A concept of a more efficient usage of SME resources for innovation and facilitation of collaboration with local research institutions and universities

Nils Daehne
HTW Dresden | University of Applied Science

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Rüdiger von der Weth
HTW Dresden | University of Applied Science

The objective in our project is a more efficient usage of existing resources (labour, land and capital) of SME. As a result, there might be more resources available for development of innovative products, processes and services. Beyond a more efficient usage of SME own resources, it should be enable an improvement of access and usage of local innovation infrastructure, research results, know-how and professional staff of research institutions and universities. Especially these aims should be reached through collaboration of suitable and willing partners from all sectors.
Within the scope of our current research project GRULA KMU we developed a model of an efficient cooperative innovation process for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and basic orientated research institutions. This was the base and starting point for further researches and applications for an improved collaboration between SME and research institutions/universities. This model has already been presented and was been well received at the last UIIN conference in London 2018.
This model describes a way to classify knowledge and capabilities in terms of innovativeness and cooperation readiness of SME and research institutions/ universities. After the conference publication we conducted several workshops with representatives of SME, research institutions, universities, Banks, local innovation networks and other stakeholder. In these workshops we discussed our findings with these practitioners and tried to find a shared mental model of current framework conditions to develop a suitable application concept for improvements.
The major results of these workshops are the participant’s strong limitation of resources to get easily in touch with potential local collaboration partners. Also the lack of knowledge about innovation and collaboration practice and the fear to make mistakes are reasons for avoiding collaborated innovation projects. For these reasons we had to find a way to reduce information costs and to facilitate a resource-efficient access to suitable and willing collaboration partners. Furthermore potential partners have to have a better self-assessment about the own status of innovativeness and collaboration readiness to take away the fear of making mistakes.
With this knowledge we were able to describe a concept about improvements in local collaborated innovation processes.
The major outcome is a concept of a more efficient usage of SME resources for innovation and facilitation of collaboration with local research institutions and universities. The concept has to overcome the following identified barriers. At first the lack of knowledge, practice and self-assessment about efficient innovation processes and collaboration work. And secondly, facilitating a quick and cheap way to get access to suitable and willing collaboration partners, research results, knowledge owner and technical equipment.
For this reasons, we developed different tools to provide prepared basic and detailed information about innovation and collaboration processes for SME and other potential partners. And due to the knowledge about the lack of time and resources of SME, there will be used the method of animated explanatory videos to provide information in a quick, easy and understandable direct way. Furthermore we provide tools for a easy self-assessment in terms of innovativeness and cooperation readiness. In this self-checking tools will be also tips and recommendations for next steps to improve the current status of ability to innovate and collaborate. All these tools and information will be prepared on a public domain at our university.
Additional to the web platform, we will provide a web and mobile application for mobile phones to facilitate the access to local potential collaboration partners, research results, projects, knowledge owners and technical equipment. This app concept was developed on the basis of workshop discussions and results. The app enables access to information and contact data of potential collaboration partners and their projects and technical equipment in the near area within a few seconds. To get in touch, the contact might be made directly via the app. The website, app and tools are currently realized with our project partner “Saxony5” until mid 2019. From this time we will have financial and personnel resources to have a test period of about three years.
We would like to present our concept including the mentioned features in a poster at the UIIN conference at Helsinki in 2019. We are looking forward to get feedback and references from UIIN community. After that it would be a pleasure to report our results after the first test year at further UIIN conferences in 2020 and later.