doctoral Degree of the Research Group SAM of Technische Universität Darmstadt and BMW GroupOpen innovation collaboration between the Technische Universität Darmstadt and the automotive company BMW GroupA member of the research group System Reliability, Adaptive Structures, and Machine Acoustics SAM of Technische Universität Darmstadt is doing research at the automotive company BMW Group in Munich. In this open science environment, high-class research is performed at the interface between university and industry.  This collaboration initiative relates to open science by the open nature of a doctoral degree. All scientific results gathered, both at the university and industry, will be published in a way that it is accessible by scientific community and society. STAGE 1 - AGREEMENT AND SHAPING OF THE RESEARCH TOPIC Firstly, the Technische Universität Darmstadt and BMW have to agree on a research topic of common interest. Therefore, a cooperation contract is signed between both partners to ensure a good cooperation. And finally, the doctoral student candidate for the job has to be recruited at either the Technische Universität Darmstadt or at BMW Group. STAGE 2 - ENSURING A CONTINUOUS ALIGNMENT OF THE RESEARCH While the doctoral student does research on the defined topic, a continuous communication between all three actors has to be ensured. Simultaneously, a permanent alignment of the research with the expectations of the university and the industry must be safeguarded as well. Finally, the specific parts of the research results are published. STAGE 3 - CONFIMATION AND PUBLICATION OF RESULTS Once the research phase has been completed, the doctoral student presents the outcomes to both, university and industry. Therefore, after a final review, the results are published within the scientific community and among society. At this point, the doctoral student finally graduates. STAGE 4 - STRENGTHTENING TIES Ultimately, the university and the industry agree on future works and projects in order to intensify their relationship and, thus, their mutual benefit. TOUCH POINT 1 - UNIVERSITY- INDUSTRY INTERACTION The interface science-industry that takes place at the company between the doctoral student and the industry employees supporting his work, in addition to the supervisors of both entities, who continuously oversee the process. BOTTLENECK 1 - DIFFERENT EXPECTATIONS The main bottleneck is the different expectation of the university and the industry towards the research process and the research outcomes. The university is expecting very accurate and detailed research on fundamental questions, while the industry expects ready-to-use outcomes, with which can be monetarized. The doctoral student, who is in between these different expectations, must serve both interests. He is employed at the industry, but is evaluated and graded by the university. BOTTLENECK 2 - COMMUNICATION BETWEEN ACTORS Another bottleneck is the communication between all three actors. The doctoral student is doing research at the industry. Hence, the communication between the doctoral student and the industry is much more intense than the communication between the doctoral student and the university. This easily leads to misunderstandings. A regular communication between the doctoral student and the university is necessary in order to avoid problems and to agree upon shared goals. The main objective of Technische Universität Darmstadt is to have a strong and intense cooperation with the industry to learn about the industry’s needs in research. The knowledge transfer from university to industry is as direct as possible, but also the knowledge and skills from the industry directly influence the university’s research activities. The main success factor is the open and intense communication between the university and the industry. The main objective of BMW is to have excellent research done in-house. Hence, BMW can profit as much as possible from the high-class research done at the university. With the continuous and intense communication between the company and the university, BMW can stay on track with the newest results in research achieved at the university. The main success factor is to have a motivated and capable researcher as an employee. Additionally, the direct link to the university providing newest research outcomes is an important point. The main objective of the doctoral student is to graduate as a doctor. To achieve this target, he will do excellent research in a highly motivated way. At the interface between science and industry, he can experience both, the university’s and the industry’s way of research. With this double experience, he is better prepared for a job in the industry than a doctoral student who has graduated at university only. The main success factor is to have good and reliable supervisors, both at the university and the industry. A good relationship between both supervisors is very important since the doctoral student is right in between. To ensure this good relationship between the supervisors, communication is the key. Expectations on, and possible challenges of the cooperation must clearly be expressed from both sides. Hence, the supervisors ideally know each other already before the cooperation begins. In many cases the supervisors from university and industry have worked together either in smaller cooperative projects or the supervisor from industry even is a former member of the university. A clear agreement on the publication of the research results is necessary to allow the university to publish the results within the scientific community and the society. Furthermore, the doctoral student’s responsibilities must be clearly defined to ensure that he has enough time to finish his research and will not work too much on daily business. The overall experience is very positive for all three actors, who all profit of the cooperation. The University gains knowledge about the needs of the industry, the industry gains knowledge about newest research outcomes of the university and the doctoral student can do high-class research right at the interface between university and industry to graduate as a doctor. Detailed definition of the doctoral student’s field of research, Doctoral student should be motivated and open minded towards innovative research outcomes, Formulation of a clear collaboration agreement between the university and the industry, Agreement on a mutual publication policy, Regular communication between university, industry, and the doctoral student. Doctoral student must not be integrated too much into the daily business, Task should not be too detailed in order to not prevent innovation, Research outcomes must not be kept secret. Philipp Neubauer, Researcher, , , Germany, neubauer@sam.tu-darmstadt.de, , , , , , , ,
LOEWE-Zentrum AdRIA (Adaptronic – Research, Innovation, Application)Collaborative Research Center for smart structures funded by the Hessen State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and ArtsThe LOEWE Zentrum AdRIA was a collaborative research center of the Fraunhofer Institut for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF, the Technische Universität Darmstadt (TUDA) and the Darmstadt University of Applied Science (h_da) funded by the Hessen State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts from 2008 to 2016. The research work had its focus on at least four key topics: ‘active vibration and noise control’, ‘structural health monitoring’, ‘smart materials’, and ‘new manufacturing processes for functionally integrated/multifunctional materials’. One main objective of the Center has been the allocation of relevant existing competencies of all partners to one location. Another objective has been to increase knowledge and technology readiness in all the different scientific and technological disciplines of smart structures. The integration and close collaboration of basic research with applied research and development in this unique way allowed the comprehensive preparation of relevant innovative issues on smart structures in scientific breadth and depth. About 200 researches and staff from all partners worked together in eight interdisciplinary fields of research. Within them existing technologies haven been further improved and innovative solutions have been examined. The market potential of the technological developments have been examined within three additional integrative “model projects”. These projects represent environments with a high practical orientation and have been used as a test and demonstration facilities for the developed solutions. Beside prototypes and demonstrators on systems and components, manufacturing processes and new or improved materials, new services and additional fields of further scientific research have been elaborated during the term of center. In addition, two new research focus, a new study course and two professorships have been established and stabilized on side of the academic partners. At Fraunhofer LBF a new department on smart structures has been established. STAGE 1 - PREPARATION Dealt mostly with general topics such as providing a common building, equipping the laboratories and