PROINCOR

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WORK PACKAGES

Work Packages

WP 1: Project management and coordination

Sound project management and coordination

TGZ Bautzen will be responsible for the overall management of PROINCOR. A transnational project coordinator and a project finance manager will be appointed by TGZ. TGZ will establish a project secretary in Bautzen assisting the transnational project coordinator. All project partners will appoint project managers and project finance managers at regional level. The partnership will be organised by a steering group (SG). SG will be led by the transnational project coordinator and involve the regional project managers of all project partner organisations. The role of the SG will be to monitor the project progress according to the work plan and take decisions on activities and responsibilities amongst partners. Decision-making in SG will be based on consensus and in case an agreement is not reached, decisions will be made by a majority of votes. The appointed WP leaders will coordinate their work package and communicate with the project coordinator.

A professional communication manager will be appointed for WP 2. The project progress of PROINCOR will be based on the principles collaboration, dialogues, active involvements of all project partners (target groups, key actors, subcontracting persons and entities) and multi-level communication.  Even though partners have specific roles and tasks in the partnership, all partners will be involved in all work packages to reinforce cooperation. In order to facilitate regular contacts between the partners’ e-mails, telephone conferences or skype will be used for transnational meetings beside the planned project meetings. The transnational project coordinator and the project finance manager will maintain continued dialogue between partners to avoid conflicts. In case of conflicts the SG will act as a mediator between partners. We plan SG meetings (SGM) every half year including kick-off-meeting and final event (SGM 1: Bautzen/Germany, month (m): 3; SGM 2:Brno/Czech Republic, m: 9; SGM 3: Trieste/Italy, m: 15; SGM 4: Debrecen/Hungary, m: 21; SGM 5: Ljubljana/Slovenia, m: 27; SGM 6: Poznan/Poland, m: 34). The specific activities of the project coordinator and the whole steering group are focused on the proactive innovation support for SMEs to remove bottlenecks in the diffusion and application of innovation. The steering group will set up a monitoring system to observe the impact of the project activities on innovation performance of the addressed SMEs and the innovation culture in the involved regions. Coordinator and SG have to encourage transnational interaction and collaboration in all work packages. In this way PROINCOR will contribute to the programme goals of territorial cohesion, integration and competitiveness in the target area, the Baltic-Adriatic corridor along the former iron curtain.

WP 2: Communication, knowledge management and dissemination

Ensure wide project promotion of output and results

The penetration of the project’s results to the widest possible audience of the selected target groups is of major importance for the achievement of the goals set. Therefore, the elaboration of a dissemination plan will be finalized at an early stage, and will ensure that the visibility of the project is a continuous activity throughout the project duration. The publicity of the project and its objectives will start at a very early stage, whilst as soon as the first results are made available, the consortium will undertake the execution of the dissemination plan to achieve widest possible and successful dissemination of the project outputs. Publicity and dissemination will be carried out through the normal channels and means, such as website, newsletters, distribution of material, mass media, journals, conferences etc.

The project outputs and results will be of a high degree of transferability, since they consist of a coherent, integrated framework, easy-to-adjust to the needs of any part of the  INTERREG IVb co-operation areas. Moreover, a spill over effect is guaranteed as the vast majority of the partners represent several categories of organisations related to the project’s main objectives. Through the various partners’ widespread regional and national networks involved in entrepreneurship or innovation in SMEs and the international networks of innovation (e.g. EBN),  there will be extended possibilities for transferring the results to external interested parties (national, regional and local authorities, organisations supporting entrepreneurship, universities, enterprises etc). Specific activities will support the results’ transfer, such as:

  1. Link with other networks and single organisations. Creation of an open group of associated members, with extensive (though controlled) access to the outputs and results. Establishment of a permanent virtual forum.
  2. Extended distribution of printed and visual material during conferences and via mail. The project results will be disseminated through the distribution of selected printed material and CD-ROMs, via mail, to interested groups. In addition, they will also be distributed during the scheduled conferences (conference info-packages). Organisation of workshops (animation & awareness, exchange of experience and knowledge, transferability workshops in the frame of the conferences). All specific knowledge, experiences implemented here by each partner will be presented to its policy makers for potential implementation into regional/national policy measures for fostering the competitiveness of SMEs This work package will run from the start of the project throughout.

WP 3: Transnational approach for boosting innovation performance of SMEs in Central Europe

Boosting innovation performance of SMEs

PROINCOR will capitalise on existing methodologies for innovation advising. At the beginning of the project the PROINCOR partners will analyse existing innovation support actions in Europe. Professionals in this area will be invited to report on their approach, practical experience and already achieved results at the transnational innovation conference during the PROINCOR opening event in Bautzen, Germany. The partnership will adapt the most successful approaches to the needs of the involved regions. Priority will be given to proactive approaches focused on SMEs. The selected methodology should cover manufacturing and service processes as well. PROINCOR intends to establish an expert advisory service in all partner regions. Therefore each project partner will appoint an innovation advisor. The assigned regional innovation advisors will be trained by a European expert in this area. The innovation advisors should determine the innovation performance and future needs of SMEs in the manufacturing and the industrial service sectors by an appropriate innovation audit according to the chosen methodology. Regional campaigns will be started to identify SMEs with real innovation needs. At the beginning of the project each partner will address about 500 SMEs by mailings and following phone calls. Only companies with innovation potential which can be improved by the project activities should be involved in PROINCOR. The partnership will come to an agreement about the prerequisites for the involved companies. The innovation advisors will conduct innovation audits in 40 - 50 selected SMEs following the jointly developed methodology. Management and employees will be involved in the audit procedure. Short workshops with management should be used to define priorities for improvements of structures and processes. After identifying needs and opportunities the innovation advisors and their regional partners will support the companies to improve their innovation performance.

