The Competence Map is a systematic approach to identify significant innovation potentials of SMEs and to sharpen their innovation strategy.
Regional experiences have shown that many companies define and present themselves in an exclusive product-oriented way instead of having more focus on the demonstration of own skills and resources with the aim to find new solutions and to create added value for their customers.
The Competence Map is a systematic approach to identify significant innovation potentials of SMEs and to sharpen their innovation strategy. Internal and individual 6 up to 9 days workshops (depends on the range of F&E topics) with a qualified consultant are organised for regional companies to learn how to identify and develop the own competences by changing the point of view of the own business strategy. Such a workshop includes also recovery, analysis and evaluation of relevant data. With a clearer understanding of their own competences, trained companies can open new markets (niches) more easily.
The more companies and R&D+I organisations are mapped with the tool the better the overview over regional R&D+I competences is. An online platform as part of the Competence Mapping Tool supports SMEs in their search for cross-sector and interdisciplinary collaboration partners among regional companies and R&D Organisations in order to develop new products or business models.
With this overview, the "Competence Map" facilitates also the identification of significant strategic R&D+I fields for cluster and Technopol activities as substantial part of Lower Austria’s R&D+I policy.

Resources needed

The estimated costs for applying this GP is depending on the number of companies are taking part of the process. You have to calculate costs for the analyzing process with a qualified consulting company with 6 up to 9 days per participating company and the costs for creating an
online platform.

Evidence of success

The Competence Mapping Tool was tested first in 2011 with 10 companies of the Mechatronic Cluster. All participants have positively commented on the benefit ratio, though the time spent was significant. Self-assessment and the workshop helped companies to clarify the understanding of their competencies and to broaden their view on their markets. The Competence Map has been rolled out to further companies and R&D institutions. Up to now 90 competence maps exists.

Difficulties encountered

The big challenge is to combine the different skills and establishing contact between the companies. A good R&D network, workshops or meetings between the Competence mapping partners would improve additional the innovation process.update company-information every 3-5 years.

Potential for learning or transfer

For the success of the Competence Mapping Tool, it is essential that professional managers and professional consultants are involved having the specific know-how of project enforcement. Then it is easier to gain the acceptance of companies to join the mapping process and to accept the external consulting service. A critical mass of companies and institutions for the mapping tool is crucial in order to increase the likelihood of matching collaboration partners and to identify strategic R&D or economic fields for the region. Usually Competence Map members need to invest considerable time in the mapping before they can get their return of investment in form of collaboration opportunities while they have the benefit of learning new ways to identify and deal with own competences directly after the workshop.
The Competence Mapping Tool can be easily adopted by any region or by any intermediary who is interested in. (for example by IDM South Tyrol (Italy)).

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Main institution
The Business Agency of Lower Austria
Niederösterreich, Austria (Österreich)
Start Date
January 2011
End Date


Karin Herzog Please login to contact the author.

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