The Peer-BIT (Peer learning in business innovation tools for SMEs) project, which is funded through European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, runs between October 2015 and September 2016. Besides JIC, the consortium consist of the Lithuanian Innovation Centre (LIC) based in Vilnius, Lithuania and the Upper Austria Business Agency (TMG) based in Linz, Austria. JIC is the leader of this consortium.
Peer-BIT aims at increasing the quality of innovation support services provided by European Innovation Centres to SMEs in the area of innovation management. In line with the trend towards individualization of SME support services, in its planning stages, the project looked at tools that are easy to use, yet flexible and ready to be customized to the specific needs of an SME. One of such set of tools is the smE-MPOWER methodology, already used as the basis for JIC’s Platinn programme. SmE-MPOWER represents a state-of-the-art approach and consists of number of tools that are used in the process of coaching SMEs towards business innovation. The main objective of the project is to increase efficiency of smE-MPOWER implementation through peer learning among the project partners, their coaches and experts. As a result Peer-BIT will increase the quality of existing services run by JIC and LIC and will facilitate uptake of the methodology by TMG and other agencies. The know-how in implementing smE-MPOWER tools that will be built in the course of the project will be then published in a step-by-step guide to designing an smE-MPOWER-based innovation support programme. Peer-BIT will, therefore, greatly contribute to the improvement of the Platinn service currently provided by JIC to our SMEs. And overall contribute to an effort of improving, or setting up of new SME innovation management support services throughout the EU.
smE-MPOWER methodology in a nutshell
smE-MPOWER is a comprehensive approach to coaching SMEs towards business innovation. It empowers SMEs to develop and pursue their innovation strategies over long-term by putting them into the driver’s seat of their business by providing them with tools for making more solid and structured decisions about their future.
Through business innovation a business creates significant new value not only for its customers but also for itself. It takes place by way of any creative change of one or more of the four dimensions, or vectors, of the business system: offering, process, distribution, customer.
Innovating offering means developing innovative new products or services, using common components or building blocks to create derivative offerings (platform innovation) or creating integrated and customized offerings that solve end-to-end customer problems (innovative solution).
Innovating processes is about redesigning core operating processes to improve efficiency and effectiveness (process redesign), changing form, function or activity scope of the firm (organization and resources innovation) or thinking differently about sourcing and fulfilment (supply chain innovation).
Distribution innovation covers creating new distribution channels or innovative points of presence, including the places where offerings can be bought or used by customers, creating network-centric intelligent and integrated offerings (network innovation) and leveraging a brand into new domains (brand innovation).
Innovation in the customers’ dimension is about creating new distribution channels or innovative points of presence, including the places where offerings can be bought or used by customers; creating network-centric intelligent and integrated offerings and leveraging a brand into new domains.
The set of smE-MPOWER tools are all based on a common structured approach to analyzing and improving these four vectors of business innovation. Almost twenty tools have been developed so far that serve different stages and aspects of SME coaching – from first need analysis, through market segmentation, to complex consortia building tools for partnering projects of SMEs. All smE-MPOWER methods, tools and knowledge are made available under a “Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike” public license to assure its transferability and empowerment of SMEs.