appointing management and advisory council for the center organization. STAGE 2 - ORGANISING INTERDISCIPLINARY GROUPS Consisted in the organization of the different interdisciplinary research groups. To ensure the representation of all partners and all relevant existing know-how the different academic fields (materials science, chemistry, mathematics, informatics, electronics, mechanical engineering etc.) have been allocated to the eight interdisciplinary research fields. STAGE 3 - SETTING A CO-CREATION STRUCTURE Consisted in the establishment of the co-creation and communication structure. How the different researchers work together, how they interact, how and what they report, etc. All research work has been divided up in nine (later eight) fields of research and three “model projects” each led by a certain project manager recruited from all of the involved partner organizations. The general topics that had to be investigated during the term of the center have been broadly predefined but the work has been defined by the research groups themselves and adjusted by the coordinator and the advisory council. STAGE 4 - RESEARCH WORK After setting up the framework in the previous stages, which took about 6 months, Stage four includes all the research work. All teams work on their specific tasks. Beside research group specific projects also “cross research group” projects have been established. There have been reporting meetings where the leaders of the research fields and model projects present the working progress and results as well as discuss all together organizational and conception topics. Also all activities and results have been summed up in regular milestone reports. Beside E-Mail as preferred communication channel an extra intranet has been built up to exchange documents within and between the different research groups. Additionally, all public documents as status quo presentations or milestone reports have been provided via this channel. Beside this all groups held regular meetings to coordinate their work. TOUCH POINT 1 - FACE2FACE MEETINGS AND E-MAIL COMMUNICATION The main touch point have been the regular E-mail communication and meetings within in the different research groups. TOUCH POINT 2 - INTRANET FOR SHARING In addition to that, the Intranet section provided an additional channel for information and document sharing between the different fields of research respectively the different research groups and the researchers involved in the model projects.  TOUCH POINT 3 - REGULAR STATUS AND EXCHANGE MEETINGS Beside this, the personal interaction has been supported through the regular meetings of the leaders of the research fields and model projects. During term of the center it has shown, that the restriction access was satisfying and interdisciplinary work has not been inspired as expected. To promote interdisciplinary exchange between all project participants, these meetings have been opened up for all researchers to attend and discus the presentation of working progress and results. TOUCH POINT 4 - STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT The center has no industrial partners directly involved into research. To intensify the science to business relationship during the last third of the center works a special science to industry workshop series has been developed and established to promote the competencies and research results as well as to get direct feedback on the existing work and of additional industry needs and expectations on problems or interesting research topics to be further investigated within the center.   Though there has been a defined work plan of which topics have to be investigated, the different research groups respectively the individual researcher could widely self-directed their work. This of course was one important success factor that has led to a lot of innovative ideas and results. Another success factor has been the common building with labs and offices that could be used by researchers from all partners temporarily or permanently. This supported informal discussions and communication as well as the interdisciplinary exchange resulting in new project ideas. This bottom-up approach has also been fostered through an incentive system that allocates additional resources for researchers to get together and work on interesting, innovative ideas. During the last third of the operation time of the center, the science to industry contacts have been supported through special event series. On one hand, it promoted the capabilities and the achieved research results to the industry and on the other side helped to get better understanding of industry needs, which partly helps to reallocated efforts for the final phase. To run a research center of the size and partner structure of the LOEWE-Zentrum AdRIA efficiently, there has to be a strong management leadership. Additionally, a clear work plan, report and communication structure has to be vital for the success of the center. And besides all (online) collaboration tools a common building and common laboratories are indispensable for creative and work in the fields of science addressed in the center. On the other hand, the researchers and research groups have the opportunity to self-organize their work and also should have a significant degree of freedom in research topics and in the elaboration of own ideas and projects in the overall context. Although the center addresses basic research as well as applied research, it is important to take the industry perspective into account from the beginning to better match research and development needs. Within the center this perspective has been brought in by the experience of the partner institutions, which was a good starting point, but also a process for technology transfer and certain concepts for science to business interaction should be implemented. Have a strong management leadership. Have a clear work plan, report and communication structure. Have a balance between online and physical spaces and tools. Do not obviate the need to take industry needs into account from the very beginning to better match research and development needs. Prof. Dr. Thilo Bein, Head of Knowledge Management, , , Germany, Thilo.Bein@lbf.fraunhofer.de, +49 6151 705-222, , , , , , ,
MO.PointMobility services in front of the doorMO.Point is planning and operating Mobility Points in buildings and city districts. Residents can rent a wide range of eco-friendly sharing-vehicles such as e-bikes, electric cars or electric cargo-bikes at convenient prices. The vehicles and supplementary services are easily accessible just around the corner and can be used around the clock. The appropriate vehicle can be reserved via app or website. Users have access to the vehicles during the booking period with their digital access card and can lock and unlock the vehicles. The billing of the consumed journeys takes place at the end of the month. Project developers, cities, municipalities and companies benefit from a customized mobility solution, which MO.Point implements as one-stop shop with selected partners. The local mobility services add value to real estates. STAGE 1 - RESEARCH PROJECT WOMO – WOHNEN UND MOBILITÄT: ​The companies raum & kommunikation GmbH and Spirit Design GmbH got to know each other, wrote a proposal and applied for a grant on the topics of mobility and housing. The proposal was successful and the project was funded by the Austrian Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BmVIT) in the scheme “mobility of the future” The companies carried out the project and investigated how to integrate smart mobility services into the planning and construction process of housing. (see: http://www2.ffg.at/verkehr/projekte.php?id=1154) During the project, a multi-stakeholder process was conducted, including representatives of municipalities, urban planning, real estate developer, mobility service operator and end consumer. Visualizations of the project results were very helpful to develop a common vision and share the ideas. STAGE 2 - INCUBATION PHASE: Due to the huge interests of the stakeholder, especially besides real estate developer, the cooperation partner decided to bring the ideas, that were developed in the research project, to the market. In 2015, the companies led preliminary talks with organisations interested in realization of local mobility services. The offer “mobility point” was developed. The consortium decided to hive the project and fund a spin off. During this process, main persons involved remained the same and even decided to engage personally in the spin-off. The consortium got another grant offered by Austrian Wirtschaftsservices. Within this project, the consortium developed a business plan, a clear offer for the market. In parallel talks on the realisation of a first pilot project were conducted. STAGE 3 - START-UP AND PROTOTYPE PLANNING: Subsequently to the previous phase the transformation from a project organization to a separated organizational entity took place. Design thinking eased the establishment of an own corporate identity. During this stage, the team defined a steering committee and an operational team, and distributed roles and duties. Besides the corporate design, legal and financial issues played a major role. Processes and tools, needed to start the prototype were developed. Pre-contracts with supplier were arranged.  