The international conference "INNOVATION - CREATING THE FUTURE" will present the results of the Action Project for Innovation (APInno) under the EU Programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport - ERASMUS + . The conference will showcase the final results of a two-year project where international partners from the UK, Spain, Italy and Bulgaria had been working on developing an experiential learning methodolgy in the field of innovation management for fostering the partnership between business and universities.
"INNOVATION - CREATING THE FUTURE" will take place on 21 November, 2016 in Inter Expo Center Sofia, Musala Hall, blvd. "Tsarigradsko shose" 147, 1784 Sofia, Bulgaria.
The topic and concept of innovation management is still underexploited in Europe despite the efforts and financial resources provided by the respective framework programmes and financial instruments. Although а common standard is established, the concept of systematic management of innovation is not very widely used in reality. Business leaders agree that the insufficient innovation and entrepreneurial culture is holding back Europe’s economic growth. In this respect innovation management is and will be the necessary tool for businesses to achieve higher competitiveness and better conditions for economic results.
The APInno project aims at fostering business–university collaboration as one of the key factors enhancing the innovation culture in organisations. The project partners followed an innovative approach, developed and tested a new model and methodology for new skills and knowledge development in the field of systematic management of the innovation process. Moreover, a flexible and holistic model for successful partnership between companies and universities has been developed. Its further use and implementation could help organisations be more innovative and successful.
The conference will provide the opportunity for discussion of the future challenges higher education and business organisations face; exchange of good practices and experience, both by business and several academic organisations in Europe. The keynote speakers and panelists have many years of experience of teaching and consulting in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship.
The partners in the project are: Knowledge, Innovation and Strategies Management Club, University of Library Studies and Information Technologies, Anfi Ventures, Tecnalia, JODA Training and Middlesex University.
We advise you to register now to secure your place at the conference.
APInno Reference Number: - 2014-1-BG01-KA203-001561
During 2013-2015 CSI, in cooperation with the Knowledge, Innovation and Strategies Management Club, betahaus Sofia and Sofia Tech Park had been organising the so called Mercury - Jupiter Meetings to bridge the gap between scientists and business people in Bulgaria and help them understand each other’s culture. At those meetings groups of scientists and business people talked about their cultures and discussed ways to bridge the gap between each other.
For the span of those two years the meetings gathered interest from the Bulgarian community and many attended to get involved in the discussions and look for the best ways to reduce the size of the gap between scientists and businessmen.
The Mercury - Jupiter meetings were also attended by guest speakers who would guide the meeting towards a specific topic. The topics of discussions had been related to the experience of the speakers. Below you could see some of the guest speakers during 2013-2015.
On 7 May 2015 an interactive workshop was held at Middlesex University where the draft methodology based on initial research under the Erasmus + Project - Action Project for Innovation (APInno) was presented and discussed. Feedback from delegates was gathered and reflected in the revised methodology and final outcomes. The presentation was followed by a practical workshop where delegates were given the opportunity to experience the proposed learning methodology through real business challenges.
Action Programme for Innovation (APInno) involves partners from across the EU to develop a methodology to facilitate the transfer of innovation skills from Higher Education Institutes (HEI) to business. The project aims to develop an experiential learning programme (at degree and/or masters level) as part of the HE curriculum.
This will integrate the critical fundamentals of business, innovation management, growth, competitive dynamics and market simulation. The planned outcome will be the development of innovative course materials, online tools and a platform enabling idea generation and capture; including team work and analysis at successive stages of the curriculum, through to the final presentations.
Participants from academia and business had the opportunity to network and discuss the draft methodology to date and played interactive games where the entrepreneurs and business delegates had to solve specific challenges.
‘Action Project for Innovation’ (APInno) is an exciting project aiming at fostering the collaboration between businesses and universities by developing an innovative approach and methodology for teaching Innovation Management. APInno is co-funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus + Programme 2014-2020 (the EU Programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport, Key Action 2 - Cooperation for innovation and exchange of good practices) after submitting an application in April 2014 and being successfully approved to work on tackling the future challenges that higher education and business organisations are facing and ways in which innovation management can help mitigate the effects of the rapidly changing world.
The project will be executed in 2015-2016 by a balanced partnership which includes two HEIs (Higher Educational Institutions), two SMEs, a Research Centre and an NGO active in HEI-business collaboration and adult training from four different countries - Bulgaria, Italy, Spain and the UK - KISMC, University of Library Studies and Information Technologies, Anfi Ventures, Tecnalia, JODA Training and Middlesex University.
