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Aims and Objectives

Vocational training centres and, in general, most small and medium-sized companies do not have tools or systems that enable them to manage innovation effectively. Their management systems are geared more towards tackling the tasks that represent their day-to-day work rather than creating time and resources for forward planning to enable them to work on innovative projects.

Responding to this widely recognised systemic deficit, the headline aim of the Rainova project is to encourage the development of innovation systems for the regions represented by the project partners.

Sponsored by the European Commission, the Rainova project has the ambition to generate at least the following innovative outcomes:

    • Establishing interlinked Regional Innovation Networks, bringing together key European actors involved in innovation and knowledge transfer in order to meet the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy.
    • Creating an Innovation Management Model, providing both a climate and culture for effective transfer of knowledge.
    • Initiating Innovation Observatories, providing the necessary support for the members both to promote new innovations and benefit from them, as well as a management process for developing and exploiting the results of innovation projects, which will help to bring about more flexible, demand-led VET systems.

Vocational training centres and, in general, most small and medium-sized companies do not have tools or systems that enable them to manage innovation effectively. Their management systems are geared more towards tackling the tasks that represent their day-to-day work rather than creating time and resources for forward planning to enable them to work on innovative projects.

Responding to this widely recognised systemic deficit, the headline aim of the Rainova project is to encourage the development of innovation systems for the regions represented by the project partners.

Sponsored by the European Commission, the Rainova project has the ambition to generate at least the following innovative outcomes:

      • Establishing interlinked Regional Innovation Networks, bringing together key European actors involved in innovation and knowledge transfer in order to meet the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy.
      • Creating an Innovation Management Model, providing both a climate and culture for effective transfer of knowledge.
      • Initiating Innovation Observatories, providing the necessary support for the members both to promote new innovations and benefit from them, as well as a management process for developing and exploiting the results of innovation projects, which will help to bring about more flexible, demand-led VET systems.

 

Outputs: targets and status

1. To research the current situation in each of the partner regions regarding existing innovation systems and strategies

 

Final status: At the beginning of the Rainova project, the partners in the consortium believed there was a need to develop innovation policies and systems in our regions not only to support existing innovation practices but also to promote the emergence of new innovations and transfer them quickly and efficiently into VET institutions and small and medium-sized companies (SMEs).

In this context, we considered it necessary to research the position in each of the regions. We also thought that by sharing the experience we could shed light on the comparative strengths and weaknesses of any existing strategies currently in place.

We thought this would provide a benchmark to develop an Innovation Management Model (IMM) and also to create a culture of knowledge and innovation via Regional Innovation Networks, bringing together the key stakeholders and policy makers who are in a position to implement or take advantage of any innovations. This would also provide the basis for the development of innovation policies in the field of vocational education and training (VET).

The report appendices listed below can be accessed through the Rainova VCP platform (rainova.euproject.org). Registration to the platform is available from the welcome page. The appendices are stored in the Rainova File Library. Choose Work Packages, then WP07 Research.

  • Appendix 1: Templates for individual and group interviews
  • Appendix 2: Individual interviews: summary
  • Appendix 3: Group interviews: summary
  • Appendix 4: Regional innovation in the Rainova partner regions
  • Appendix 5: Case studies
  • Appendix 6: Research by the Rainova partners

 The Rainova Research Report can be accessed via this link.

 

2. To design an Innovation Management Model (IMM)

 

Final status: The Rainova Innovation Management Model is an interactive graphical .pdf. It is organised into three main areas:

  • The Standard Model: a general framework, comprising four distinct parts (routines, enablers, cultural factors and a shared vision of innovation) in which all these elements are identified and described.
  • The Bridge: a set of tools for diagnosis, reflection, measurement and learning, which enable your organization to move from the Standard Model to your own model of inovation: ‘My Model’.
  • My Model: the result of implementing the Standard Model within your organisation. It is natural that there will be as many interpretations of the Standard Model as there are organisations. Any type of organisation can build their own specially tailored innovation model - ‘My Model’ - by starting with an understanding of the Standard Model (the descriptive part of the model). Next use ‘The Bridge’ (the practical part of the model) to examine, measure and learn about how the Standard Model can be applied to your organisation, at the same time selecting some of the available tools and recommendations. ‘My Model’ is the final outcome of this process.

The Rainova IMM Application Guide contains an easy-to-follow explanation of the model and details the methodology of the Innovation Management Model and how the model can be implemented.