Over all, the contract for the first pilot project was negotiated and budgeting was done. STAGE 4 - FOUNDATION OF THE COMPANY: MO.Point Mobilitätsservices GmbH was founded in May 2016. Since June 2016, the company has been operating the first pilot project at the residential building Perfektastraße 58, 1230 Vienna. MO.Point was awarded the VCÖ mobility prize Austria 2016 for this pilot project, and attracted attention. (see: https://www.vcoe.at/projekte/vcoe-mobilitaetspreis). In 2016 MO.Point started to generate revenues and was alredy contracted by real estate developers to plan additional mobility points in Vienna. The realisation of further sites in the bigger cities in Austria and Germany is planned. TOUCHPOINT 1 - STEERING-COMMITTEE MEETINGS At the beginning of the research project, the project organization, timing, roles and duties were defined. In the steering committee the manager of the co-operating organizations were present and responsible for strategic decisions. TOUCHPOINT 2 - TEAM MEETINGS Team meetings involved 3-6 persons, that elaborated the project content. Amongst them, two project leader were defined, that cared for operational decisions and managed the project on a weekly basis. TOUCHPOINT 3 - JOUR-FIX MEETINGS Once the project organization was defined, regular jour-fix meetings helped to structure the project. At the beginning the meetings took place on a monthly basis. Later at a weekly basis. Important was, that the two project leaders were present. TOUCHPOINT 4 - INTERNAL WORKSHOPS Selected members amongst the team prepared the workshops and set the agenda. At workshops, it was important that the needed knowledge was represented. TOUCHPOINT 5 - FTP-SERVER, WIKI, E-MAIL It was intended to establish a structured knowledge exchange and knowledge management. Although diverse tools such as a wiki and a FTP-server was provided, most information exchange happened spontaneously via E-Mail or telephone. TOUCHPOINT 6 - STAKEHOLDER-WORKSHOP One stakeholder workshop was held, where selected experts were invited. The exclusive format led to a strong interest besides all participants. The workshop was announced 2 months earlier, and participants were selected carefully. TOUCHPOINT 7 - FOCUS GROUPS As soon as the team came up with solutions, these were visualized and presented to selected people, representing end user. The solutions were discussed in the setting of focus groups. Independent of the setting we recommend in any case to involve user in the project! MO.Point opens up a new market for integrated local mobility, by anchoring shared mobility services at a local level in urban districts. In contrast to free-floating or station-based car- and bike sharing, MO.Point has the advantage, that the vehicles are based on semi-public space and available directly at the place of residence. Compared to other sharing operators, MO.Point offers a diverse vehicle pool and not just cars, with full emphasis on smart mobility and sustainable powertrains, such as electric mobility. Customer can rent the right vehicle for every purpose. In summary, the unique selling propositions to end users of MO.Point are: Low costs for end users The right vehicle for every purpose – versatile vehicles Vehicles in front of the door, directly at the place of living Digital access via booking platform and personal contact via telephone Bundling of several mobility offers and local servicing USPs to investors in mobility points are: Customized, local mobility offer Savings in construction costs of parking space One point of contact for concept, planning and operations Added value for the property Image gains by sustainable and smart mobility SUCCESS FACTORS: A success factor of the project was that the consortium was kept small from the beginning. This is why it was lean and efficient to manage. Processes and knowledge exchange was direct, effective and quick between the two companies. Concerning the competences, the project team had a diverse knowledge background (e.g. urban planning, innovation management, design, mobility…), but diversity amongst the team members was not too huge. An important factor during the forming of the project team and even more important for the spin-off was the development of a common vision with all founders. Design thinking and visualization facilitated this process. Important was a multi-stakeholder approach in the early stages of the project; but also a small, closed-innovation approach in the elaboration of solutions. We can recommend a short time to market, to test the solution as early as possible (it could even be shorter!). Helpful was the integration of end-consumers (via focus groups) in this process. Essential was the early spin-off and the foundation of a completely separated organizational entity. In this context it is important, to keep the team tight and do not exchange team members, if the team once works fine.  BARRIERS: Of course, resources were limited during the start-up phase. Although limited resources are helpful to keep projects lean and effective, the search for funding can be time-consuming and slow the processes. Another issue was, that the consortium did not cover all knowledge, especially IT competences. We recommend to thoroughly check the needed competences with those available and cover missing ones. Form a small team or project consortium. Tackle a real-life problem, instead of writing project proposals according to calls. A diverse team that covers all competences needed is necessary. It is essential to development of a common vision amongst all stakeholders. Therfor design thinking and visualization is a facilitator. A combination of open-innovation in the idea generation phases, followed by close-innovation, for the elaboration is recommended. Most important is to test, as soon as solutions have been elaborated. Once, the team performs, do not change it and let it form a separated organizational unit. Avoid complex consortia, that do not share a common vision. Do not develop projects for the sake of a research call and don’t lose the contact to real-life problems.  , , , Austria, office@mopoint.at, +43 1 343 9184 -100, , , , , , ,
PrISMS - Photofabrication: Growth Through PrioritisationImproving SMEs business strategies and capabilities through research dissemination and collaboration with manufacturersAs part of an ERDF (European Regional Development Fund)-funded programme, PrISMS (Practical & Innovative Solutions for Manufacturing Sustainability) programme, Institute for Manufacturing Education and Consultancy Services (IfM ECS) worked with 120 smaller manufacturers to disseminate research outputs and help SMEs improve their business strategy and capabilities. The programme also enabled IfM ECS to capture knowledge related to manufacturing, SME strategic and operational issues and to develop business support tools to address these challenges. Photofabrication, a specialist photochemical machining company that produces metal products, was an organisation to benefit from the project. IfM ECS worked with Photofabrication to identify key business priorities and put in a plan of action to address them. The main key objectives for the project were the following: at the team leader level, the objective was to identify the key priorities for the business; another objective was to improve the day-to-day running of operations; finally, a third objective was to get specialist advice on improving energy usage and efficiency. STAGE 1: DEFINING PRIORITIES AND OPERATIONS IfM ECS worked closely with Photofabrication to establish a clear understanding of the priorities for the business. A key step was the IfM ECS Prioritisation process, a whole-business diagnostic and action-planning tool, which helped the firm to understand its strengths and weaknesses and draw up an action plan to address them. STAGE 2: BENEFITTING FROM A SPECIALIST One of Photofabrication’s core processes is etching metals using concentrated acids. This process has by-products, which could pollute watercourses and are both costly and difficult to dispose of responsibly. The company benefitted from specialist knowledge from Ecopare under the PrISMS programme. Ecopare provided detailed recommendations about how to improve both its energy usage and its environmental impact. TOUCHPOINT 1: PRIORITISATION ENGAGEMENT IfM ECS carrying out a Prioritisation engagement with the company, including exposing a lower level of company management to thinking about the business, rather than just working in it. TOUCHPOINT 2: IFM ECS AND PHOTOFABRICATION MEETING IfM ECS and Photofabrication met to clarify project priorities. This allowed IfM ECS to meet with the company team and to explain its findings, including those about the company’s understanding of the detail of some of its processes. TOUCHPOINT 3: SHARING KNOWLEDGE Photofabrication and Ecopare sharing expert knowledge. This helped the business to think differently about its processes, the impact they were having on the wider