Aid for Innovation Competence and Product Development (InnoAID)

InnoAID

InnoAID project develops innovation and product development activities of SMEs and micro-enterprises and improves the innovation capacity of their staff.

Funders

Project information

Project duration

-

Funded by

European Structural and Investment Funds - ESF

Project coordinator

University of Oulu

Project description

InnoAID project develops innovation and product development activities of SMEs and micro-enterprises and improves the innovation capacity of their staff.

SMEs and micro-enterprises often operate in tight financial value chains without their own product development activities and facilities. At the same time, the deteriorating economic situation has further reduced the resources of the companies, hindering SMEs innovation capabilities and possibilities to adapt their products and services to changing markets. The project aims to improve innovation and product development activities of companies with limited resources and accelerate their renewal by making the University of Oulu's expert and student resources and national and international networks available to companies.

The project will carry out an analysis of the innovation capacity of the participating Northern Ostrobothnia’s SMEs and micro-enterprises and their current state of product development. The results of the analysis are used to design training and coaching content that is tailored to the needs, resources, and business models of SMEs and microenterprises. The project will create and test product development methods and tools which are designed to create radical innovations, i.e. completely new products or services for new markets, and incremental innovations, i.e. small improvements to existing markets for products and services.

The methods and tools are tested in six product development applied trainings of varying intensities. The companies participating in these trainings will be grouped into clusters of companies, which may be, for example, companies aiming at international growth or companies focusing on local recovery and revival. The project will also produce high-quality theme training to accelerate companies’ innovation capacities and product development activities. The project will also produce informative and educational videos online to support innovation and product development. The videos, as well as all of the methods and tools created in the InnoAID project, are collected in an open online material bank. 

The trainings offered during the InnoAID project are free for the participating companies. However, the trainings will be counted as De minimis aid.

The project is coordinated by the Unit for Strategy and Science Policy in co-operation with Kerttu Saalasti Institute's Micro-Entrepreneurship Centre MicroENTRE®.

Project trainings

Walk-in clinics: Free product and service development coaching

Time:

  • Thursday 7th April, 2022 from 9 am to 2 pm
  • Thursday 5th May, 2022 from 9 am to 2 pm

Place: BusinessAsema, Hallituskatu 36 B, 90100 Oulu

Entrepreneur, do you need support and new ideas for developing your product or service? Come and discuss the challenges of your company's product and service development at a low-threshold free walk-in clinic. Welcoming you will be the specialists from the University of Oulu's InnoAID project. The coaching takes place in a relaxed and confidential atmosphere. The goal is for every entrepreneur to get practical tips and new perspectives on how to develop their product or service in the future. The first clinic will be held at BusinessAsema on April 7, 2022 from 9 am to 2 pm. The clinic operates without an appointment times and entrepreneurs are served on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are interested in the service, but the times of the clinics do not suit or you cannot come on site, please contact project planner Anu Rytivaara at anu.rytivaara@oulu.fi.

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Training: From customer understanding to insights 

NB! This training is organized in Finnish. Please send an email to anu.rytivaara@oulu.fi if you are interested in having this type of training in English.

Time: THE TRAINING WILL BE RESCHEDULED. 

Place: University of Oulu, Tellus Linnanmaa, Backstage

Yes, the entrepreneur now knows their customers! Or do they? Operating environments are changing, but so are our society's needs, pain points, and consumption habits. Customer insight is one of the key success factors in successful product and service development. The more deeply you understand your customer, the better your company can cope with the changing conditions and accelerating competition.

You will receive tools to help you understand your customer better and to learn why they are using your products or services. This training will help you look at your company's operations from the customer's perspective and identify improvement areas. You will learn to understand what user-centric product development means and how to implement it. During the  training you will learn how to benefit from customer feedback, customer surveys and customer interviews. You will also learn to understand how a service model description (service blueprint) and customer path tracking (customer journey mapping) could be utilized in developing your business.

The training is divided into two sections: independent pre- and post-assignments (3-4 hours) and interactive lecture and workshop (4 hours). The lecture and workshop part will be held live on the Linnanmaa campus of the University of Oulu. Training is free for companies, but it is seen as a De Minimis activity.

This training is aimed first and foremost at SMEs and micro-entrepreneurs and their staff in the Northern Ostrobothnia area.  Anyone else interesting in the training can also participate if there is still room. Register for the training by sending an email to the project planner Anu Rytivaara to anu.rytivaara@oulu.fi

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Training: Surprise the market before it surprises you!

NB! This training is organized in Finnish. Please send an email to anu.rytivaara@oulu.fi if you are interested in having this type of training in English.

Time: Live lectures and workshop on Thursday 28 April 2022 from 12-16

Place: University of Oulu, Tellus Linnanmaa, Backstage

Climate change, the sharing economy, the corona pandemic, the global shortage of components, containers stuck in ports, rising commodity prices, rapid changes in the electricity market, fertilizer shortage, the stagnation of Russian trade ... What's next? Nothing is as certain as constant change, but what means does an entrepreneur have in order to navigate the seas of continuous change and forecasting the upcoming cross-waves?

This training helps you to improve your company’s resilience and teaches you to be proactive instead of reactive. The training will provide you with the tools to help you identify the key variables and assumptions for your business. What are the key pillars and assumptions on which your business rests? How to survive if one or more of them crashes? The training presents inspiring examples of companies that have managed to adapt their operations and create new and surprising products or services in a changing market. The goal of the training is to challenge your thinking and assumptions and to direct your thinking to new paths. The training looks at imaginary futures and utilizes a variety of ideation methods to help you find new and perhaps even surprising solutions and operating models. In the training, you will learn how to utilize different ideation methods and how to use them to create alternative futures, products and services for your company.

The training is divided into two sections: independent pre- and post-assignments (3-4 hours) and interactive lecture and workshop (4 hours). The lecture and workshop part will be held live on the Linnanmaa campus of the University of Oulu. Training is free for companies, but it is seen as a De Minimis activity.

This training is aimed first and foremost at SMEs and micro-entrepreneurs and their staff in the Northern Ostrobothnia area.  Anyone else interesting in the training can also participate if there is still room. Register for the training by sending an email to the project planner Anu Rytivaara to anu.rytivaara@oulu.fi

 

Contact information

  • Project manager Mia Kemppaala, Unit for Strategy and Science Policy

            mia.kemppaala@oulu.fi

  • Project planner Anu Rytivaara, Unit for Strategy and Science Policy 

             anu.rytivaara@oulu.fi