In the first part of our guest post series, we talked about the common challenges companies face when transforming the company's culture.
In this post, we’ll clarify how a dedicated innovation management tool can help drive more innovation in your organization. We’ll also introduce the most significant benefits you can achieve with the right tool.
More ideas lead to more innovation
Success in innovation requires a systematic process for generating, evaluating, prioritizing and validating new ideas. Although no tool will automatically make innovation happen, it can be a tremendous help in the process of turning new ideas into innovations.
The right tool supports the entire innovation process from the beginning to the end and encourages employees to come up with more ideas. More ideas lead to more innovation, and although it’s the execution of those ideas that matters, generating new ideas is the first step towards any kind of progress.
Benefits of an innovation management software
A simple idea management tool is suitable for a wide range of different innovation activities to drive business results in your organization. Having just one versatile tool for managing ideas adds value to the process in several different ways.
1. Accessibility and real-time results
Did you know that 97% of people get their ideas outside of the office? Because the majority of ideas are generated somewhere else than at work, you shouldn’t limit the possibilities to participate in the process. To get as many ideas as possible, innovation should be accessible for everyone regardless their location.
Compared to a physical suggestion box, for example, online tools allow people to submit ideas on the go and respond to feedback immediately. All employees can access the same information whenever they like. When they can see the real-time impact of their own activities, it may encourage them to be even more active in the future.
2. Increased transparency
The biggest problem with closed suggestion boxes or traditional surveys is that they lack transparency. Once you submit your idea, you have no clue what will happen next and if your idea is ever going to be implemented.
Although there is a time and place for gathering feedback via surveys, these types of closed methods aren’t the best options for continuous ideation.
An innovation management tool increases transparency as you can see the status of each idea at one glance. People are going to be more willing to share their improvement suggestions when they know that their ideas will be seen and that they can affect the progress of their own ideas.
Another benefit of a transparent tool is that it allows you to assign responsibility. When everyone knows who is working on a certain idea, the person responsible for the idea becomes more motivated to advance it.
3. Improved mobility and operations
The right tool makes it easy to prioritize ideas and pick the right ones to progress. It helps you analyse your process to identify and eliminate bottlenecks.
With the help of the right tool, you’ll be able to fix inefficiencies faster and more efficiently. This saves you time and money, increases your profitability and allows you to produce more of the results your customers demand.
When your entire team can evaluate, refine and develop ideas together, you’ll improve engagement, organizational learning, communication and the sense of fairness.
4. Cultural improvements
Improved transparency, communication and active collaboration are eventually going to have positive effects on the company's culture.
One of the most important benefits is that an innovation management tool allows you to recognize and reward the most active participants. How you decide to reward your employees is entirely up to you, but you should always try to give positive feedback and acknowledge people for the improvements they’ve made.
Positive feedback truly helps your employees thrive as it makes them feel their input is valued. This again can lead people to become more confident in their competence. When people feel they’re a valuable part of the continuous improvement process, they’re likely to keep giving better ideas.
Although an innovation management tool brings a number of direct and indirect benefits to your innovation process and other parts of your business, implementing a dedicated tool only advances your business if the ideas are actually developed and put in practice.
Innovation is a continuous process and the right tool helps manage it more effortlessly and effectively. If you don’t yet have a tool for managing ideas in your organization, you can now get started with Viima for free.
This is the second part of Viima’s guest post series for KISMC. You can have a look at the first article where we talk about the common challenges organizations face when transforming the company's culture and how to overcome them.
About the author
Julia represents Viima, the best way to collect and develop ideas. Viima’s innovation management software is already loved by thousands of organizations all the way to the Global Fortune 500 and is free for up to 50 users. She’s passionate about helping leaders drive innovation in their organization and frequently writes on the topic, usually in Viima’s blog.
The questions I would ask social entrepreneurs before I start working with them [Based on the BASET Project]
Following the publications on our blog in the BASET project’s site - www.baset.info, let me share as a mentor and management consultant, what questions I would ask social entrepreneurs at my first meeting with them. The proposed questions neither exhaust all possibilities, nor claim universality. Any one of us - mentors and consultants - could ask more or less the questions below, depending on their own experience and concrete case.
Nevertheless, I believe that at the very beginning of starting my work with my client – the social entrepreneur, I have to sketch a general picture of the business idea and to understand the profile of the owner of it.