environment and on the operating costs of the business. TOUCPOINT 4: RECRUITING EXPERTISE IfM ECS helps the company to acquire the expert knowledge to make this approach sustainable. As owners of the business approached retirement, IfM ECS was able to help the business to recruit the right level of expertise to lead the business technically into the future. On the one hand, Photofabrication measured success based on key metrics including improvement of operational capabilities and reduction in energy usage and associated savings. On the other hand, IfM ECS measured success based on whether the project delivered on objectives and whether there were any learning points and enhancements to the tools and approach could be applied to support future projects. Regarding the barriers, the first one to overcome was that of a workforce who thought they understood about the energy usage and costs of their conversion processes. Through the engagement with Ecopare, the company learned about how the process actually worked, in detail and this led to: an improved ability to run the process efficiently and with lower energy usage and cost and in time, a sufficiently advanced understanding of the energy usage that one of the key processes was able to be removed altogether, with an even greater impact on energy consumption and cost. Through this prioritisation process, the need for improvement in operational capability was identified. The company invested in staff training and in developing the role of middle management to improve the day-to-day running of operations. Supervisors took on more responsibility and monthly reviews of processes were replaced by weekly, daily and hourly checks. These new processes improved the management of operations and enabled the Operations Director to delegate more effectively. Other outputs resulting from the process include energy consumption reduction (reduced lighting bills by about 60% through the introduction of LEDs, new compressor resulting in annual energy savings of £8,000), reduction in metal consumption and implementation of a formalised energy management policy by adopting ISO14001. All these changes together, were translated in energy savings of £30,000 per year; these improvements are expected to be sustained and enhanced. Paul Rea, Operations Director, commented on the project: “We have worked closely with IfM ECS and have seen the benefits.” “It allowed us to tap into resources we didn’t have, to see things in a different way and to make decisions on that basis.” “Systems and processes have been put in place, such as continuous improvement, that allow us to go from strength to strength.” “We have a different mindset – it’s about getting better all the time.” For SMEs: Seek external knowledge and advice to improve the business strategy and operations. Tackle difficult problems e.g. sustainability, energy use etc. in small managable steps. Involve many people within the organisation in changes and improvement projects (not just managers). For RTOs Have a holistic approach in business assessment. Provide a clear process and associated action plan for improvements. Have an effective method to capture feedback, data and knowledge from the SME to improve future tools and engagements. For SMEs Assume that a “business as usual” mentality can provide a competitive advantage for the long term. Assume that the business or sector is unique and external people cannot assist unless they have worked in this sector. Nicky Athanassopoulou, Senior Industrial Fellow, , , UK, naa14@cam.ac.uk, +44 1223 760 376, , , , , , ,
PrISMS – Milbank Concrete Products: growth through innovation Identifying key business priorities and put in a plan of action for Milbank Concrete Products, a manufacturer of precast concrete productsAs part of an ERDF-funded programme, PrISMS (Practical & Innovative Solutions for Manufacturing Sustainability) programme, the Institute for Manufacturing Education and Consultancy Services (IfM ECS) worked with 120 smaller manufacturers to improve their business strategy and support capability development. The programme enabled IfM ECS to develop business support tools to address firm’s strategic and operational challenges. Milbank Concrete Products was an organisation to benefit from the programme. IfM ECS worked with the organisation to identify key business priorities and put in a plan of action to address them. STAGE 1: PRIORITISATION IfM ECS initially worked with the firm’s board to define the business strategy. It was agreed the strategy should focus on two main areas: on innovation (new products and markets) to boost business growth and reduction in energy consumption. STAGE 2: INNOVATION IfM ECS ran a creativity workshop with 11 key staff generating 100 new ideas for products and services. To help with idea generation the team used tools including the Sustainable Product Design Toolkit and the Eco-ideation Tool, which use the principles of sustainability in new product and process innovation. The ideas were distilled to a handful of the most promising through a rigorous selection process. This selection process consists of a methodology that IfM developed and that they called ‘opportunity-feasibility framework’. They were then subjected to a feasibility study using tools and techniques developed at the IfM. These exercises helped the company to identify a shortlist of distinctive products and services, taking account of sustainability from the outset, with four ideas taken forward to the product development stage. STAGE 3: ENERGY CONSUMPTION Ecopare, a project partner of IfM ECS in PrISMS, provided specialist advice on energy usage and environmental impact. This helped the firm to substantially reduce its electricity consumption and energy bills – it also inspired a review of practices to further reduce the firm’s environmental impact. This means reviewing and improving existing processes in the manufacturing area. TOUCH POINT 1: CREATIVE WORKSHOP Creativity workshop ran by IfM ECS with 11 key staff generating 100 new ideas for products and services. To help with idea generation the team used tools including the Sustainable Product Design Toolkit and the Eco-ideation Tool, which use the principles of sustainability in new product and process innovation. TOUCH POINT 2: MEETINGS Meetings with company staff were established to support them in the management of the innovation projects. IfM ECS provided an initial toolkit, which was customised, for the company. The company gave feedback on the use of the toolkit so that IfM ECS could improve it for other user cases. The main key objectives of the project were, firstly, to define a business strategy with the board, and, secondly, to implement the strategy in order to achieve the objectives. On the one hand, Milbank Concrete Products measured the success based on key metrics, including revenue generation and cost reduction. On the other hand, IfM ECS measured success based on whether the project delivered on the agreed objectives and whether there were any learning points and enhancements to the tools and approach that could be used to support future projects. Since, innovation was traditionally management-led, there was not a widespread innovation culture in the company that was a barrier for this open innovation project. A lightweight innovation management process also needed to be established before the company could reap the benefits of the new innovation ideas and projects that emerged from the engagement. Milbank Concrete Products now has a more distinctive and compelling portfolio of goods and services (2 new product and a new service were created as a result of the engagement), minimising its risk in the event of a downturn in the housing and construction sectors. Regarding innovation, the company now has a process to generate ideas for products and services that will help it to grow. Support and coaching for staff developed skills in innovation and new product development, fostering a culture of innovation at Milbank and ensuring the process of new product development is sustainable. Besides, concerning energy consumption, Milbank has reviewed its operations and practices to reduce its environmental impact. Changes made after an energy assessment led to a reduction in electricity consumption and bills of 20%. Other subsequent achievements resulting from the project include, job creation; Milbank has been able to increase staff levels by 5% from 156 jobs to 164 over the course of the project, financial improvements; turnover has increased by 10% per annum and this is forecast to continue in the short term, along with improved profitability, enhanced manufacturing capacity; improvements to the plant and layouts helped to increase manufacturing capacity by 10% and, finally, improved communication; the new user-friendly website offers customers detailed product information, downloads, case studies, online tools and calculators. Andy Mayne, Managing Director, commented on the project: “Working with IfM ECS on our strategy and innovation gave us added vision and direction along with creating a platform for our valued staff to broadcast their ideas. “The full documented review of our energy usage carried out by Ecopare, a project partner in PrISMS, gave us a clear insight into what was needed to reduce our energy usage and, therefore, reduce our costs. “The benefits of this work also inspired us to pursue and obtain accreditation of ISO 14001:2004, where we reviewed our whole operation and practices to not only save money but reduce further our impact on the environment.” SMEs’ perspective Seek external knowledge and advice to improve the business strategy and operations. Tackle difficult problems e.g. sustainability, energy use etc. in small managable steps. Involve many people within the organisation in changes and improvement projects (not just managers). RTOs’ perspective Have a holistic approach in business assessment. Provide a clear process and associated action plan for improvements. Have an effective method to capture feedback, data and knowledge from the SME to improve future tools and engagements. SMEs’ perspective Assume that a “business as usual” mentality can provide a competitive advantage for the long term. Assume that the business or sector is unique and external people cannot assist unless they have worked in this sector. Nicky Athanassopoulou, Senior Industrial Fellow, , , UK, naa14@cam.ac.uk, +44 1223 760 376, , , , , , ,
