Georgios Kostaras

Digital Innovation for Regional Growth
Digital Innovation for Regional Growth
ICT Innovation Vouchers
Tailoring voucher schemes
to the needs of the region and SMEs
April 29, 2014
George Kostaras
Intermediary Managing Authority
Unit A1 – Programme Planning & Evaluation
Tel.:2313 321717
Ε-mail: [email protected]
Digital Innovation for Regional Growth
Innovation Vouchers
 An OLD (well established) tool
 The term appeared in early 2000
 Gained momentum in Europe after 2005
 Many schemes exist since then
 A NEW challenge…
 Simple and flexible with inherent simplicity
 In line with today’s philosophy – small / effective projects
 Highly suitable for introducing innovation processes
 Therefore requiring a careful preparation
Digital Innovation for Regional Growth
Innovation Vouchers
 Great advantages
 Simplicity / Flexibility
 Clear Rules / Straightforward Procedure
 Short Application Cycle
 Secure liaison with reputable knowledge providers (usually
through pre-approved universities and research centres)
 Introduce innovation process to SMEs (more than 2/3 of the SMEs
using I.V. had never used outside expertise)
 Establish long-lasting links between “triple helix” players (a
great proportion continues thwir cooperation with the academic society)
Digital Innovation for Regional Growth
The Regional Dimension
 Regional needs, priorities and characteristics (as
expressed in the Policy Documents - OPs / RIS3),
influence the scheme
Large Variations in scope and conditions
Schemes vary from Highly Specialized → Too Generic
May target specific types of regional SMEs or encourage
certain field of Research / Innovation
Providers : Shortlisted / Free to choose from
Digital Innovation for Regional Growth
The Region of Central Macedonia
 Strategic Position on the crossroads of trans-european
transport and energy networks
Highly diversified productive model
Dominant primary and secondary sector spearheaded by
agro-food SMEs but also featuring strong players in
manufacturing, textile / clothing. Trade.
Great experience in the tourism business and other
tertiary sector industries (eg logistics)
Long-lasting tradition of academic excellence. Reputable
Universities and prestigious Research Centers that excel
at National and European level
Digital Innovation for Regional Growth
The Region of Central Macedonia
 RIS3 identified two main areas of intervention:
A. The “Champion” sectors:
 Tourism
 Agro-Food
 Textile – Clothing
 Manufacturing Materials
B. The “enabling” technologies
 Logistics
 Energy
 Environment
Digital Innovation for Regional Growth
The Region of Central Macedonia
 Each “champion” sector will be supported to introduce
innovation produced by the four enabling technologies, on
selected areas of their value chain, indicatively:
 Tourism: Content Management - Cloud based apps (DMS / DMO)
 Agro-Food: Field Sensors – Production Line Optimization
 Manufacturing : Future Factory – Industrial ICT – Controllers - OR algorithms
 Textile / Clothing: QC Equipment – Future Internet / Marketing
 ICT is expected to play a key role!
Digital Innovation for Regional Growth
The Challenges (1)
 Tailor the schemes
 Define scope and scale – how much do we spend on what?
 Enforce, influence or allow innovation happen?
 Define recipients: specialize or generalize SME types?
 Deal with the market: Certify (shortlist) providers or not?
 Opt for “Laissez-faire” or patronize?
 Implement the schemes
 Launch Regional and/or National Calls – Define Criteria
 Set up respective Implementing bodies – Cooperation = Essential
 Set up and tune respective monitoring mechanisms
 Optimize the process - Manage complementarities, minimize
duplication of effort, maximize efficiency
Digital Innovation for Regional Growth
The Challenges (2)
 Secure a high added value
 Pay for the contracted service or the result ?
 How do I measure “innovation” ?
 How do I measure soft project efficiency & effectiveness ?
 Can we reward true results?
 Introduce new benchmarks for SMEs
 Secure sustainability
 Keep co-operation alive after the expiry date of the voucher
 Influence participation & motivation and develop ownership
 Secure that innovation becomes an “everyday business”
 Make sure SME is able to use / replicate / disseminate services
Digital Innovation for Regional Growth
The Challenges (3)
 Provide realistic options to regional players
 Provide clear & comprehensive information to all stakeholders
 Engage them in a true and honest “win-win” approach.
 Prudent planning is key – Resources are limited
 Cautious implementation / monitoring is essential
 Bear in mind that we can’t keep everyone happy
 Wishful thinking is rarely productive
 Listen to others - learn from your past
 Change, adapt, innovate!
Digital Innovation for Regional Growth
Thank you for your attention !