Questions to ask social entrepreneurs
So, let me describe these questions with more details:
1. The first question concerns the motivation of the person. I would be very keen to have an idea what his/her motivation is and why he/she would like to start his/her own business in the areas of tackling social challenges and problems. I will ask the entrepreneur whether he/she knows what the expected impact is and whether he/she will rely on sustainable decisions. What the vision and mission are and how they are described? What does lead the entrepreneur to the realization of this idea?
2. Secondly, it is commonly accepted that the inherited mentality of people is an important factor of their decisions to become entrepreneurs and to help other people. I would ask them to share with me whether in their family they have entrepreneurs or people who have led other people and managed projects, and if they have received tips and good examples from them? Or maybe they have been instructed or influenced by other leaders or concrete examples in a national or global context?
3. Next question concerns important competences. Does the entrepreneur know the social issues he or she will have to deal with as an entrepreneur and could he/she share with me what knowledge and competences still lack about this area, as well as for the economy and management of the company or the organization, which the entrepreneur plans to start-up or scale-up? Does the entrepreneur know well what difficulties and challenges await him on the way?
4. The 4th question concerns what skills the entrepreneur would be able to rely on, so the social venture is successful? Does he or she know what skills they lack for being successful social entrepreneurs??
5. Next, I would like to know whether the entrepreneur has personal experience in working with social projects and/ or with doing classic business? I will ask the entrepreneur about his or her experience in a social enterprise or in a network that supports social causes? Any information I will receive about the previous experience of the social entrepreneurs can be very supportive for me as a mentor and consultant?
6. My 6th question will be about empathy. I will be very interested to know what is the reason that the entrepreneur would like to be involved in solving social challenges. Whether this is philanthropy, social responsibility, the belief that everything is in our hands and this is their philosophy of life, or the understanding that every business is social when it is innovative, and that the social business model is more efficient in comparison with the classic ones, or this is a better approach of searching for justice, or for solving global problems, or all these things? Also, I would be very interested to understand if the entrepreneur is ready to achieve the goal, despite the anticipated difficulties and losses and he/she is ready to work hard towards reducing the risks of failure to a minimum?
7. The 7th question concerns the leadership and is one of the most important for me. I would be very curious to understand what the entrepreneur thinks about him/herself as a leader who can engage other people in solving the tasks and achieving social impact? What qualities are needed and are useful to become a business leader as well? Does the difference between the two types of leadership is known?
8. Next question concerns the integrity. Whether the entrepreneur knows the moral and ethical norms of doing business in regard to users, investors, customers, beneficiaries, competitors, suppliers, consultants, etc.? Is the entrepreneur ready to give up of the ideas and goals for achieving financial and social impact, if this overrides the norms?
9. The 9th question is about what is the social intelligence of the entrepreneur I would be engaged to work for. Can the entrepreneur find stakeholders, supporters, partners and/ or a network of contacts that support their mission and intend to achieve specific social effects? How does he/she plan to include them in their initiative / project / enterprise to increase their chances of success?
10. And finally, the 10th and may be the most important question concerns the business model. Does my trainee or mentee have an initial idea of how he/she will create and sell something useful to the users, and how the target group will benefit? I would like to receive simple answers to the questions: who, why, what, how, to whom, and where? Can my mentee develop a more detailed operational business plan and do they know where they would seek some help?
This package of questions may look quite large but form my experience any professional mentor, coach, consultant, or trainer can succeed of collecting all those answers within 30 minutes. The professionals can also use ready questionnaires that are included in our SEDM model and are posted in the site as self-evaluation questionnaires https://www.baset.info/for-social-entrepreneurs.html .
After making this preliminary picture of the business idea and the profile of the social entrepreneur, we can proceed with creating an individual plan for working with him or her.
Knowledge, Innovation and Strategies Management Club (KISMC)
Small and medium-sized companies are the backbone of the European economy and empower the growth and employment. Moreover, SMEs contribute to the training of the future work force through their involvement in apprenticeships and indeed, apprenticeship schemes offer great value not only to the SMEs and the apprentices themselves, but also to the entire society.
By documenting and sharing good practices, SMEs can learn from their own experiences and from others. They can turn this knowledge into action and develop their capacities and respond more quickly and effectively to different changes that may arise. If good practices are not documented, it is highly possible that mistakes will be repeated, successful examples will be forgotten and opportunities for improved practices will be lost.