Seamless and accessible mobilityThe development of a European Transport and Mobility ForumThe ambitious goals of climate protection and energy and resource efficiency as well as the tremendous changes in society and economy require restless innovation and progress in the transportation systems. The modal transport sectors are continuously advancing their research agendas to meet these challenges. Nevertheless, these efforts remain fragmented within the modal silos. In order to reach the European goals towards sustainability and efficiency and to meet the transport and mobility needs of all European citizens, a truly integrated and seamless transport system for people and freight must be developed and implemented, and the full potential of transformative technologies has to be exploited. This can only be achieved if user-centeredness, cross-modality and technology transfer become a focus of efforts of all stakeholders in transport. Importantly, the Coordination and Support Action Mobility4EU promotes a user-centred perspective and a participatory framework involving all relevant actors from inside and outside the transport sector covering all transport modes including stakeholders representing users including specific groups and communities that are vulnerable to be excluded, technology suppliers, policy makers on national and regional level, transport service providers and research organisations. Correspondingly one of the central aims of the project Mobility4EU is the initiation of a EUROPEAN TRANSPORT AND MOBILITY FORUM (ETM Forum) that focuses on user-centred aspects and cross-modality thereby striving to give a voice to users and to truly connect the stakeholders of the different modes. Efficient collaboration between modes is essential when building an integrated transport system offering cross-modal solutions. At the same time, including the user in the development process from the start is required to foster uptake of implemented solutions. The ETM Forum intends to become a place for discussion and debate, providing a voice for users and fostering cross-fertilization of technologies and knowledge-transfer between modes and with stakeholders beyond transport. This requires bringing together all relevant stakeholders of transport of passengers and freight and of sectors beyond the traditional transport industry as, e.g. smart systems, energy, data and services.  Together, through the ETM Forum, it will be possible to explore how to efficiently include the perspective of the user needs of the European citizens, how to create added value by transferring knowledge and how to apply new solutions and usage models. The ETM Forum aims to provide an effective and efficient participative framework for this collaboration, forming an alliance that helps in identifying, designing and implementing novel ideas and innovation in synergetic ways and in participatory processes, in order to: Establish cross-modal links between different transport modes for passengers and freight Integrate user perspectives into the network and into all transport aspects Involve stakeholders beyond transport Initiate collaborative projects The Mobility4EU project has developed a Vision for the European transport system in 2030 and an Action Plan including a Roadmap to implement that vision. The Vision and Action Plan have been developed interactively with stakeholders representing demand and supply side in passenger and freight transport. A series of interactive workshops as well as online stakeholder consultations have been organized within a scientific stepwise approach, the Multi-Actor-Multi Criteria-Analysis complemented by a more creative story mapping methodology. The process towards the Action plan is based on a study of trends, continues with the identification of technical solutions and innovative concepts and builds and ranks future scenarios for transport out of these results. This leads to the formulation of the Vision and the compilation of the Action Plan. Recommendations for tangible measures in research, innovation and implementation targeted towards various stakeholder groups have also been derived. STAGE 1: Study of societal challenges that will influence future transport demand and supply and identification of promising and innovative transport solutions across all modes answering these demands STAGE 2: Vision for the European transport system in 2030 STAGE 3: Action Plan to implement the 2030 Vision and Recommendations towards the relevant actor groups STAGE 4: Creation of the European Transport & Mobility Forum (ETM Forum) The aim is for the ETM Forum to become a place for discussion and debate, providing a voice for users and fostering cross-fertilization of technologies and knowledge. TOUCHPOINT 1: The Mobility4EU consortium is currently working on detailing feasible paths towards the implementation of the ETM Forum. TOUCHPOINT 2: The Mobility4EU consortium is continuously seeking new collaborations to beneficially extend the core of the ETM Forum and support its realisation. BOTTLENECK1: To be successful, the ETM Forum initiative relies on the active participation of a large number of stakeholders and this will probably take significant time to become reality (eg. 1-2 years). Many initiatives, often fully or partly financed through European Collaborative projects, have been performed in order to assess the current situation regarding transport and mobility in Europe and indeed around the world. The Mobility4EU project, however, is focusing also on how to create the ETM Forum as a place for discussion and debate, providing a voice for users and fostering cross-fertilization of technologies and knowledge-transfer between modes and with stakeholders beyond transport. Thus, the network and also the activities and discussions started during the project shall be continued over the project duration. Furthermore, the entire process from studying trends and options for solutions, developing a vision and finally the action plan has been organized within a structured participatory approach that aimed to engage a broad stakeholder community into the consultation processes. This wass achieved by employing a structured tool, the Multi-Actor Multi-Criteria Analysis (MAMCA) and an accompanying story mapping process that supported the process in a more creative and interactive way. Thus, it was possible to include the views and perspective in a bottom-up yet structured approach. Beate Müller, Steinplatz 1, 10623 , Berlin , Germany, beate.mueller@vdivde-it.de, (0) 30 31 00 78-403, David Storer, Strada Torino 50, Orbassano (TO), Italy, david.storer@crf.it, 011 9083567, Website of Mobility4EU project
