Management of the project
The project will start (in M2) with activities towards creation of a new model of a public-private-people partnership that fits to WBC context and uses regional approach. Development Group (DG) will be in charge for this. In the heart of the new model will be a network of co-creative, multi-disciplinary ecosystems – iDEA labs and students as primary users. iDEA labs are conceived as open labs that welcome students who have starting ideas or creative potentials, but who lack skills and resources to realize that potentials. The lab environment will provide full hardware & software, training, mentoring & networking support for the growth of student’s ideas. Its main purpose is to help students in pursuing their business ideas through relevant trainings, mentoring and technology put to their disposal. iDEA labs at WBC HEIs will serve as:
- A platform for generating, developing and commercializing innovative ideas through entrepreneurial rout (start-ups) or in collaboration with companies (open innovation)
- A unique value proposition for working with industry and institutional partners
- A unique environment of experiential learning for students at large
New model will extend the role of HEIs in society in WBC. It will bring students, researchers, entrepreneurs, SMEs, solution and service providers, users into co-creative environment, cross different perspectives and deepen understanding about complex interactions between technologies and market; and thereby substantially increase the likelihood for both high potential start-ups and successful open innovations. iDEA labs will be physical and virtual space where innovative products and services can be conceptualized and validated then spun out into new venture initiatives.
Development of a new model will be based on review of best practice from EU regarding living labs, idea incubators, and business accelerators and detailed analyses of local entrepreneurial and industrial needs at WBC. The model will be developed and presented in the form of white paper (M8). It will define structure and focus, suitable and needed equipment for virtual and physical environment, and key knowledge and skills (trainings) that students need to achieve expected results.
It is expected that focus of iDEA labs will be mainly on ICT and mobile applications, media and creative industries, energy and environment, local and rural development. In addition, iDEA labs in different parts of WB will join forces by sharing knowledge, services and developments based on win-win strategies to create regional market for ideas and to pave the way for young and micro-entrepreneurs, and SMEs which do not have the expertise and resources to expand their activities to the regional or even global market.
Infrastructure Group (IG)-will be in charge for all aspects (equipment, human resources, trainings) of establishing iDEA labs at WBC HEIs. With the aim to foster creativity, experimentation and innovation iDEA labs will provide supportive infrastructure, co-creative environment, active mentoring and trainings. 6 iDEA labs will be set up at 6 HEIs in 3 WBC (RS: UNS, VTSSU, TCAS; BA: UBL, UNZE; ME: UDG) and networked. Equipment will include state-of-the-art ICT equipment, android mobile devices, cameras and video editing tools, specialised software and multimedia tools. In addition to 6 iDEA labs at 6 HEIs, all project partners will be connected and networked through specially created virtual segment of iDEA lab (ViDEA) which will be available through log-in option at the project web site (by M14). ViDEA will be knowledge repository and collaborative playground for generating ideas and linking students and companies. It will be the corner stone for developing functional Market for ideas at regional level (by M27).
Comparing the results of assessed local needs to the pool of available knowledge and skills of partner institutions, IG will plan, organise and manage Training program (TP) for staff from WBC. TP (start M9) will offer update of existing and development of new knowledge and skills on idea generation and protection; creative problem solving, mentoring ideas, business models in start-up development, integration of end users & open innovation models. WBC staff training will be composed around selected topics and delivered in 4 five-day trainings (1 in EU, 3 in WBC). Follow-up to each training will be one hour video conferences. At least 25 members of PC staff will take part in every training. By M17 there will be a pool of at least 50 members of PC staff trained ready to train students and support idea and start-up development. The didactic approach will be problem-based, giving the PC staff a very active role in training. Training program will provide a valuable framework for upgrade of HR necessary to continue the program beyond the project lifetime.
Following detected WBC needs, a set of at least 6 training courses for iDEA lab users will be developed (by M18). Courses will be designed to respond to specific needs of WBC students (would-be entrepreneurs), SMEs and industry with the primary goal to improve students’ entrepreneurial skills and abilities to practice creativity and start-up new business; as well as to participate in open innovations. Courses will be developed as intensive (2-day) trainings and peer reviewed to secure quality. All participants will be certified by one of iDEA labs.