The Rainova IMM handbook (link to follow soon) will supplement the Application Guide, with further information, some explanatory videos concerning the cultural factors, and an online course on the model.

The Rainova Regional Innovation Observatory is a new regional observatory clearly focused on serving three target audiences with common overlapping interests in the area of innovation: European SMEs, VET training providers, and regional governments and agencies. For these three closely linked groups, the Observatory provides an essential specialised service, addressing needs not adequately served by existing more broadly based observatories.

The prototype Rainova Innovation Observatory was launched on this website (rainova-project.eu) in May 2014. Return to the home page to access it via the Regional Innovation Observatories pane. Click here for the Rainova Regional Innovation Observatory user guide.

 

3. To draw up Action Plans for implementing the IMM in the partner regions

 

Final status: Work Package 9 envisaged Action Plans to promote the implementation of Regional Innovation Networks and, at the same time, serve as a first test or cycle for some of the elements of the Innovation Management Model designed in Work Package 8.

In order to design these Action Plans we first needed to consider the earlier findings of the Rainova Research Report. Then the elements and methodologies presented in Work Package 8 ­– the Innovation Management Model – had to be taken into account.

The Action Plans also needed to be useful for designing methodologies for identifying different levels of implementation in innovation management. To facilitate this task, a distinction had to be made between regions just starting out on their journey towards innovation and those that already had some experience in innovation matters. For the first group of regions, the purpose was to create a regional innovation system. For the second group, the aim was to find ways to enhance the work they were already doing around innovation.

The purpose and scope of the Action Plans were:

  • To create Regional Innovation Systems in regions where innovation currently lacks support, tools and models
  • To improve Regional Innovation Systems in areas, systems and networks with existing experience of the innovation concept
  • To identify how to implement the Rainova Innovation Management Model in the Regional Innovation System and how to work on it with its members (leaders, actors and companies)
  • To develop a methodology for knowing levels of development in the regions
  • To include sectoral networks and wider networks in the initiative

 

4. To pilot the IMM in four of the partner regions: Tuscany, Wales, Syddanmark (Southern Denmark) and the Basque Country

 

Final status: Piloting Actions in several regions (which are all member regions of EARLALL) and organisations were designed to test the Rainova Innovation Management Model. They were intended to provide the first learning cycle before we set about deciding how to generate the Regional Innovation Networks.

The aim of Work Package 10 was to pilot the IMM within the lifetime of the project to ensure that it was fit for purpose, draw some conclusions and incorporate them into the design of the model before the end of the project. Some templates were discussed by members to use as guidelines for the experiment, although as it turned out every partner acted independently and sent feedback to the work package leader to elaborate the final report. Based on the collected suggestions it became clear that no changes were needed to the initial design. However, the feedback suggested that in order to make the IMM more understandable and usable, a Manual or Guidebook should be developed to provide support to potential users, and this was done by the responsible partner.

 

5. To create Regional Innovation Networks in each partner country

 

Final status: We developed a Plan for the Networks, based on the idea of creating a virtual platform to support a community of practices and provide a meeting point for registered members to help to constantly improve the IMM and keep it updated and fully ready for implementation. This community would be known as the Rainova Regional Innovation Network.

The aim is to exploit the Rainova Innovation Management Model among Europe’s regions, and we therefore want to continue spreading the model among potential users, providing training when requested, working on its implementation, and collecting opinions and suggestions for improvement, with the ultimate goal of having a model that is continually updated and refreshed.

The creation of a dedicated online Rainova Platform (http://www.rainova.eu) was considered to be the best solution to support the Regional Innovation Networks. At the same time, within the same platform, in order to facilitate the overall interaction of the regional networks, there will be another network, the International Innovation Network, which will serve as a general framework for regional networks to meet and discuss ideas and proposals among their members.

EfVET, a partner in Rainova, will be a key player in exploiting the Rainova model, hosting an affinity group on innovation directly linked to the Knowledge and Innovation Community via the International Innovation Network on the Rainova Platform.

6. To facilitate the creation of the International Innovation Network

 

Final status: Within the Rainova Platform, in order to facilitate the overall interaction of the regional networks, there will be another network, the Rainova International Innovation Network. It will serve as a general framework for regional networks to meet and discuss ideas and proposals among their members. In effect, it will be a network of networks sharing innovation practice.

 


This project is partially funded under the European Community's Lifelong Learning Programme (LLL/2012-2014), grant agreement no. 2011 – 4134/001 – 001.
This website reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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