On 17 October 2017 our Project partner from Latvia - Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) organized a stakeholder meeting and dissemination event “Design + Innovation”.
Firstly, the project stakeholders from Latvia came together to replicate a workshop “Mapping Operational Programmes” which took place during the partnership meeting in Greece. The participants analysed the Latvian ERDF Operational Programme ”Growth and employment”. They identified support programmes where design-driven innovation could be integrated, defined actions to achieve this goal and pointed out potential challenges and opportunities along the way. All this information will be summarized and shared with all interested parties.
Following the stakeholder group meeting, a dissemination event “Design + Innovation” took a place. About 70 interested professionals - entrepreneurs, early-stage business idea owners, designers, academics and scientists, joined the event to hear about the project, value of design thinking in business and business support offer in Latvia.
First, our colleague Aleksejs Korņevs from LIAA gave overall presentation about “Design for Innovation” project. It was a great opportunity to engage with a wider audience and inform about the Project and the objectives to be achieved. First presentation followed by Rūdolfs Strēlis from the Ministry of Economics, who spoke about design thinking and how this approach can be used in business. Rūdolfs shared his experience and practical examples from New-York where he got Master’s degree in design management in Pratt Institute. There were also three presentations on support programmes provided by LIAA, which can be used to implement design-driven innovation in SMEs.
Agnese Menģele who also is our D4I colleague from LIAA gave presentation on support program for SME’s called “Innovation vouchers”. This support program was established to encourage cooperation between research and industry to develop new products and technologies. Design-driven innovation already is integrated in this support programme – companies can use this Innovation vouchers for development of the industrial design of the product.
Ņikita Kazakevičs who is the head of the Jelgava business incubator had presentation on approach that is used in business incubators when they work with aspiring entrepreneurs. He explained that design thinking and customer development approach is routine when we are talking about product or service development in LIAA incubators, especially in Jelgava business incubator.
The last one was Ilga Maļina. She explained how SMEs in cooperation with research organizations can develop their products or services and business in general and how technology scouts can help them in this cooperation process.
The event concluded with a time for discussions and networking between all participators of the event. It was great to see the interest of entrepreneurs who afterwards came to representatives of support programmes and asked questions about possible actions to have support and develop products.