Operation Group (OG)-will be in charge for iDEA lab operation. Strong support of LT is expected at each consortium member. iDEA labs will offer to students and recent graduates to share the space, experience, information and resources, to be trained and mentored and to network with colleagues, representatives of SMEs and business projects. Training courses on entrepreneurial skills & open innovation for iDEA lab users will be delivered as 2-day intensive boot camps by trained PC staff and experienced entrepreneurs. At least 90 boot camps will be delivered (M18-M36) in WBC (45-RS, 30-BA, 15-ME) proportionally (number of students) distributed between HEIs. At least 1000 students will use co-creative space of iDEA labs, while at least 500 students (students can choose a specific training or follow series of 4 or 6 trainings) will be trained on entrepreneurial skills and open innovation. To help development of students’ ideas into business a pool of at least 50 mentors (successful entrepreneurs, senior managers, designers, engineers, marketing experts) will be formed by M22. Mentors will have task to help ideas succeed with 1:1 mentoring, giving talks, and advising. At least 50 students’ ideas will be mentored for at least 3 months between M22 and M36. As a part of idea development and start-up process, at least 10 different events which link would-be-entrepreneurs & potential sources of financing (government programs, VC founds) will be organized by M36. At least 10 students’ ideas developed through iDEA labs are expected to be transformed into companies by M36.
At the same time, students will actively participate in open innovation projects with companies (from M25). Companies will present at least 50 problems and work with students to develop their ideas to solutions. During this process students will have opportunity to be mentored, guided and advised by company representatives. Companies will contribute necessary technology tools if they are not available at iDEA lab as well. At least 25 open innovations are expected to be developed in the region by M36. This will be mutually beneficial for both students and companies because it will increase creativity and practical experience of graduates, and provide an influx of new ideas into innovation business in WBC. Intellectual property issues will be treated with utmost attention. One of trainings will target this issue, and special procedures as a part of White paper on iDEA lab will be developed.
Besides serving as a cross-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder platform for entrepreneurship, collaboration with industry, innovation and commercialization, iDEA labs at WBC HEIs will offer a unique environment for problem- and work-based learning and improve educational experience for students at large and prepare them for active role at labour market. From M28 iDEA lab will be partly included in teaching process at WBC HEIs. In charge for this will be Dissemination and Exploration Group (DEG). Through inclusion of iDEA lab into teaching process, not only entrepreneurially oriented students, but students at large will become an integral part of new product and service developments, and new venture creation and thus get chance to enhance own employability. Additionally, to support entrepreneurial and work-based learning and inclusion of iDEA labs in teaching process at least 20 subjects from different departments will be revised and adapted (M22-M27). These revised curricula will be supported with development and publication of adequate teaching materials by M28. After initial capacity building iDEA labs will start (from M25) to partner with companies and governments (at least 10 by M36) to generate more problems and offer more challenges to students. All other activities related to diffusion and exploitation of the project process and results will be planed and managed by DEG. These activities will involve all consortium members and will be performed during the whole duration of the project. 2 special events will be organized (M34): regional students’ start-up competition (RSC) during Y3 to promote 20 best students’ ideas from all iDEA labs and to present them to potential investors; and regional practitioners’ conference (RPC) which will serve as a platform for knowledge exchange and networking for open innovation practitioners from the region.
Project Management Team (PMT) will manage administrative, financial and legal aspects of project, transfer best practices regarding these issues from the EU to WBC, manage decision-making processes inside consortium and interface with EC services. Steering committee (SC) will oversee the project, make strategic decisions and guarantee the correct implementation of activities and cost efficiency. PMT will be composed of the project manager and 21 local managers, one at each member of the consortium. SC will involve one senior decision maker from each project partner. PMT and SC will be established during project kick-off meeting and will develop (M2) project management guidelines (PMG) to support decision-making process during whole project. For the operative management of the project 5 work groups with executive tasks at project level and local teams (LT) with specific tasks at institutional level will be formed (M1). During the whole project a continuous dialogue with key stakeholders and beneficiaries of the project (students, teachers, university decision makers and administration, industry, business incubators, high-tech SMEs, NGOs) will be maintained and their active involvement will be supported.
Quality Group (QG) - will be in charge of quality control (QC) and monitoring of the project and developed results. QCG will be composed of 5 experts from the field of QC and 6 students from different consortium members (iDEA labs). It will be established in M1 with the task to set up QC System (M3) with procedures, methodologies and performance indicators for evaluating the progress and assessing the quality of project results. All processes and results will be checked first internally by peers inside consortium, after that, important results will be externally reviewed by independent experts and by users’ (students, companies) evaluation. Each result of QC activities will be discussed between PMT and QG, specially focusing on group and location leaders in charge for specific task. Corrective measures (if needed) will be proposed by QG and results monitored by PMT and QG. In order to improve QC Inter-Tempus project coaching will be organised as well as regular contacts with national Tempus offices.