The KIS (= knowledge intensive services) Innovation Platform
The KIS-IP is a European initiative funded under Europe INNOVA, with the aim to accelerate the take-up of services innovations in Europe. The initiative focuses on the development and testing of new or better innovation support mechanisms for innovative small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular in technological and industrial fields.
The KIS-IP brings together public and private partners from different countries willing to cooperate in developing new forms of support for innovation, taking into account the specific needs of service companies as well as the potential role of services innovation in support of societal needs. This includes not only the design and testing of new service packages, but also experimentation with new forms of service delivery that are specifically tailored to the strong market orientation of service companies. The KIS-IP will thus contribute to overcome the traditional bias of innovation support mechanisms towards technological innovation in manufacturing.
The KIS-IP is open for cooperation with other initiatives in support of services innovation and will undertake maximum efforts to develop and test a set of new innovation support services that can ultimately be integrated into regional and national innovation support programmes. Specific attention will be paid to leveraging proven and tested solutions into the Enterprise Europe Network that offers great potential to strengthen the impact of new service concepts developed under Europe INNOVA.
During the second phase of the Europe INNOVA initiative seven sectoral partnerships have acted as laboratories searching for “better practice” in support of innovative services companies. These partnerships have been the driving engines of the KIS-IP. Each partnership have addressed a number of specific challenges related to better responding to the specific needs of potential high growth companies active in knowledge intensive services.
- "ACHIEVE MORE" have addressed barriers to the development of KIS ventures in the ICT sector (software), by developing a new, integrated toolkit that is delivered through a network of business incubators, ICT clusters and finance organisations. Coaching of business support professionals, investors and cluster organisation has be organised to promote the use of the new tools.
Achieve More main challenge was to structure support to the eco-systems for the ICT software sector, by refining the support through incubators, clusters and investors communities in an integrated manner. The field of interrelations between clusters and incubators has been a so far overlooked challenge and establishing new tools in the sector is a daunting task. Clusters have a key role to play in the development of supporting tools for incubators, but their contribution is very hard to obtain due to the lack of existence of cluster organisations strategies towards incubation.
- "KIS PIMS" supported innovation in services that covered the whole life of new technologies for renewable energy (solar, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal), including the planning of new systems, installation and commissioning, maintenance/repair and scraping of old systems. New support mechanisms were tested through innovation vouchers issued by 3 national agencies (TEKES, OSEO and LEV) and through clusters in Austria, Finland and France.
The main challenge faced by the KISPIMS partnership was the reach out of partnership’s tools to service companies. It is still very uncommon in many countries to couple together the ideas of innovation and services. Entrepreneurs tend to see services as an implicit set of activities essentially ancillary to the delivery of tangibles products with no value added of their own. Efforts to produce innovative solutions are intended as aimed at technologies, while services are seldom seen as net adding value activities. Such common thinking implies that any innovation actor promoting service innovation has to invest huge efforts into raising the awareness of entrepreneurs on the hidden potential of their business in terms of innovative service solutions.
- “KIS4SAT” established an innovation support platform needed to stimulate the launch and development of potentially high growth knowledge intensive services ventures in the field of satellite downstream services, by stimulating cross fertilisation of expertise among 20 regional clusters in this field and encouraging networking and partnership between various research, finance, space industry and regional organisations. A voucher scheme was developed and implemented in a practical manner in cooperation with regional agencies.
KIS4SAT main challenge was the reach out to its target customers, establishing trust and links to local businesses. Most companies are micro start-ups with limited resources, a limited knowledge of markets and serving a few large service developers without much knowledge of the potential of new services support packages and new business opportunities such as those offered by the new KIS4SAT accelerator. Another challenge was to establish strong eco-systems perpetuating the KIS4SAT accelerator.
