Assessing innovation and internationalisation capabilities for clusters and cluster SMEs members.
Romania is a modest innovator and this is to be explained by the low skill-low tech level of the enterprises. The innovation audit aims to support SMEs in raising their innovation level through tailor made support. The innovation audits/business reviews activity aims to assess the potential for innovation and the substantiation of strategic decisions on technology development for companies, as well as providing recommendations on improving key aspects regarding their further development and internationalization. The activity takes place along three phases: The 1st phase consists in carrying out the audit process. The audit consists in a questionnaire with 45 questions in the light of eight innovation vectors: Innovation Culture, Innovation Strategy, Innovation Management, Networking, Development of new processes and products, Research and Development, Access to new markets, Management technology. The 2nd phase consists in the analysis of the questionnaires and the elaboration of audit reports. The reports reflect the current situation of the companies assessed and propose recommendations and tools available for SMEs to improve those aspects considered deficient or having the potential to improve. The 3rd phase consists in scheduling a new round of meetings with the audited organisations in which the results of the audit report and future development are discussed.
The effort is of around 7 expert days per company, costs of 2500 EUR per company in the Romanian case
Evidence of success
3 innovative spin offs have been established as a result of the innovation audits, in the field of renewable energy (2) and smart textiles (1), on following topics, respectively
- development of a home heating system technology embedded in the windows based on solar energy;
- development of a new UPS technology based on residual electromagnetic field
- intelligent textiles for persons with special needs.
General low level of innovation in companies; lack of strategic (long term) thinking in companies requires additional effort in order to translate the results into a concrete action plan; dependence on public funding, companies are reluctant to resort to external expertise on their own expenses
Potential for learning or transfer
The transferability consists both in terms of methodology allowing a good understanding of the innovation potential and gaps in the company and in the process leading to the building up of a certain level of trust between the company and the innovation experts,
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