NIR-VANA surfing towards the exploitation pilots!
NIR-VANA is ready for surfing …
People adore surf! It is about freedom, about playing with nature, about fun, about facing unpredictable challenges and being tanned and sharp. Surf looks cool and easy to do when you sit on the beach and observe the advanced ones. They literally glide over and through beautiful blue giants and rarely lose control. But whoever tried wave surfing knows how tough it is even to keep the balance on the board. And the only way to proficiency is just to keep on doing it. Somehow similar to the NIR-VANA project (Networking Innovation Room for Value Added Networking Alliances) co-creation and implementation process.
After 6 months of proposal preparation, 26 months of implementation trough co-creation, discussion rounds, questionnaire analysis, programming, feedbacks, presentations, meetings, trainings and more feedback collection from the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) Innovation advisors (IAs), their clients and other relevant innovation agents in Europe, we have created the platform basis for the biggest open innovation network in Europe.
The NIR-VANA project was developed under the umbrella of the H2020 program with the aim to improve and support human relationships between SMEs, their partners and innovation advisors, in an innovation ecosystem approach. We looked for the way to create a tool to manage the innovation ecosystem of EEN and non-EEN similar agents (like SME Associations) and to implement the concept of open innovation (OI) to the needs of SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises).
Open Innovation is a paradigmatic change in the way innovation is performed that is object of disruptive improvement with the advent of the internet, the crowdsourcing, and the artificial intelligence, in the century of the online platforms. Involving other parties when developing new products and technologies can be of great added value. The today understanding of open innovation (OI) considers innovations to be complex (or poorly understood) processes that are typically only successful, if several actors collaborate regardless the configurations. However, OI and cooperation models are becoming more important against the background of shortening product life cycles and at the same time rising expenditures for R&D.
SMEs are the backbone of Europe’s economy. They have created around 85 per cent of the new jobs in the EU in the last five years; now account for two-thirds of the total private sector employment and contribute to around 70% of all economic growth. However, SMEs are confronted with harsh and fast changing market conditions and forced to adapt or reinvent their business through new technologies or unique value propositions. And they must grow.
During the project life we have learned that the support given by the Enterprise Europe Network to SMEs in Europe is crucial and often not perceived as such, although it is clear that SMEs will grow faster by having the support of external advisors helping them to achieve “large company benefits” from innovation: adopting new technologies, new business models, and embracing OI.
However, Europe lacks the number of innovation advisors (IAs) needed to serve the existing number of SMEs and to meet the EU economic growth goals. What is worse, IAs lack the proper digital tools (all-in-one-place and easy access to online knowledge services) for efficient advisory services on market and technology scouting, partners and experts’ recommendation, and funding. Yet, SMEs need to feel the human touch and the face-to-face contact of advisors to reach the sufficient trust to be introduced to online OI. Thus, advisors need to find solutions for staying close to their clients and make their work more efficient and gain capacity to get and serve new clients.
We claim to have reached the momentum with the current nir-vana platform for the EEN ecosystem. The exciting moment is just now, right before jumping to the exploitation phase, which will lead us to the next level. This point brings us back to the surf parallel.
What surfers love most is the feeling of being completely in the moment. They are well aware that the ocean is infinitely more powerful and unpredictable than we are, but if you trust in your abilities and surrender your need to control things completely, you just might find your place in the wave and that ride is so sweet – even when it only lasts for a little while.