Innovation + Education
On the one hand, innovation - the ability to reap the rewards of scientific achievements - requires much more than the ability to turn a new idea into a working product. It requires the systematic and holistic approach of innovation management. On the other hand, education is on the dynamic path of change and modernisation where it becomes necessary to embrace new innovative cross-functional and cross-disciplinary approaches, to engage business, external stakeholders, the public, researchers and other third parties.
As most of us are aware, the Europe 2020 strategy, its Flagship Initiatives and the Modernisation Agenda of European universities put knowledge at the heart of the Union’s efforts for achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It is crucial to include practical experience in courses which will help attune curricula to current and emerging labour market needs and foster employability and entrepreneurship (Agenda for the modernisation of Europe's higher education systems, 2011).
The main output of the APInno project, which is entirely focused on developing an Innovation Management methodology and an Innovation Management course, specialised training materials and most importantly a guide for business-academia collaboration, is to contribute to the future approaches of engaging all parties such as academia, businesses, researchers. These will help HEIs and SMEs to develop new practices to systematically manage their potential for innovation and identify the best ways for triggering creativity.
Most importantly, looking at the longterm benefits of this project, SMEs will gain higher awareness of the role Innovation Management plays in shaping their future so they can compete in the business environment by using creative approaches and encouraging innovation via engaging with young people eager to work with businesses. Also, academic institutions and researchers will be able to build models and identify upcoming challenges in the above mentioned field as well as provide ready solutions; the Guide for business-academia collaboration will then be easily replicated along with the APInno experiential model.
KISMC and the other partners in the project will be keeping you posted about the thrilling activities of APInno in the KISMC social media channels as well as on the project website: www.apinno.eu
KISMC organised its own discussion panel during the 12th annual forum "European Day of the Entrepreneur 2014" to promote entrepreneurship in Bulgaria, which takes place within the European SME Week during 16th and October 17th 2014., Inter Expo Center in Sofia.
The panel's title was 'Innovation - a bridge between science and business'. The topics that were covered at the panel were: Open innovation and student internships - an unexpectedly good combination; Corporate entrepreneurship - a catalyst for knowledge and breakthrough innovations; Innovation Management Training.
KISMC is grateful for the active participation of representatives of the Innovation Management Academy; MTM College; Team Europe Junior; Business Club Sofia University; Alumni Association, FEBA, Sofia University as well as the interest from school students representing the Private Secondary School Ivan Apostolov and other organisations curious to learn about the connection between education, science and business and what this means for innovation.
The official ceremony for the final stage of the first Initiative 'APInno - Innovation in Action' of the Innovation Management Academy took place in Radisson Blu Hotel on 16 July 2014. Ognian Zlatev, the head of the European Commission Representation in Bulgaria, opened the ceremony stating how important innovations are to improve the competitiveness of Bulgarian companies and in general the whole of Europe.
For more than a month students from different schools and disciplines were working in the field of innovation. Their training based on practice and experience was part of Bulgaria's first business practice in innovation management "APInno - Innovation in Action". The main purpose of APInno was to upgrade the skills of young people to generate innovative business ideas, encourage creative thinking and to introduce modern techniques to resolve companies' problems. Some of the work phases included generating ideas, analysis and evaluation, development of concepts and business models, etc.
The mentors participating in the project have experience in the field of innovation management, business development and strategic management in Bulgaria and abroad (HIRON Management Consulting, MT&M College, Az Upravlyavam). The APInno approach was based on learning through experience and the students’ interest in learning and practising innovative management had been tested. Also, this project checked the benefits that companies could have when collaborating with universities.
At the closing ceremony Ruslan Papazyan, director of Trelleborg Bulgaria, awarded the students:
1. The Medical Applications team won the prestigious ‘First place’
2. The Electronics team won the prize for ‘Creativity and Presentation’
3. The Sanitary products team won the prize for ‘Comprehensive industry analysis’
All participants in APInno - Innovation in Action received a certificate from the Innovation Management Academy. The certificates were handed by Vesselin Iliev, DG International Economic Relations in the Bulgarian Industrial Association.
After the ceremony all participants enjoyed the delicious taste of Portuguese wine, delivered by Transimport.