Singing CitiesCo-Innovation project for the advancement of singing science, the advocacy of music education, and the re-generation of cities through community singing.The goal of this co-innovation project between singing organisations, concert halls, music educators, researchers and local communities is the advancement of singing science and practice, and the advocacy of music education through singing. The project covers two actions for a systemic resurgence of singing: science-based advocacy of teaching singing effectively and the benefits of singing for the community the Singing Cities initiative to share best practices from experiences as well as data and papers from research. Science-based advocacy aims to advance singing science and the advocacy of music education, through singing. It fosters the study of singing – an art form – through medicine, neuroscience, physics, and social sciences; it considers that education and knowledge are culturally and socially located. Singing Cities offer everyone regular opportunities to sing together culminating in yearly celebrations of voices. The initiative aims at an innovative and sustainable advance of singing within and across cities, towns and villages, through a focused cooperation between singing organisations, concert halls, music educators, researchers and local communities. With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union, the Aarya Foundation developed 4 Singing Cities with partners in Berlin (Germany), Brussels (Belgium), Gateshead (United Kingdom) and Namsos (Norway). The provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for singing activity is a long-term endeavour which takes several years. STAGE 1 – EXPLORE SINGING ECOSYSTEM The 4 Singing Cities (Berlin, Brussels, Gateshead and Namsos) researched existing singing education and performance facilities through analysis and surveys, and reported on the singing status quo. STAGE 2 – DEVELOP STRATEGIC ROADMAP Then, the 4 Singing Cities formulated the objectives of continuous activities in collaboration with existing education and performance organisations, non-singers and non-singing communities – mainly through brainstorming and workshops – and developed singing strategies. STAGE 3 – ESTABLISH SUSTAINABLE SINGING CITIES The object of this stage was to increase the scope of strong offers, strengthen weak facilities and build new capabilities. To this end, the project designed, developed and piloted 8 voice events in the 4 Singing Cities. Music managers and singers from each Singing City participated in the celebrations and workshops organised by each of the 3 other Singing Cities. STAGE 4 – SCALE UP AND DEPLOY The co-innovation partners scaled up efforts and deployed full singing strategies, for each Singing City at its own pace and with its own approach. The Singing Cities project continued to be promoted through festivals and a web platform encouraging other European cities to join the initiative. Singing Cities aims at reaching cities in up to 30 European countries to trigger the emergence of a European movement of Singing Communities. Yearly voice festivals These events promote local music education through singing creation and performance. They are inclusive, not exclusive, and operate across generations, gender, diverse ethnicities and cultures, faith and non-faith groups, affluent and deprived neighbourhoods, different abilities and disabilities, professionals and amateurs. They respect the moral and material interests of authors, songwriters and composers. The grassroots events are organised around three concentric circles: a singing consortium organises a lead event in a core venue with their ensembles and guests, concurrently… several concert halls host singing events where professionals (singers, choirs, bands, etc.) perform, and simultaneously… the local community (schools, hospitals, retail centres, offices, congregations, stadiums, railway stations, etc.) open their doors to amateur and professional singers Singing Cities Web Platform Singing Cities share a collaboration suite and website publishing advocacy documents, best practices about yearly events and continuous activities, directory of singing facilities for training and performance, and the promotion of yearly voice festivals. The platform provides guidance and facilitates the dialogue between the users and the researchers through scientific evidences and advocacy documents about the effects of singing on individuals and communities. It is built on top of the collaborative innovation platform CogniStreamer. SUCCESS FACTORS Successfully offering continuous singing education and performance activities to any and all citizen requires advocacy and guidance. Advocacy – Deciders need convincing to allocate time and even more to invest money. Adopting Aarya Foundation’s Unique Scientific Proposition for evidence-based singing advocacy, two scientific reviews have been completed in the scope of this project: Singing, health and well-being under the direction of Professor Gunter Kreutz at the Institut für Musik, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg (Germany). Development of singing across the lifespan under the direction of Professor Graham Welch at the Music Education SIG, UCL Institute of Education (United Kingdom). Guidance – Most people are willing to share and learn from best practices. The scientific reviews have been brought together with the generic principles of education by Katherine Zeserson, from the North Music Trust (United Kingdom), who developed a framework for effective teaching and learning of singing in communities. BARRIERS Establishing a Cooperation agreement We faced conflicting views on how the cooperation should be formulated. Some partners were focused on very detailed wordings limiting the liabilities of the various parties, others on the processes to tackle challenges along the way. The solution to the deadlock was to provoke an escalation of the matters at hand above the project managers, i.e. at the executive level of their institutions, to move forward on a pragmatic basis. Conflicts of egos between some co-organisers and their associated partners Some unforeseen conflicts of this kind arose and created major problems in some cities. The establishment of an advisory body to the coordinator (“The Constituting Group”) proved to be helpful in handling them. Members of this group mediated when convenient. Occasionally, solutions were found outside the project management. Sometimes, associated partners left the project. Establish an advisory board assisting the coordinator to keep a continuous focus, commitment and overview over the mission-critical processes that are instrumental in securing the constructive development of the co-innovation project. Check expectations and capabilities of potential partners early in the planning process, and ensure actual involvement of their top management. Do not start a co-innovation project BEFORE a written cooperation agreement between the coordinator and the co-organisers is signed. Do not get side-tracked by “speakers” but empower “doers” to try new practical approaches, ride the learning curve, and scale up confidently. Marilyn Rixhon, , , , mrixhon@aarya.org.uk, +44 789 980 8715, , , , , , ,
STORK 2.0Creation of an interoperable European platform for European eID as building block for electronic Id and base policy for eIDAS electronic Id, under EC CEF program.STORK 2.0, the pan-European Project fostering citizens’ and business mobility in Europe through cross-border authentication and identification (eID) allows citizens to identify themselves across-borders by using identity-related data from authentic and reliable sources (attribute providers) or to represent other natural or legal persons, in the context of different business domains. STORK 2.0 has accomplished major achievements: A set of open common specifications agreed by the STORK 2.0 Member States for the STORK 2.0 cross-border interoperability eID platform. Commercial packages (open sources) available in Joinup for Member States, Service Providers and Attribute Providers with manuals, guidelines and common code (based on the common specifications) for the connection to the STORK 2.0 infrastructure. A new attribute quality authentication assurance (AQAA) framework, that allows a quality rating of 1 to 4 to be allocated to attribute information (comparable to the QAA framework developed in STORK 1 for eIDs). This framework can be generically applied to any type of attribute, including mandate information stored in business registers. A Memorandum of Understanding that is an agreement between the operators of the national infrastructures in STORK 2.0, and served as an anchor for all legal and trust issues in the project. The Memorandum was aligned with the approach of the eIDAS Regulation to facilitate sustainability, and addressed key topics such as data protection, quality control, maintenance of STORK nodes, security, and general allocation of responsibilities between all STORK 2.0 participants. Four pioneering cross-border pilots which validate at multiple levels of interoperability (legal, technical, semantic, organizational) the STORK 2.0 infrastructure in real life conditions, which improve efficiency and effectiveness of involved chain of organizations and which support future developments in CEF Building Blocks and Digital Service Infrastructures The project involved 55 organizations, both public and private, across 19 European countries. The project also collaborated with ISA, CEF and the eIDAS Task Force to define the building blocks, standards and governance applicable to cross-border eID interoperability as defined in the eIDAS Regulation, and for a compliant but divergent STORK 2.0 community. The 58 organisations from the private and public sector (universities, industry, public administrations) worked together during the 3 years and a half of the project. There were not different stages of collaboration. The communication and cooperation tools that STORK 2.0 project used during its lifetime are the following. TOUCHPOINT 1 - EMAIL AND TELEPHONE The consortium used email for the regular request or provision of information, which was not time critical. For this purpose, a general mailing list was created as well as specific mailing lists for each of the work packages ensuring that if needed all project participants are reached. Direct emails were also be used for bilateral communications. Furthermore, direct telephone calls will be used in case of time critical matters. TOUCHPOINT 2 - FACE2FACE MEETINGS Face-to-face meetings were held to tackle discussions on important issues that require the participation and opinion of all partners. This was also an opportunity for partners to meet each other and solve small questions, doubts and requests that do not concern the project as a whole.  