INNO PROVEMENT took part in the successful peer review event in the subject of “Shaping the Hessen Digital Transformation Support Landscape” and shared some of the main results of the project.

The peer review meeting was originally scheduled for March 2020 but due to pandemic the event was postponed and held online on 17-18 March 2021. The event was prepared and organised by the Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform. The host of the meeting was the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Energy, Transport and Housing – State of Hessen. The peers were invited from Estonia, Spain, Belgium, Ireland and Hungary. On behalf of INNO PROVEMENT, Peter Keller, Head of Department, Managing Authority of Economic Development Programmes, Ministry of Finance, Hungary and Zoltan Bendo, external expert in the INNO PROVEMENT partnership took part.

The meeting was preceded by thorough preparations among which peers received the background paper on the digital transformation support programmes that the State of Hessen manages. During two days of intense knowledge exchange peers brought good practices from their experience and made proposals how the Hessen support programmes could be improved.

Some of the main messages of the INNO PROVEMENT project were shared during the meeting. Among these we mentioned that

• Awareness raising is still an important task since only minor share of SMEs have already fully implemented Industry 4.0 strategy

• Company size DOES matter when talking about preparedness and knowledge of Industry 4.0 but also about opportunities Industry 4.0 can bring. The larger a company is the higher relevance Industry 4.0 may have.

• Lack of skilled workforce at SMEs is clearly a problem and training of staff is highly important

• Companies require public assistance for the introduction of Industry 4.0 solutions, however there is no clear direction on the preferred ways of assistance.

• And most importantly: Industry 4.0 is not the goal but a tool for increased competitiveness and so companies first have to have a clear picture of their business model and see how Industry 4.0 can contribute to that.

From the experience of Ministry of Finance the complex SME development path approach was shared that is used in two key projects that focus on Industry 4.0 (Modern Model Factories) and high growth companies (Hungarian Multi Programme).

The meeting has brought interesting discussions. As conclusion, peers confirmed that the State of Hessen has a broad set of support programmes covering various segments and target groups. The stakeholder involvement is strong and active. Still, there is room for further development: new and innovative awareness raising methods are needed like the Night of Industry 4.0 event from Hungary. Furthermore, policies need to be pro-active and need to offer customised solutions to SMEs.