That is why, as part of the Erasmus+ project ROI - Return on Investment of WBL and Apprenticeships, KISMC opens a call to collect good practices from collaborating companies. The collection of good practices will present different ways to facilitate the involvement of SMEs in apprenticeship schemes and will serve as a standard to promote knowledge sharing, collaboration, increase efficiency and enhance work-based learning (WBL) and apprenticeship supply.
The call aims at gathering a collection of good practices and successful examples from SMEs throughout the pilot experimentation of the ROI project. All partners: Knowledge, Innovation and Strategies Management Club (KISMC) - Bulgaria, the Technical University of Kosice (TUKE) - Slovakia, 3 training organisations active in VET: IDEC - Greece, CECOA - Portugal, PIT - Spain and Social Value UK , DLEARN - Italy and Cosmic Innovations - Cyprus, will work together for case studies of SMEs offering apprenticeships.
All the practices will be published in a Good Practices Guide, which will include a set of instructions, suggestions and successful examples from the project partners' countries. This will lead to contributing to the work-based learning (WBL) and apprenticeships' supply from SMEs.
Many SMEs realize the need of investing in young talent and have started to recognize the benefits. However, attracting new talent has its challenges and realizing what support is out there to assist this process and make it more appealing for SMEs to implement these practices requires better awareness of the existing materials, know-how and support. Moreover, this type of investment starts early, with partnerships and activities at school and universities.
Apart from the direct benefits for companies, there is also a broader spectrum of advantages for the society, such as increased employability and employment of young people, work experience opportunities, development of a pool of skilled workers at regional level, social inclusion of vulnerable groups, economic returns such as reduction of public expenditure etc.
Furthermore, SMEs providing WBL and apprenticeship programmes experience variety of advantages, ranging from financial to soft benefits both short and long term, such as higher productivity, reduction of external recruitment, highly motivated and talented personnel, enhanced corporate image, staff retention, opportunity to fill skill gaps etc.
There are various factors and elements of the education system across the EU but a unified approach and frameworks have been developed to enhance the role of work-based learning in its different forms and apprenticeships in particular. Moreover, to make them an effective tool for SMEs to solve the issue with lack of skills and talent, on the one hand. On the other hand, they are growth and success factors for businesses as well as key drivers for success for SMEs.
Implementing a holistic approach and system for apprenticeships allows SMEs to become more competitive and attract the right set of skills, knowledge and competences for growth and innovation as key competitive advantages in today’s economy and competitive markets.
According to the research and surveys as well as the conducted focus groups of the project “Return on Investment of Work Based learning and apprenticeships”, co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, SMEs' decision to engage in the supply of WBL and apprenticeship training is determined by the cost-benefit ratio of such an investment.
Knowledge, Innovation and Strategies Management Club (KISMC) is a partner in the "Return on Investment of Work Based learning and apprenticeships" project (ROI), along with a diverse and complementary mix of organisations - from Slovakia the Technical University of Kosice (TUKE), 3 training organisations active in VET: IDEC - Greece, CECOA - Portugal, PIT - Spain and also from the UK - Social Value UK - a network focusing on social value and social impact, from Italy a network focusing on the promotion of digital learning and use of ICT - DLEARN and an ICT company focusing in ICT-enabled E&T - Cosmic Innovations - Cyprus.
Costs & Benefits
The following costs and benefits have been identified through the project partners' research based on focus groups and surveys among SMEs:
Calculation of RoI
The ROI project has been focusing on developing:
- A model for the calculation of RoI of WBL and apprenticeships by SMEs
- A digital tool that will demonstrate the RoI model in a visual way
to calculate and visualize how investment on WBL and apprenticeships can manifest to multiple benefits.
To access the ROI calculation model and digital tool, please click here.
According to BCG’s Global Innovation Study, the biggest obstacles standing in the way of innovation are often related to company culture.
Culture consists of various different aspects, such as ethics, values, collective beliefs, assumptions, working methods and standards, to name a few. Because culture is such an all-encompassing concept, it’s no surprise that many leaders face challenges when trying to shape their cultures to be more innovative.
Although it can be almost impossible to avoid every hurdle in the process, what matters more is the ability to identify the most common bottlenecks to cultural change and to find ways to remove them.
We’ve previously held a webinar to help you transform your company culture with innovation practices and have also written an article about this topic. This post extends the topic even more and focuses on introducing some of the common challenges companies face in cultural transformations, as well as practical tips for overcoming them.