TOUCHPOINT 3 - TELECONFERENCES As an alternative to face-to-face meetings, the consortium made use of a teleconference platform (e.g., Lync or Skype). That allowed regular web interface integrated teleconference facilities with the possibility to share presentations and other files TOUCHPOINT 4 - WEB SITE A useful resource for storing information on work in progress and project information. The collaboration between the different organizations was good, despite the large number of partners mainly because most of them have worked together in the previous STORK project and the strength was in personal relationships of trust between people that already existed. The project management was also essential to turn members into a team, rather than a group of individuals. Securing shared agreement was better than trying to impose objectives on the team and ensures commitment to success. In large teams like STORK 2.0, it was also important for each member to understand their role and responsibility. One of the major barriers to effective collaboration was the conflicting needs and priorities of the different organizations and countries. Each organization had targets to meet. Universities focus on creating new knowledge and improving existing know-how, industry concentrates on getting new business and public sector focuses on delivering better public services. Thus, it was necessary to convince the different organizations of the importance and benefits of the team project and persuade them to cooperate. The benefits of the collaboration between the different organizations should be clear. It is a win-win situation for the different parties. For instance, companies can access to the latest research results while they can offer business insights to the universities. Leadership should be trusted by the partners. Roles and responsibilities of who does what should be clearly defined since the beginning of the project. Accept the differences in culture and the way of working that exist among different organizations. Common goals should be shared by all the partners. Meet regularly to encourage strong communications.   Do not underestimate communication and openness: Effective communication sharing and accessing information needs to exist. Ana Piñuela, Head of Public Administration Sector in Research & Innovation department, , , Spain, Ana.pinuela@atos.net, +34 910389854, , , , , , ,
Towards Successfully Initiating a Large-Scale European Research ProjectLessons learned from the SCOTT projectSCOTT – Secure COnnected Trustable Things is a pan-European project with 57 key partners from 12 countries to provide comprehensive cost-efficient solutions of wireless, end-to-end secure, trustworthy connectivity and interoperability on Technology Readiness Level 6-7 to bridge the last mile to market implementation. The SCOTT project has successfully received funding from the European Commission in the Electronic Components and Systems Joint Undertaking (ECSEL JU) as well as from the respective national funding authorities in the countries of the project participants. This case study is written from the viewpoint of the coordinator, Virtual Vehicle, and captures the whole proposal initiation phase, consisting of idea generation and refinement, joint development of the proposal outline (stage 1), joint development of the full proposal (stage 2), as well as joint development of the consortium agreement. Process main stages in the project initiation phase Step 1: Idea generation phase A small team consisting of the coordinator and a few dedicated industry partners meet regularly to develop the basic idea of the project. Step 2: Project outline phase (stage 1) The proposal development team is extended to more partners particularly including strong industrial partners but also selected scientific partners to constitute the core team of the project initiation phase, developing the project outline. Already in this phase WebEx meetings and SharePoint are used as main means of communication and as a document repository. Step 3: Project full proposal phase (stage 2) After successful approval of the stage 1 proposal, a full proposal is developed, integrating the external reviews from the stage 1 evaluation. The core team refines the descriptions of excellence, impact, and implementation. The consortium is extended by adding additional partners. There is strict schedule for versioning and updating the full project proposal, handled by a small dedicated project management team. Step 4: Consortium agreement phase After successful approval of the stage 2 proposal (full project proposal), contractual agreements – mainly focusing on issues within the project partner consortium - have to be developed before the project can officially start. EU requirements and partner interests have to be considered. Well-established templates are used as an efficient starting point. Webex, phone calls and email are the main means of communication for this step. Touch point 1: Project initiation started by conducting a series of face to face meetings with one dedicated future project core partner. The face to face meetings facilitated an easier discussion when developing a basic project concept. Participants could more easily sketch ideas, question things, reflect on written content and received a valuable feedback. Touch point 2: During the project outline phase, about 10 regular online meetings (WebEx) were performed with the project core team to refine the project idea and to distribute tasks. The core team had to refine the project idea and the project goals. Individual country coordinators were defined. The project implementation structure was developed. Work packages, tasks and roles were distributed. A common PowerPoint slide deck including the basic concepts of the project were developed in the core team, which was used to attract further project partners. One face to face meeting was conducted with all partners for fine-tuning the project content. Touch point 3: A core team WebEx meeting was conducted every Friday morning to facilitate information sharing in the full proposal writing phase. Though the high number of project partners did now allow thorough discussion, the WebEx meeting was extremely important to inform and to share the workload.  Every core team meeting had an agenda and was followed by a structured meeting protocol, defining tasks and responsibilities. WP leaders were defined to better coordinate the work package, task, and building blocks writing process. The core team members were pushing other partners to work hard on the content. Besides that, the coordinator conducted numerous telephone calls, as well as email communications to facilitate the information exchange and to assure that all project partners knew the big picture of the project well enough to contribute. A two day face to face meeting was conducted with the core team partners to align the content, elaborate on the proposal’s USP, define lighthouse use cases to better ‘sell’ the proposal as well as to advance the impact section. Touch point 4: During the consortium agreement phase, periodic WebEx meetings with the legal people in charge at the project partners’ sites were conducted. A template from a previous project was used as a baseline for the contracting process. To support their own legal department, the technical coordinator also engaged in this phase by conducting numerous telephone meetings with other project partners who requested major changes. Barriers In some partner countries it was not clear for a long time, if – besides EC funding - national funding was available. The topic of the project was not a mainstream one. Hence, a lot of efforts have been invested to maximize the quality of the proposal. Some partners left the partner consortium; therefore the coordinator had to invest a lot of resources to find others replacing them. There was very limited support from the top management to the coordinator. In a multinational project initiation phase, it is impossible to keep all partners 100% active and responsive. Success factors in the project initiation phase Start the proposal development process with a low number of dedicated project partners to define the fundamental project contents and objectives. Start small and get bigger: Develop a dedicated project core team to mutually develop the proposal utline, consisting of members who pursue a common goal. Develop a winning idea and a well-formulated and understandable storyline, through dedicated partners who work out the proposal as a nucleus for the further project work. Nominate a coordinator who is a direct communicator, a structured and conceptual thinker, and hard in the facts. Nominate a coordinator who continues asking questions to sufficiently understand the technical content allowing him to assess it - and on that basis - to make informed decisions. Barriers in the project initiation phase An ECSEL-specific barrier is the mixed financing between EU and national funding authorities. This can create extreme dependencies (e.g. different policies and interests between different countries) that a coordinator is not able to influence at all.