The ‘Strategic Innovation’ pilot programme, which aims to help entrepreneurs make strategic choices and prioritise them — so that they can really start innovating — kicks off this month in Maastricht and surrounding areas.
An initiative of the Maastricht-based institute UNU-MERIT, Strategic Innovation is partly supported by Economic Cooperation South Limburg (ESZL). The programme focuses on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in sectors such as tourism & recreation, manufacturing, and life sciences & health, but also reaches out to firms in and around the various ‘Brightlands’ campuses of South Limburg. ESZL supports the pilot as part of the SME & Innovation programme – one of the three pillars of South Limburg cooperation.
Five steps to action
A total of 20 companies will participate between March and December 2019. Each will go through five steps, which must ultimately lead to a targeted innovation strategy for their respective companies. The programme starts with an intake, after which the company is examined in detail. Next, an analysis is made of the points on which people want to improve, including in group sessions. Then, an action plan is drawn up and implemented. The maximum lead time for a participant is three months. The entire process takes place under the guidance of an experienced adviser who, depending on expertise, is associated with a particular company. Meanwhile, UNU-MERIT is responsible for coordinating the process and quality assurance.
Proven and successful concept
“Strategic Innovation is a programme that has been successfully completed by dozens of entrepreneurs throughout the [cross-border Belgian, Dutch and German] ‘Euregio’ over the last 10 years,” says UNU-MERIT’s Raf Sluismans.
“The methodology is ideal for helping entrepreneurs with their innovation needs. And most importantly: it takes relatively little time for an entrepreneur to participate. Moreover, Strategic Innovation complements other SME initiatives in the region, such as De Groeischakelaar van Ondernemend Limburg.
Strategic Innovation is actually at the very start of the chain. If, as an entrepreneur, you’ve mapped out an innovation strategy through this pilot, you can then translate it into results with the help of other processes, networks and schemes.”
Want to know more?
Are you keen to participate in Strategic Innovation? Or do you simply want more information? Then please contact UNU-MERIT’s Dr. Raf Sluismans.
The opinions expressed here are the author’s own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.
Flickr / A.Onishi