What is a culture of innovation?
Although innovation means different things to different people, there are certain traits innovative teams share. According to The 2018 Global Innovation 1000 study, the high-leverage innovators have the following key characteristics:
1. They closely align innovation strategy with business strategy.
2. They create company-wide cultural support for innovation.
3. Their top leadership is highly involved with the innovation program.
4. They base innovation on direct insights from end-users.
5. They rigorously control project selection early in the innovation process.
The best innovators excel at each of these first five characteristics and can integrate them to create unique customer experiences that can transform their market.
What comes to company culture, you can tell a lot about a company and its culture by observing how people behave – especially when the boss isn’t around.
Culture of innovation emphasizes on generating and implementing new ideas and is focused on making constant improvement in various areas of the business. Innovation is all about making progress on a company level as well as on a personal level. Therefore, the ideal culture for innovation supports constant learning and experimentation.
Because culture is mainly shaped by people, often the most common challenges are also related to them.
1. Resistance to change
Shaping peoples’ mindsets and attitudes can be challenging. Often, people have their own, fixed ways of seeing and doing things. While there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that, those underlying beliefs and assumptions can sometimes hinder innovation.
When things have been done in a certain way for a long time, it becomes the norm. This easily leads to people becoming blind to possible inefficiencies in their own work and commonly used processes.
Things that have worked well in the past aren’t necessarily guaranteed to work in the future, which is why it’s important to constantly challenge your assumptions, be open to change and look for ways to improve the way you and your team work. Getting too content with how things are now has already proven to backfire in the long run.
In addition to this, people can be resistant to change because they are afraid of failure. Being afraid of making a mistake is only natural as no one really wants to be responsible for something that didn’t go quite as planned.
These types of attitudes, however, can be changed by creating an environment that embraces the “fail fast mentality”. Innovation involves almost always a certain amount of risk and uncertainty. Because not all ideas can be successful, it’s important to communicate that not all ideas are expected to work and it’s ok to fail as long as people are learning from it.
Start with small victories
Getting started with changing mindsets is often the hardest part. To succeed, it’s important to understand why people are against change.
Often, the reason is that they don’t understand what change means for them. They might, for example, see innovation only as a requirement to work more but don’t necessarily see the possible positive impacts it can have on their work.
Your job is to communicate how these changes affect your team in practice and most importantly, what’s in it for them. Help people understand why change is necessary for the continuity of the business and the well-being of the team.
You can start by making small, gradual changes to the way your team works and focus on getting positive results fast. Consider picking those so called “low hanging fruits” first before announcing any major company-wide reforms.
One way to start is to open the conversation by organizing an idea challenge, for example. Once you’ve gathered a few first positive experiences, people can see the upsides and are more likely to have a more open attitude towards improvements and new opportunities.
2. Not communicating the purpose
Most of our time awake is spent at work. Without a larger purpose for what we’re doing, people can easily start seeing their job as just another pay check. It can also be difficult to get people give their best at all times. Without purpose, there’s no direction, and without direction, there’s really no chance of reaching your destination.
By communicating purpose I’m not referring to giving a motivational speech or hanging inspirational quotes on the office walls. For people to find real fulfillment and meaning in their jobs, they must feel they are an important part of something that makes a real difference.
In the context of creating an innovative culture, it’s important that people know why change is inevitable. If, for example, you’re operating in a declining industry, you simply have to renew in order to survive. It’s your responsibility to communicate what needs to be changed as well as what each individual should do for making this change happen.
Create a movement
Communicating the purpose starts with clarifying your vision and turning that vision into a compelling story people are keen to be a part of. This helps convince people to align their actions towards the common goal and join the “movement”.
If you were uncertain of the continuity of your business, you’d want to make sure your people understand that they need to keep improving their skills and knowledge on an individual level too.
Even if your situation wasn’t as critical, you should still try to constantly learn more about your employees and what energizes and motivates them. Also, when hiring new people to your team, instead of only emphasizing skill, always look for qualities that can help advance your grand vision.
3. Rigid organisational structures
Organizational structures are typically quite hierarchical, especially in larger organizations. Although having some form of hierarchy is necessary, it might also cause some bottlenecks for innovation if it restricts information flow.
Often, middle management, which controls the information flow to and from the front line, ends up as that kind of a bottleneck. Even if managers would want to hear ideas from the front line, they are often too busy and thus end up prioritizing their current tasks over innovation.
