Title Innovation and Knowledge European Management's Agents
Project Number 2010-1-ES1-LE005-21047
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Do you consider innovation in SMEs as a compulsory need?
Do you think that micro and small enterprises have not enough budget to keep their own innovation department?
Do you believe human resources have became a very important intangible active that SMEs should take into account?
Do you believe women have also a lot to say in innovation and new technologies sector?
Can you imagine a more competitive business sector in Europe?
Can you imagine a smaller rate of unemployment for women?
Do you want to know what we are doing in all these areas?
THIS IS YOUR PROJECT!
The main aim of the project was the adaptation and transference of the profile "Innovation Agent" through the development of innovative eLearning contents with 2 direct objectives: to convert the profile in a multimedia training tool for trainers to export good results achieved in the previous project (an earlier pilot project called “Innovation Managers” focused in women labour insertion and innovation in SMEs) and, to foster innovation in the organizations as the main tool to facilitate sustainability, LLL and adaptation to nowadays changes at the European level, which is a priority in Europe as it is written in Lisbon Strategy.
Through the project we adapted the profile and analysed the suitability of the supporting tool named Learning Organizations to be used as a multimedia/multilingual tool for the profile, aiming to facilitate its wider dissemination and exploitation. The tool has been tested by a group of female trainees (which are highly underrepresented in the innovation sector and in the labour market) -and validated according to the testing procedure scheduled for the project, in which final users, experts and PYMEs participated- also in order to be transferred afterwards through the different European networks in which partners are involved. This testing stage was defined to choose women representing different sectors in each partner country to test the pilot training in all sectors and to foster exchange and networking between private sector, public sector and universities; being supported by an European social platform 2.0 to facilitate the aforementioned exchange among the participants at the European level.
Target: Women, in priority, coming from different sectors: they have been the target of the pilot training and testing, but also the public/private organizations and Universities were a crucial target group, as the profile and the multimedia tools have been defined to encourage innovation in 5 strategic areas for the business sector: New Technologies and Communication, Strategic Management, People Management, Knowledge Management and Corporate Social Responsibility. The first 4 measured the available level of innovation at enterprises, whereas the 5th area was designed to measure the relationship of companies with the territory where they are set, thinking on the effects of their economic activity on the environment. The creation of a powerful and efficient multi-stakeholder network was also boosted to make the project sustainable.
MAIN TRANSFERRED PRODUCT
Professional Training Profiled “Innovation Agent”
The project idea arises, on the year 2001, in response to the gap and detected needs in the labour market environment of our region (Cantabria, Spain), mainly related to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) which almost represent a 95% of the total number of enterprises.
The identified needs, as a result of the previous studies and projects, responded not only to the own characteristics of the Cantabria region, but they seemed to be a generalised “common ailment” throughout the European territory:
- SMEs, in general, do not have enough financial resources nor qualified personnel to create and maintain a specific R+D+i department which, in some way, would be in charge of the offer of guidance and assessment regarding the inclusion of technological innovations on enterprises especially conceived for the development of their activity and to train staff in acquired innovations with the aim of maximizing the performance that can be achieved through them;
- The female unemployment rate continues being higher than male unemployment, especially in sectors such as the new technologies one, where the gap between both rates is still higher.
Starting from these two premises –and the demonstrated fact that innovation is not only a challenge that can be limited to be up to date in new technologies, but it has to be conceived as a process that covers both the enterprise culture and the mindsets of the staff and the boarding members, accompanied by a continuous recycling due to the speed of change and updating that prevails in this medium–, the idea was materialised in the search for a new professional profile entitled “Innovation Agent” which allowed alleviating the lacks in technical guidance and training of SMEs at an affordable cost, with the aim of improving the functioning of acquired or to acquire technological innovations in the enterprises. With the present profile and its transference we expected to give a turn to the I (putting I at the same level as the knowledge and exchange and not only to New Technologies, as European Union recommends) and promote women participation in this sector in which they are under-represented, favouring also the placement of women with particular degrees that the market could not absorb by supply excess, and they finally end holding positions under her qualification (e.g. administration and management).
The biggest challenge that organizations have to face is the increase of efficiency, based on knowledge and on the management of intangible assets as the relevant element in the generation of value in enterprises.
We deduced that enterprises are constantly obtaining data, both human and material data; those data. Their efficient collection supposes the adequate management of information, which sorted and classified allows achieving knowledge. An adequate management of such knowledge joint to the management of Intellectual Capital eases the transformation from traditional enterprises into Responsible Enterprises, addressed towards continuous Innovation and improvement of the competitiveness. In other words, Innovation Agents contribute their knowledge to benefit a responsible, intelligent, innovative set of enterprises which uses learning and intellectual capital as sources for value creation.