- “Greenconserve” is developing a number of tools in support of innovative companies in the field of sustainable construction. Innovation agencies will select innovative companies and provide vouchers of first, second and third generation to buy innovation support services packages developed and implemented by Greenconserve. Such services include innovation & sustainability trainings, innovation management support tools, planning tools, software and technologies/standards inventories.
The challenge facing Greenconserve originates in the particular structure of the industry. The building industry involves a very highly fragmented supply platform with many different actors. This implies that if one member of the platform is not apt at complying with innovative solutions the final product, in this case the building, will not comply with innovative sustainability standards. Greenconserve’s main challenge is therefore to address all the building service providers in the supply platform and make sure that they can provide innovative solutions. Greenconserve addresses the challenge via tools and vouchers supplied to innovative companies allowing them to develop new competitive “green” services and compete with non-green products.
- “MOBIP” will establish an innovation platform aimed at supporting innovative businesses in the field of mobile technologies. It will build upon the network of clusters and living labs organised by mClusters in the field of mobile technologies and will cooperate closely with the ENCADRE network of clusters in the field of satellite technologies based services. MOBIP is developing a number of tools supporting business modelling, innovation management and planning, investment and investor readiness. Such tools will be supported by a number of events whose purpose shall be testing the tools and especially help developing ecosystems in support of innovative markets.
MOBIP’s main challenge is to find the right business model apt at connecting local initiatives in Thessaloniki and Valencia with strong innovation hubs dealing with innovative mobile services in Europe. MOBIP can only address this challenge by utilising and building upon tools and communities which are already available and have been established under other Europe INNOVA actions such as mClusters, KIS4SAT and ENCADRE. Another challenge will be to involve regional funding to develop local clusters of innovation in the field of mobility.
- “ImMediaTe” aims at supporting growth and innovation skills of SMEs in the Digital Media and Creative Industries sector. ImMediaTe will develop a 2.0 web tool, bringing together the expertise of five major European digital media clusters and important international clusters (from South East Asia, Japan and Argentina). The tool will take into consideration the dynamics within digital media clusters, will analyse the cluster components (technology transfer structures and the local incentives for investment and innovation) and provide opportunities for internationalization. It will also highlight new successful business models, scout the most promising EU digital media ventures, propose new ways of distributing digital media products and provide SMEs with partnering opportunities within the EU and beyond.
ImMediaTe pursues the challenge to enhance synergies between major European Digital Media clusters and to integrate and bundle the high level tools and services already offered into a dynamic business and innovation services platform with a true European dimension. Whereas existing European media clusters offer good possibilities in terms of technological equipment they still lag behind in terms of business intensive knowledge services. This calls for a change as such services are fundamental for boosting the growth of SMEs in the sector and for supporting their innovative ideas with valid and flexible business models.
- “BCreative” will streamline different innovation support mechanisms for SMEs in the creative sector. A comprehensive support scheme for innovative companies will be developed incorporating as the main features business support tools tailored to their needs, a Living lab, and an innovation vouchers system. BCreative will also develop an online platform for creative businesses, establishing a European network of relevant stakeholders, and providing them with a tool kit to facilitate access to venture capital, improve entrepreneurial skills, exchange information on intellectual property protection and legal advice, and on other barriers that companies in the sector may face.
BCreative takes up the challenge that while the creative industries are mainly supported at local and national level, the Community level can play an important role in bringing together different support instruments, seek synergies and raise the general quality of the support given through policy learning. In particular, it will work to remove or reduce existing market barriers and will support SMEs to better exploit their research results and improve their investment readiness.
A horizontal support action has facilitated the coordination and use of synergies between the seven sectoral partnerships and promoted the dissemination of their results. As a new element, a "business club" of 100 young innovative service companies in Europe with high growth potential has be established, providing innovation agencies with a platform to promote their “best in class” KIS start-up’s. The KIS 100 Club has also be promoted through a series of regional events. Another key element was the organisation of a prestigious annual "European KIS Venture Contests" leading to a European service innovation award.