For instance, they will give advice to change management methods or find the right partners for product and process development projects. All implemented innovation audits will be documented by means of the internal web-based monitoring system. The external evaluator will study the innovation activities and meet regularly with the PROINCOR innovation advisor group to analyse case studies, give his feedback and some advice on how to continue. It is envisaged to audit 40 companies per region on average. We expect that it will be easier to identify companies with innovation needs in the most developed regions of the Baltic-Adriatic corridor whereas higher efforts in less-developed regions are required. In about 20 % of the audited companies innovation projects (training, product and process development, etc.) should be initiated.

WP 4: Interaction and collaboration of different innovation support actors

Regional and transregional collaboration of innovation support actors

While WP 3 is dealing predominantly with the audit methodology and the conducting of the audit by the individual innovation advisors WP 4 is designed for regional and transnational interacting and collaboration. One innovation advisor alone can’t cover all requested expertise to improve the innovation performance of a company. On the one hand he should be able to solve evident problems immediately with hands-on measures. On the other hand he has to offer the audited companies tailor-made service and support from other regional, national or transnational actors and organisations to implement the audit recommendations and to start innovation projects, especially product and process development projects. It’s the main task of the regional project manager to support the follow-up activities of the innovation advisor and to establish links with partners from the regional innovation support system according the actual needs and demands of the companies. Moreover the project partners will encourage the collaboration between regional key players (public authorities, financing institutions, transfer and research institutions) in the context of the PROINCOR goals. Every project partner should establish a regional advisory group too. This approach opens the way to speedy implementation of innovations and facilitates a rapid response to company needs and market trends. Both, the regional innovation advisor and the regional project manager should observe the follow-up activities and assist the successful implementation if requested. This will create trust and sustainability between all partners. The advisor group will meet every six months to present case studies and to find out how to improve the audit procedure. The meetings will take place in Graz (m6), Brno (m9), Trieste (m15), Debrecen (m21), Ljubljana (m27), Poznan (m34). The feedback from the external evaluator will help to optimise future audits and follow-up innovation support activities for the SMEs. If necessary the audit methodology will be adjusted to the latest findings. By means of the internal web-based monitoring system the advisors can study the activities in the other regions in the time between the face-to-face meetings of the advisor group. Furthermore the database of the monitoring system will be used as common partner search platform. It will help project partners and companies to form stronger ties with complement partners from different areas of the involved innovation systems (RTD, transfer, industry, service, etc.) within the Baltic-Adriatic corridor. In this way PROINCOR contributes to the transnational orientation of innovation systems and the development of transnational operating SMEs.

WP 5: Transnational conclusions for the innovation policy

Conclusions for the innovation policy in Central Europe

All partners will summarise the innovation policy of their region and country. The available tools and programmes to foster innovation will be listed and compared between the regions with a focus on the access for SMEs. The impact of the present policies should be assessed by interviews with company managers and stakeholders concerned with innovation. It should be found out to which extent SMEs benefit from state aids for technology transfer, R&D projects, training programmes etc. At present only a small number of SMEs is involved in European innovation projects. The project partners will analyse the reasons for such low engagement in their respective region. On the one hand obstacles and restrictions should be discussed with the stakeholders concerned with innovation. On the other hand successful innovation support programmes should be pointed out and presented at the partnership events, especially the innovation advisor group meetings and the final conference. There are close relations between innovation policy and regional or national innovation systems. Most of the innovation support actors implement programmes passed by the parliament before. Nevertheless, it seems the regional innovation sources are not fully exploited in Central Europe. There is still a lack of trust and mutual understanding between companies and public research and technology transfer institutions in the involved regions inside the Baltic-Adriatic corridor. That’s why PROINCOR will analyse the effectiveness of the regional innovation systems. The innovation systems of the partner regions will be compared to learn from Central Europe’s diversity and to find out possibilities for improvement and collaboration. The concrete results of the PROINCOR project concerning improved management structures and new or improved products and processes in the audited SMEs are captured in the internal monitoring system. The project management will analyse these results together with SME managers and the external evaluator to find out the impact on innovation performance and competitiveness of the companies. It will also be studied if there was a real impact on the collaboration of key players at regional and transnational levels. The project results will be used for the transnational recommendation and suggestions for improvement of the existing innovation support programmes. These recommendations and suggestions will be summarised in one report. The transnational advisory board will study and approve this report before the final conference. We expect that the members of the advisory board have followed the project activities of PROINCOR by attending the transnational events as well as the regional meetings in the partner regions. The results and recommendations will be disseminated at the final conference and by all partners via their communication channels.

PROINCOR up to date

On 10th of September 2013 PROINCOR project partners will hold a conference “Planning efficient activities for innovation in SMEs in 2014-2020 perspective – experiences and recommendations from PROINCOR and other good practices”. The event will take place in Poznan, Poland
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3rd PROINCOR Newsletter

The third PROINCOR Newsletter is available. See Download.

Report on country-specific innovation policies

The report on country-specific innovation policies in the PROINCOR countries is available. Please see Downloads...