Typically, this sends a signal that the employees’ input isn’t appreciated, which again leads to decreased motivation to share any new ideas.
Move decision-making closer to the front-line
Innovation should happen at all levels of the organization. When ideas need to go through several levels of management, there’s a risk that the feedback and evaluation process will slow down and become ineffective. For this reason, too high organizational barriers and hierarchy will eventually kill innovation.
Communication shouldn’t just flow up but also down and across the organization. If middle managers have too much on their plate, they often only see short-term goals and constant pressure to hit their performance metrics, which leaves little room for long-term improvement.
One way to overcome this challenge is to move decision making closer to the front-line. Managers could tell more about innovation from a larger perspective and direct the right type of activity by setting goals that support the right kind of change.
To do that, managers need to trust their employees and let them execute their ideas but also provide them with certain limits in order to stay focused. Creating an innovative culture requires just the right amount of freedom and control.
So, instead of having managers make all the decisions, you should give more responsibility to those who are willing to take it and are passionate about moving things forward.
4. Lack of commitment and reinforcement
Another reason why innovation culture efforts fail is low levels of managerial commitment. If innovation is seen as just an “extracurricular activity”, it easily gets in the way of daily tasks and routines. If management isn’t committed, employees aren’t likely to be either.
Innovation isn’t just an activity for times when there’s nothing else to do. You need innovation to reach your goals now and in the long term.
Innovation is like a habit; it takes time and effort to form one, but once it’s learned and integrated in the daily life, you’ll eventually start seeing desired results. Just like acquiring any positive habit, scattered and short-term efforts don’t last. Change rarely happens overnight and especially innovation requires a true shift in mindset as well as constant reinforcement.
Although employees are coming up with new ideas all the time, the real challenge is to constantly harness those ideas to create more value. Keep offering interesting challenges to increase activity and excitement. If active employee involvement isn’t encouraged, you really can’t expect to see outstanding results because often, the amount of activity correlates with the outcomes.
Tie innovation to actual ways of working and reward active participation
To get the best possible results, innovation should be tied to the actual ways of working and projects your teams are currently working on. This ensures that people are always making progress and learning while doing what they’re supposed to do.
Introducing a few simple performance metrics can encourage people to keep improving the way they work. Be clear about the common company goals as well as how the input of each team and individual contributes to the big picture.
Executive level is also eventually responsible for keeping the conversation active. Inspiring and innovative environment encourages rapid exchange of ideas both vertically and horizontally and constantly provides people with the right kinds of challenges.
In order to keep the ideas flowing, always remember to reward the most active participants. Give credit for great effort and never underestimate the power of positive feedback.
Brian Chesky, the Co-founder and CEO of AirBnb, once said that culture is simply a shared way of doing something with passion. I think we can all agree, as it’s the people who have the real ability to make a culture great.
Improving company culture should be everyone’s responsibility. Your culture doesn’t only concern those working for the company but has an impact on your customers as well. To be able to better serve your existing and potential clients, you want to keep your standards high and work hard towards creating better solutions and services for them because that’s what innovation is ultimately about.
Although you might not be able to avoid all challenges when shaping your culture, you should try to approach them systematically. If you fail to see positive change, look for possible obstacles that might be standing in the way of innovation and start removing these obstacles one by one.
This is the first part of Viima’s guest post series for KISMC. Stay tuned for the next article in which we’ll talk more about how the right tools and practices can help succeed in driving innovation in your organization.
About the author
Julia represents Viima, the best way to collect and develop ideas. Viima’s innovation management software is already loved by thousands of organizations all the way to the Global Fortune 500. She’s passionate about helping leaders drive innovation in their organization and frequently writes on the topic, usually in Viima’s blog.
Did you know that SMEs represent 99% of all businesses in the EU? Or that statistics from the European Commission (EC) outline that in the past five years SMEs have created around 85% of new jobs and have provided two-thirds of the total private sector employment in the EU?
The availability of skilled labour is an important prerequisite to the SMEs’ prosperity, however, there is a mismatch between the skills the labour market demands and those that the education and training system provides. In order to tackle this mismatch, the EC has identified that quality work-based learning (WBL) and apprenticeships can be an efficient way of addressing labour market imbalances.
What is work-based learning?
“Acquisition of knowledge and skills through ‘carrying out – and reflecting on – tasks in a vocational context, either at the workplace (such as alternance training) or in a VET (vocational education and training) institution”.