​ Have a good storyline for the proposal and a well-balanced consortium. Achieving both takes time (which must be available). Cover not only single enterprises, but whole value chains in the project use cases. Include project partners who are active thinkers. Define strict hierarchies to support the coordinator. Follow the funnel principle: Start broad in the beginning and narrow down the content as well as the decision-making scope of individual partners.   Accept being less popular in the end of the project initiation phase as a result of decisions, which the coordinator had to make. Find a dedicated project team in the own enterprise, which is complementary and can effectively collaborate. Form permanent bi-lateral communication with all project partners in such big and complex projects is not possible at all. Specify everything: Instead let others contribute. Dr. Werner Rom, Project Coordinator Head of Department Integrated Vehicle Development, , , , werner.rom@v2c2.at, +43 316 873 9847, , , , , , ,
WOMEN-UP (Cost effective self-management of urinary incontinence)Development of a solution for the home treatment of urinary incontinenceWOMEN-UP is the first European collaborative R&D project in the field of urinary incontinence, a disorder that affects 56 million Europeans, most of whom are women. High performance technology patented by the UPC and Hospital Clínic is being used to carry out pelvic floor rehabilitation at home. During the project, the technology will be improved and tested in three European hospitals, with the collaboration of some of the top European specialists in urinary incontinence, and the support of the European Urogynaecological Association (EUGA). The project has a budget of 3.5 million euros and a duration of 3,5 years. Project video STAGE 1 - LONG-TERM COLLABORATION IN THE FIELD OF PELVIC FLOOR TRAINING: In 2010 CREB UPC and Hospital Clínic initiated a research collaboration in the field of urinary incontinence, which resulted in a prototype of a biofeedback system for the training of pelvic floor. By the end of 2012 they had developed and successfully tested a high-performance device for rehabilitating the pelvic floor at home, which offered advanced features, similar to those used in clinical practice. The solution was protected with a joint patent. STAGE 2 - IDENTIFYING AND CONTACTING A SUITABLE INDUSTRIAL PARTNER FOR MARKET EXPLOITATION: After that, both partners wanted to transfer these results to the market and started to explore the possibilities of creating a European collaborative project in this field. To do so, the first step was to identify a suitable company to join the consortium and lead the industrial aspects. The company selected was Mega Electronics, a Finnish SME with experience in advanced technology for EMG, ECG and EEG monitoring applications, both in hospital laboratory and field conditions. STAGE 3 - SETTING UP A EUROPEAN COLLABORATIVE PROJECT PROPOSAL: The creation of a European collaborative project proposal required expanding the core group with the participation of other complementary partners. It was decided that the proposal should involve a multicenter clinical study in 3 EU hospitals, so two additional hospital were invited to the consortium. Additional complementary partners were selected based on their expertise in aspects such as e.g. health psychology or adherence to treatments.  STAGE 4 - APPROVAL AND EXECUTION OF THE WOMEN-UP PROJECT: After submission to the H2020 call, the proposal was approved for funding and WOMEN-UP became the first project of its kind to be financed in Europe. The proposal was evaluated with the highest score in the H2020 Health Call of 2014. The project started in February 2015 and is expected to finish by July 2018. The description below applies to stages 2-3, when the multilateral collaboration was established and the related technology transfer process consolidated. TOUCHPOINT 1 - INTRODUCTORY E-MAIL COMMUNICATION The first communication with the candidate partners was done by e-mail, explaining the background, introducing the opportunity (i.e. the H2020 call) and indicating the possible role of the candidate partner.  TOUCHPOINT 2 - REGULAR FACE-2-FACE COMMUNICATION WITH THE PARTNERS During the execution phase, face-2-face meetings were held regularly, either bilateral or multilateral (with the participation of the whole consortium).  TOUCHPOINT 3 - VIRTUAL AND DIGITAL COMMUNICATION Regular e-mail, phone and skype communication was established between the partners during the preparation of the project proposal. A web repository (dropbox) was also used in order to share relevant documentation. There are a number of commercial devices in the market providing conservative treatments for urinary incontinence such as FemiScan, U-Control™ Home Continence Trainer, MyoTrac Infiniti Home, EMS physio, Peritone, etc. However, none of these provides the following features together, which will be provided by the final device resulting from the WOMEN-UP project: Portable and comfortable for the patient. Monitoring not only pelvic floor muscles but also abdominal muscles to guarantee the correct execution of exercises (avoiding the use of the latter). Automatic evaluation of exercises allowing the device to provide women real-time assessment during home training. A Clinical Management Program with a friendly graphical interface that allows the therapist to manage protocols and tests in the device and electronic health records during home treatment. Introduction of serious games in the exercising routine in order to make it more fun, thus increasing the patients’ adherence to the treatment.  Remote connection with the therapist via Internet. After a joint collaboration in the field of urinary incontinence, CREB UPC and Hospital Clínic decide to jointly apply for a H2020 project, with the support of the UPC Technology Center (CIT UPC). The first step was to find a suitable company interested in taking the product to the market. Several candidates were identified and contacted, resulting in the company Mega Electronics joining the consortium. A key decision factor was the fact that Mega Electronics already had a commercial product for pelvic floor training, which they wanted to improve with the WOMEN-UP project. The fact that the company was  also familiar with EU projects contributed to a favorable decision. Another key success factor for preparing a good proposal was the involvement of highly complementary partners, each of them providing the required expertise for the project (including research, clinical and industrialization capacities). Finally, the execution of a multicenter clinical study in 3 hospitals (Spain, Finland, and The Netherlands) was also very positively perceived by the evaluators. The fact of involving patients from 3 different countries was important in order to provide a good solution, as urinary incontinence has very different connotations in different countries (e.g. social aspects, preferred treatments, available information, patients’ behavior, etc.). There is a fierce competition in H2020 programme nowadays, meaning that only the best projects are selected for funding. The call topics are increasingly more and more open, giving the applicants the freedom to propose a research of their interest and at the same time fitting with the expected impacts detailed in the respective call topic. For this reason, it is especially important to select the project topic very well. WOMEN-UP focuses on urinary incontinence, a disease that has a tremendous impact (social, quality of life, economic, etc.) for Europe but where no previous collaborative projects were funded at EU level. Carefully building of a consortium where each partner had a very clear and complementary role can also be considered a key success factor.  Strategically choose the partners to build the consortium based on the expertise they can bring to the project. When choosing a topic for a H2020 project proposal, choose for original and high impactful topics. When addressing a challenge where different aspects (clinical, social, behavioral) aspects may vary significantly between countries, it is very important to involve communities from several complementary regions, so that they are well represented in the definition and delivering of the final solution. Do not leave Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) discussion for the end; IPR rules should be clear from the project start, especially for those projects where the resulting technology is expected to be commercialized. For projects involving clinical studies: do not underestimate the efforts need in order to recruit the patients needed for the clinical trials. Juan Pérez - European Projects Manager, , , Spain, j.perez@upc.edu, +34 93 405 44 03, , , , , , ,