THINGS+ - Introducing service innovation into product-based manufacturing companies
The THINGS+ project, funded by the Interreg Central Europe programme, aims at strengthening SMEs entrepreneurs’ skills on service innovation management. By enriching their portfolios with additional services, SMEs could increase the value delivered to their customers and improve their position on the market.
As a matter of fact, Central Europe industries, in particular SMEs, are still mainly focused on manufacturing of products. Despite the investments in innovation technologies, their competitiveness is seriously challenged due to the commoditization and low cost competition from non-EU countries.
The strict division of products and services has been replaced by a service-product continuum and service innovation may constitute a factor impacting directly and positively on regional economic growth and societal well-being, in particular in areas with below-average economic performances.
The main output of the project is a new methodology to improve entrepreneurs’ skills on introducing service innovation into manufacturing companies. By introducing servitization of products through an adequate human capital investment, the traditionally product-based firms will cope with changing market forces and shrinking markets, and may act as regional innovation motors with no need of high investments.
The process of “servitization” of industries is a trend in the most developed EU regions and can be accelerated in the CE thanks to the capacity building actions foreseen by THINGS+. The transnational approach will help regions understanding the potential impact of service innovation as a driver for industrial transformation and competitiveness and tailoring regional service innovation-related policies to be integrated into mainstream innovation policies.
· Friuli Innovazione Research and Technology Transfer Centre, Italy (lead partner)
· Science and Technology Park of University of Rijeka, Croatia
· Bautzen Innovation Centre, Germany
· Technology Park Ljubljana, Slovenia
· BizGarden, Czech Republic
· Slovak Business Agency, Slovakia
· Lodzkie Region, Poland
· Veneto Region, Italy
· Innovation & Technology Transfer Salzburg, Austria
· Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County Development Agency, Hungary
· WP T1 - Service Innovation Methodology (SIM) transnational design: creation of coherent, robust and operational methodology for the improvement of entrepreneurs’ skills on the development of product-based services.
· WP T2 - Specialization in CE Knowledge-Intensive Business Services (KIBS): the objective is to train KIBS’ staff about the Service Innovation Learning System and let them introduce it to SMEs entrepreneurs a/o employees during the training users workshops at local level.
· WP T3 - Take-up of innovative services in the CE manufacturing industry: the entrepreneurs previously trained will be supported in their SIM testing application during Pilot Actions, with the aim of reviewing and improving the SIM application tools.
· WP T4 - Recommendations for a CE Service Innovation Inclusive Policy: a coherent and comprehensive set of recommendations to approach a CE Service Innovation inclusive policy frame will be developed.
Project duration: June 2017 - May 2020
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