The Office for innovation (O4i) is a support tool to promote an effective connection between knowledge generating bodies and the business fabric of the region.
The O4i is a tool to broker the development of the region by addressing its main challenges related to innovation in a novel way. It is focused on the active exchange of knowledge among businesses, science and technological community, civil society and public administration, with the aim of meeting regional enterprises’ needs through an optimal uptake of the resources and capabilities of the regional Science, Technology and Innovation System (SECTI).
It offers a new approach to the transformation of the regional productive model by using innovation and continuous improvement, competitive intelligence and adaptability to change as key factors. It is an innovative tool in the way it addresses the relation among regional agents, giving special attention to the effective connection between the business fabric and Universities and Research and Technological Centres, as main actors in generating knowledge through their R&D activities.
It means a change of paradigm from the traditional Office for Technology Transfer (OTT) to a new OTT inverse model, this is, an interactive innovation model where the exchange of knowledge plays a key role starting from the R&D needs of the business fabric, searching for solutions within the scientific and technological offer of the SECTI, bridging the gaps and promoting collaboration.
Being managed by FUNDECYT-PCTEX enables the O4i to reach the companies and other actors of the SECTI, overcoming the particular difficulties of reaching rural areas.
The O4i counts on the staff and facilities of FUNDECYT-PCTEX, which has offices in different places across the region and staff in the Extremadura Office in Brussels. The annual budget for its activity is around €670,000, of which nearly 70% are staff costs.
Evidence of success
In Phase I “Massive screening (2015-2017)”, focused on mapping the regional challenges and reaching as many companies as possible to broker an innovation culture in the regional business fabric and new relation schemas between R&D centres and SMEs, the results are: 595 beneficiaries of consulting services; 63 visits to research groups; 27 events with 1,614 beneficiaries; 149 companies collaborating with regional research centres; 19 technology and science based business projects supported.
The main difficulties encountered are:
-To tackle the differences among entrepreneurial and knowledge sectors in terms of mindset, goals, approach, etc.
-To face the lack of confidence and initial reluctance of some regional entrepreneurs/companies to collaborate with knowledge generating bodies
Potential for learning or transfer
The model can be transferred to regions with low industrialization rate and prevalence of SMEs; intermediary agents like a Science and Technology Park or Regional Development/Innovation Agency; the support of regional authorities to develop an integral tool for the whole innovation system
Some key aspects to make the model work effectively:
-The Regional Government strong support
-The implementation through FUNDECYT-PCTEX, an intermediary body in the SECTI and a key connector in a quadruple helix structure
-FUNDECYT-PCTEX designed the RIS3 of Extremadura, which brought about a deep knowledge of the region´s scientific/technological domains
-FUNDECYT-PCTEX, as a Science and Technology Park, hosts many innovative companies and works across the region, reaching rural areas
-FUNDECYT-PCTEX´s regular activities providing companies with advanced services, spreading information on R&D funding opportunities, the EEN services... reinforce the O4i and broaden the chances for collaborations
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