Derived from this chain of processes and factors that the “Innovation Agent” has to activate in order to generate value in organizations; a profile was designed around 5 big knowledge areas:
- Strategic Management,
- People Management,
- Knowledge Management,
- Corporate Social Responsibility,
- New Information and Communication Technologies.
This training profile has been updated and tested as a blended learning path by a minimum of 10 women in the different partner countries of the project.
1- Give value and run a new training profile with verified results in its previous testing stage which helps to:
a. Promote woman (targeted public of the project) incorporation in the I area, in which it is underrepresented (I.O.) (SpObj-a)
b. Facilitate labour market insertion of particular profiles whose graduate’s supply is higher than market’s demand completing their training with a defined profile. (TraInno-4)
c. Favour “Innovation Managers” European profile transference to the partner countries and then, once created the training and social community 2.0 tools, favour the direct operation in other European countries. (OpObj-3 y 6)
2- Help to reduce individual investing innovation costs in the European SMEs (mainly small enterprises) facilitating in this way that knowledge Europe and SME competitiveness considering innovation managers formed will work in an external way reducing the cost of create and maintain a specific department.
3- Promote contact and exchange between enterprises and universities, transferring theoretical developments to the business sphere, through the work made by the managers as bridges between both actors and the two national nets expected to create (organizations net and managers mutually supported through the scheduled virtual community) (OpObj-2)
• Current situation analysis per country and actualization/ adaptation of the “Innovation Manager” project
• Adaptation and update of training contents from each profile modules.
• Profile validation through experts and different countries organizations (national net to create which include think tanks, university, business, public administration) that enable sensitization about the importance of long life learning and innovating and about the net work.
• Profile and contents translation and creation of a training multimedia tool translated into the partners’ languages, supported by a 2.0 social community of sharing and LLL promotion.
• Tools testing with the targeted public in the different countries involved.
• Evaluation and validation of the created tools.
The curricula contents of the profile were defined and tested in Spain during the implementation of the previous pilot project “Innovation Agent” with successful results. Through this proposal we have essayed the transference of that curricula and the methodology by converting these materials into a multimedia training tool.
There was a first stage of the project focused into knowing in deep the curricula and its content, in order to later adapt this curriculum to the context and reality of partnership countries. These curricular materials were translated to all partners’ language.
After that first period, we all worked in the conversion of the profile in a multimedia training tool (in English). Each partner headed the updating and adaptation of one of the modules.
- Strategic Management –
- People Management –
- Knowledge Management –
- Corporate Social Responsibility –
- New Information and Communication Technologies –
Testing period: partners tested the profile in their countries by means of a pilot training course with 15-20 trainees
Evaluation, validation and translation of the blended learning CD tool to all countries’ languages.
Parallel activities to previous ones
At the same time, and in parallel, each partner will work in the creation of a regional network in their own country to involve social agents, enterprises and public administrations in the validation of the profile and sensitizing them on the importance of innovation for increasing competitiveness in the territory.
Open and distance learning
Utilization and distribution of results
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
Administrative and Support Service Activities
open and distance learning
program or curricula
description of new occupation profiles
DEVELOPED PRODUCTS WITHIN THE PROJECT:
Innovation Agent competences profile; updated and adapted, in all partners’ languages
Curricular itinerary of the “innovation manager” profile updated and adapted, to all partners’ languages
Country-research on innovation and NT in SMEs, in each partners’ country
Transfer analysis of the “learning organizations” tool from the Dutch partner as base-tool for the profile first module and the work to develop later in the enterprise by the managers.
First Beta blended learning tool for training for the new profile: innovation manager
Reference documentation in different areas included in the profile
Guidelines and operational handbook for both tutors and students that would use the training tool
National / European multi-agent network or organizations and experts, meetings and 2 workshops.
European testing of the defined profile and the beta tool of blended learning created for its later modification and validation.
Testing and training with a minimum group of 15 people (priority women) by a representing country of each sector/targeted public as “Innovation managers” (INMAs)
Reports with recommendations for each module to evaluate / validate contents of the new profile
European Multiagent network formed by 5 national Multiagent networks.
Final Blended learning European course (face to face – distance, on line) and training tool “innovation manager”
Virtual digital community of innovation managers European-wide
Project presentation leaflets
Tool presentation leaflets and pilot-testing action
Dissemination website of the project
3 digital newsletters with information about the project and its development
1 national seminar in each partner country
1 European final seminar
“Project evaluation methodological guide”