What is apprenticeship?
“Systematic, long-term training alternating periods at the workplace and in an educational institution or training center. The apprentice is contractually linked to the employer and receives remuneration (wage or allowance). The employer assumes responsibility”.
In countries, where there is a well-established apprenticeship system, such as UK, Austria and Germany, SMEs contribute strongly to the training of the future workforce through their involvement in work-based learning and apprenticeship schemes. On the contrary, in countries with more school-based systems such as Slovakia, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Bulgaria, the engagement of SMEs in the supply of placements is more challenging as they lack the support systems and fail to realize both the financial and social benefits.
Based on this need, the project - “Return on Investment of Work Based learning and apprenticeships” (project N°: 2017-1-SK01-KA202-035375) suggests the development of a return on investment (RoI) model and digital tool that will allow European SMEs to calculate and visualize how investment on WBL and apprenticeships can manifest to multiple benefits, especially economic benefits, which you can have a glimpse on below.
10 Economic benefits for SMEs
In conclusion, there are a number of key benefits of work-based learning and apprenticeships for SMEs, which are not always considered by the companies. If you are leading one of the 99% of SMEs in the EU, wouldn't you want to increase your productivity and innovation capacity? Or strengthen your brand as an employer, develop your talent in-hose and increase your retention rate? Overall, wouldn't you want to decrease your talent acquisition costs?
If every employer asks themselves these questions, it appears significantly evident how important it is to review their practices regarding work-based learning and apprenticeships and to better evaluate their future investment. However, more awareness needs to be raised about the benefits of WBL and apprenticeship among SMEs as well as support.
“Return on Investment of Work Based learning and apprenticeships”, co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union has developed a return on investment (RoI) model and digital tool that allows European SMEs to calculate and visualize how investment on WBL and apprenticeships can manifest to multiple benefits.
The Model for calculating the return on investment (ROI) of worked-based learning and apprenticeship reflects the perspective of the consortium project - “Return on Investment of Work Based Learning and Apprenticeships”, coordinated by Slovakia, with partners from Portugal, Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Italy, United Kingdom and Spain. For more information about the partners in the project, read here.
The “RoI of WBL and apprenticeships” is based on the traditional model of calculating ROI, taking into consideration the costs and benefits of the SMEs regarding their investments in WBL and the apprenticeship courses.
The list/menu of key “costs” and “benefits” proposed by the model are based on national research reports, developed for partners' countries (such as Slovakia, Portugal, Greece, Bulgaria, Italy and Spain), highlighted the SMEs' needs and their national apprenticeship system.
What is ROI?
ROI is the calculation that compares the value of outcomes (changes as a result of an activity) to the value of the resources needed to create them.
Presented as a ratio, the value of outcomes is divided by the value of resources required to create them. The results of the calculation demonstrate the efficiency of an investment or activity. This can support the decision-making process by highlighting if an investment provides a positive return, and if there is more than one option, it can help decide which option provides the greatest return.
The return on investment formula is:
ROI = Value of outcomes / Value of investment
In the above formula, "Value of outcomes” refers to the aggregated value of all of the included outcomes of investing in WBL.
As well as presenting results as ROI, the net present value of money can also be used to support the decision-making process. This is calculated by subtracting the value of the investment from the value of the outcomes.
The net present value formula is:
Net present value = Value of outcomes – Value of investment
13 Interesting Insights to Review from the International Conference 'Digital Skills & Innovation @2030'
The conference was organised to reveal the results of the 2-years DigiThink project, where 6 organisations were working together: KISMC - Bulgaria, State University of Library Studies and IT - Bulgaria, University of Deusto - Spain, Tecnalia - Spain, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra - Slovakia, Training 2000 - Italy. In addition to that, the international conference "Digital Skills & Innovation @2030" brought together innovation and digital experts, entrepreneurs, investors, academicians, professionals and stakeholders in the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. During the event like-minded people had the opportunity to exchange views on various topics in the digital, innovation and entrepreneurship space and discuss potential collaboration.
The event was full of excitement, great networking over glasses of wine and plenty of follow ups bringing potential opportunities for everyone.
1. Design Thinking for DigiThink
- Human Oriented approach: “Empathising”
- We focus on the “creators” of new digital products and services, their needs and the environment for their activity.
