Digital Innovation Hub is an instrument aimed at supporting SMEs in transitioning towards a new production model: Industry 4.0
SMEs are the backbone of Europe economy (90% of all businesses in Europe), nevertheless, they are slow at integrating technological solutions due to lack of resources, time and knowledge (only 1 out of 5 SMEs are highly digitized), which is particularly true for CCIs.

The Digital Innovation Hub is a new dynamic model for companies: it fosters innovation and economic development thanks to the direct involvement of key players of the territory (universities, research centres, clusters etc); it supports the successful implementation of S3s by encouraging the application of Industry 4.0 to all the industrial sectors identified by each regions (in its RIS3, the Emilia-Romagna region has included, among other sectors, the Cultural and creative Industries sector).

CNA - National Confederation of Crafts and SMEs - through its CNA HUB 4.0, coordinates a network of 10 DIHs, an initiative promoted by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development.
The hubs accompany enterprises in transitioning to a new production model (Industry 4.0.) by estimating their digital maturity, by enhancing their skills on KETs, by fostering experimental projects.
These is achieved through a series of initiatives:
- a check-up tool and a report assessing SMEs technological maturity;
- a set of customized actions for each company, conceived to develop methodologies/activities/services and increase competitiveness through KETs;
- organization of conferences, seminars, focus groups
- exchange of BPs

Resources needed

-€ 30.000,00 to create the digital maturity check-up tool;
- € 2.000 for each dissemination initiative (seminars, conferences);
- €5000,00 for trainings on new methodologies, services;
- HR: 1 part-time employee for each DIH

Evidence of success

Through the digital maturity tool, CNA DIHs analyse more than 250 regional companies per year. Many of these SMEs accessed the set of services connected to the needs analysed and introduced at least one new Industry 4.0 KET.
Moreover CNA Emilia-Romagna is the LP of a 4STEPS EU project, which is inspired by DIHs: demonstrating that it is solid initiative tackling relevant issues faced by the industrial system.

Potential for learning or transfer

The DIH is an initiative started in the framework of Industry 4.0 National Plan (Italian Ministry of Economic Development) which aims at implementing the guidelines of the EU in “Digitizing European Industry - Reaping the full benefits of a Digital Single Market” which foresees the development of a European network of Digital Innovation Hubs to foster SMEs competitiveness.
The initiative is replicable because it can already count on a network of several associations and institutions supporting this action. Moreover DIH can adapt to the specificities of each region and its S3: indeed the model works as a box (made up of services, training, network, consultancy) which can be filled with different “contents” depending on the technology needs and readiness of SMEs in that specific territory.

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Main institution
CNA Emilia-Romagna
Emilia-Romagna, Italy (Italia)
Start Date
January 2016
End Date


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