The first Innovation Management Academy(IMA) in Bulgaria has launched with the so called project 'APInno - Innovation in Action'. The project aims to build a bridge between educational institutions and businesses and get those that help develop innovation and innovation management at different levels. The main objective of this first initiative of IMA is to introduce the world of innovation and its management to students, professionals and organisations through teamwork, interactive discussions, games and most importantly real cases of innovative companies to be resolved.
In Southeastern Europe it is often talked about innovation, but rarely it is discussed what innovation is and how innovation could be managed. Therefore, IMA which has launched in Bulgaria has the opportunity to introduce new tools and interactive games that help students to acquire knowledge and skills in a real environment and at the same time face the challenges of businesses. The idea behind is that this way of working not only could motivate students to exchange ideas and experiences with colleagues and professionals in the field of innovation and innovation management.
The first initiative of the Innovation Management Academy has started as a strategic partnership between KISMC, Trelleborg Bulgaria and MT&M College. The initiative is a modern way to fill the gap between universities and businesses by providing real life challenges of companies to be resolved by carefully selected students with a variety of backgrounds. All students will get knowledge and skills in the field of innovation and innovation management, team work via interesting games and help from the teams' mentors related to resolving the company's innovation case. All aspects of challenges involved have the purpose of giving a taste of what should be expected of people working in the field of innovation management.
The students of APInno are already generating ideas, working hard and reaching results due to a well structured programme focused on important skills and competences.
On 29 April 2014 KISMC organised a seminar in collaboration with the Electric Vehicle Industrial Cluster (EVIC) on "The SME Instrument - Practical Aspects" with speaker Dimitar Hristov – the Chairman of the Steering Committee of KISMC.
Twenty business representatives - members of the cluster as well as managers and owners of Bulgarian enterprises - took part in the seminar. They were familiarised with the integrated approach of the European Commission for supporting SMEs and the concept for financing innovative projects with the help of the SME Instrument. The seminar was focused on the already open calls, procedures, requirements and conditions for successful applications under the SME Instrument. As most of you know, the SME Instrument is the prime instrument of Horizon 2020 for supporting innovations in SMEs in the current programming period of the EU Financial Framework (2014-2020).
The members of the Enterprise Europe Network will have the principal commitment for initially helping businesses with the realisation of their projects under this Financial Framework. However, consultancies and/or experts in the EU projects’ management will play a major role for the successful preparation of the project proposals of innovative SMEs.
To bridge the gap between scientists and business people in Bulgaria and help them understand each other’s culture, CSI (Richard Smits) in cooperation with betahaus Sofia, KISMC and Sofia Tech Park organise Mercury - Jupiter Meetings. During those meetings business people and scientists explain to each other their culture and way of work and discuss ways to bridge the gap between them.
In the Global Innovation Index, Bulgaria is 41st out of the 142 countries studied: it is one of the lowest in the EU, but better than all of Bulgaria’s neighbours and better than the world average. However, in one aspect, “University/industry research collaboration”, Bulgaria is far worse than the countries it normally compares itself with. It only scores 114th, 12 places below Burkina Faso! This means that a lot can be gained if we can improve on this aspect.
In 1992, the American author John Gray published the book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, where he explained the differences between men and women as cultural differences and concluded that they “seem to be from different planets”. The same may be said of scientists and business people.
The Knowledge, Innovation and Strategies Management Club in collaboration with b2b Media organise an international conference dedicated to industry and innovation. This initiative is supported by Deloitte Bulgaria who are our main sponsor. The event will bring top managers of leading companies, international experts, ambassadors and representatives from academia. The annual conference which will take place on 28 November 2013 in Novotel Sofia has invited representatives of the European Commission, professionals, experts and academics in the field of innovation, innovation management and financing from Germany, Poland, the UK, Netherlands and Italy.
The fourth edition of the Innovation Forum will be held under the motto "Management of Innovation Policies and Strategies" and will focus on innovative projects in Bulgaria in different areas as well as economic perspectives and realities of the new generation. Participants will be familiarised with the policies and best practices for the development and support of innovative activities. The goal of the conference is to present specific approaches and tools to improve the competitiveness of Bulgarian companies (mainly SMEs) through innovation management as well as case studies from Europe and North America. The event will extend the framework to address economic challenges and discuss opportunities to build a new environment for business development.
Successful models, policies, tools and best practices for innovation support and management will be presented and discussed at both national and company level. Useful conclusions and recommendations for improvement and support of the innovation activity in Bulgaria will be drawn.
Blog post by our team, innovation contributors, VIP members, blog guests, etc.
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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