Ensure effective, coordinated and professional ecosystem management helps to adjust the logic of actions done by support structures to the needs of businesses.
The complexity of the innovation support ecosystem is very difficult for SMEs to understand, induces a global lack of visibility of the intermediaries action and the support they offer. Innovation intermediaries need skills to provide high-quality advice to issue companies with a diagnosis of innovation potential and assistance in the innovation process. One of the main issues of the management of the regional intermediaries was to provide the ecosystem with an effective governance.
- Formalization by an agreement between the network management team and each intermediary member .
- Involvement of the highest managers of the organizations which employ the intermediaries (through the agreement).
- Creation of a network spirit shared among the intermediaries
- Coordination of the intermediaries at regional and local level.
- Nomination of a responsible for the network (Dev'up agency).
Secondly, we put in place actions from the economic development support ecosystem towards the companies to help them to choose the right tool for their specific situation.
- Mapping of the services provided by the intermediaries.
- Visibility to the intermediaries action through a digital portal Thirdly we implemented measures to allow intermediaries to provide highest quality added value services that meet entrepreneurs expectations.
- Design of tools to simplify the tasks of the network members - Design and providing the training for the members.
The creation of the network and is coordination involved 4 people. The development of tools needs some financial and human resources: 2 web developers (in Dev’up). The organisation of training session mobilised external expertise, which represents an annual budget of roughly 30.000 €.
Evidence of success
It could be translated in terms of benefits: better visibility of intermediaries ‘offer; capacity building of their team; SMEs’ needs really taken into account; added value supports received; increased effectiveness of the funds dedicated to regional economic development policy.
To prove success we can retain 2 indicators:
‐ events organised by the Economic Developer university (32 events for 749 attendees in 2017)
‐ companies met by the network (1012 in 2017 and 6634 since 2010)
The principal factor that hampered the implementation of this good practice was the heterogeneous profile of the structure members of the network. To address this issue, we worked through a training program about the basic knowledge of innovation, the project management.
Potential for learning or transfer
This approach has a positive impact not only on the public services organization but also how is perceived the public intervention by the regional companies for example. The transferability of this good practices is totally linked with a local politic decision and a global involvement of the stakeholders in the policy implementation in the region. Beyond the methodology explained above, these following criteria seem necessary to put in place an intermediary management: • Trustability to build consensus among stakeholders • Legitimacy of the coordinator and of the approach • Efficient tools • Incentives • Recognition • Outputs (monitoring/ assessment) • Capacity building (of the innovation support ecosystem).
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