- In today’s fast developing and increasingly digital world, organizations face many challenges: disruptive technologies, economic pressures, globalization and, mainly, keeping up with changes in customer behaviour.
2. Objectives for "Design Thinking for Digital Innovation"
- to take students out of their comfort zone of learning to create innovative products and services
- to encourage students to start their social businesses
- to develop necessary digital skills for both target groups: student teams - digital business creation and lecturers – open educational resources in courses
- to develop empathy, ethics, values, and sense of social responsibility.
3. Responsible Research & Innovation (RRI)
- A major part of the current EU Research Framework Programme “Horizon 2020” is dedicated to societal challenges.
- Challenge-driven programmes are usually interdisciplinary and often cover the entire innovation chain from fundamental research to demonstration.
- Within the R&I system there have been examples of controversies and failures in fulfilling societal expectations in part because not all key actors were engaged
- Certain key issues (or policy agendas) need to be taken into account:
- gender equality
- open access
- public engagement
- science education
4. Experience Logic Marketing & Design Thinking
5. The Agile School & Scrum Ban Lab for Business
- A lab for experiments for creating didactic instruments based on the toolbox applied in real practice
- Parents are the stakeholders in the education process and are kind of Product Owners, along with teachers
- Teachers are moderators, mentors and observe the processes of building the "overall picture" as they are the Product Owners together with the representatives of the companies, organizations and institutions
- Students self-organize, self-assess (somewhat) and work in teams / clusters
6. Gameplay for Inspiring Digital Adoption (GIRDA)
- GIRDA is using multiplayer touchscreen games to introduce older people to digital technology. The aim is to help them build confidence, motivation and skills in an informal, social setting where there is no pressure to learn.
- Research has shown how trust and confidence in using the internet grow quickly with first-hand experience - but many older people don’t take the first step.
7. Design Principles in Higher Education
- The dimensions of wickedness are prevalent in the problem; and
- Student tasks are challenging and require them to get involved in the problem. This leads to the (experienced) open-endedness of the problem solving process and the need to cross boundaries.
- Ensure alignment between learning goals, coaching, assessment with regard to boundary crossing
- Organize milestones.
8. Is Design Thinking the Right Tool?
- developing technology enablers?
- creating startups?
- easily design products?
9. Cluster & Digital Innovation Hub
An important component within the cluster is the development of working groups such as:
10. Design Thinking & Intrapreneurship
Where to start from?
No, it's not creating ideas...
It is FINDING PROBLEMS.
Combining empathy, creativity, collaboration and prototyping.
11. Entrepreneurship & Innovation
- Entrepreneurs use innovation to drive and achieve change for commercial or socio-economic results
- Innovation underpins the differentiator that allows the entrepreneurs to succeed by utilising their unique skills-set and personality
12. SMEs Innovation & Growth Acceleration
- SMEs represent 99% of all business in the EU
- SMEs are the backbone of the economy and have skills they can leverage
- Start-ups are interesting but risky (96% die before they turn 5 years)
That is why the IXLerator has been designed to take multiple teams in the creation of the
innovation process system and obtaining results in SMEs.
13. Smart Cities & Accelerating Innovation
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6 Reasons to Attend the International Conference 'Digital Skills & Innovation @2030' [Sofia, 11 July 2018]
However, most of us know, have seen or/and have attended the large number of events that have been taking place in Sofia and Bulgaria in the last 6 months because of Bulgaria holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Despite that, we believe that 'Digital Skills & Innovation @2030' will bring value to you and below you can find 6 reasons why you should attend it.
1. Conference programme featuring international panellists
2. Panels with exciting topics to inspire hot discussions
3. Deeper understanding of Design Thinking for Digital Innovation
4. Practical workshop / Competition game on Design Thinking
5. Wine Networking
6. Meet all the project partners/conference organizers for potential future collaboration
The group gathering took place as part of the main project objective of BASET: Boost Aid for Social Entrepreneurship through Training which is to establish and maintain a well-developed and a more effective the process of training the trainers of social entrepreneurs (SE).
For more information on the focus group, please read here
Blog post by our team, innovation contributors, VIP members, blog guests, etc.
Funding For Innovation
Work Based Learning
The Knowledge, Innovation and Strategies Management Club is a non-profit organisation set up in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2012 to foster knowledge and innovation management across South East Europe. KISMC is supporting the development of the innovation ecosystem in the region by bridging the gap between education, research and business.
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