Digital innovation hubs (DIHs) are one-stop-shops that help companies to become more competitive with regard to their business and production processes, products or services using digital technologies. They are based upon competence centres and provide access to the advanced knowledge, expertise and technology to support their customers with piloting, testing and experimenting with digital innovations.
Small and medium-sized enterprises represent the majority of all businesses in the EU. While large companies invest in ICT, SMEs are still lagging behind. Timely digitalization solutions are the key to sustaining competitiveness in the Digital Single Market.
Policy makers need a close cooperation with digital innovation hubs to ensure DIHs become the vehicles for effective policy implementation. On the other hand, policy support is needed for DIHs to become sustainable digitalion support actors.
Digital economy is a source of innovation and growth of the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). However, there is a need to increase macro-regional collaboration to exploit the full potential of the region in research, innovation and SMEs utilising the Digital Single Market. InnoCAPE aims to establish a cooperation model for sustainable evolution of BSR digital innovation ecosystem through increased capacity of public enablers, such as public authorities and digital innovation hubs (DIHs).
To this end, the project is pursuing objectives of increasing capacity of public authorities to address the role of DIHs in policy making and capacity of DIHs to implement Industry 4.0 policies and contribute to developing digital single market; strengthening cooperation of public enablers of the digital innovation ecosystem; and improving the competitiveness of the macro region by better policy implementation through DIHs.
The consortium is working on increasing knowledge, skills and competence of public authorities and DIHs. They are identifying case studies of successful policies regarding DIHs, learning from digitalisation strategies in SMEs, organising workshops to address the skills gap of public enablers. Partners are developing an integrated digital maturity assessment tool, enabling benchmarking of BSR countries and helping to identify areas of strategic policy intervention. To increase digital readiness of SMEs, participating DIHs will engage SMEs in workshops, pilot InnoCAPE tools by assessing digital maturity, identify problem areas, generate solutions through industry hackathons, and carry out digitalisation projects. InnoCAPE partners will launch BSR competence map to facilitate DIHs in their role as one-stop-shop digitalisation service provider. The consortium will develop and pilot a cooperation framework, showcasing digital innovation potential of BSR and contributing to its involvement in pan-European digital industrial platforms. The target groups addressed by InnoCAPE are policy makers, represented in the consortium by 3 public authorities from the Baltic States and 6 public authorities as associated partners from Scandinavian countries. The target group of DIHs is reached through 8 DIHs from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Norway as InnoCAPE partners. Each of them brings added value through different DIH business models, e.g. operating as part of university, R&D institute, IT cluster, industry collaboration centre, or science & technology park. Finally, SMEs in traditional industry sectors will be addressed as beneficiaries of services provided by DIHs. Expected change the project will bring is increased capacity of public authorities to address the needs of DIHs in the BSR and enable them to efficiently implement digitalisation policies on national and macro regional levels, leading to more connected Digital Single Market, growing potential for innovation, and improved global competitiveness of BSR. The Flagship status under Policy Area Innovation acknowledges the strategic importance of the InnoCAPE.
InnoCAPE contributes to increasing prosperity of the macro region by tackling the sub-objectives of:
a) Making BSR the frontrunner for fulfilling single market (by increasing capacity of DIHs as digital innovation enablers),
b) Contributing to Europe2020 strategy (by facilitating smart growth through digital innovation), and
c) Improving global competitiveness of the macro region (by contributing to more balanced development of BSR countries and increased visibility on global arena).
Policy Area Innovation Strategy Guide 2016-2020 emphasizes digitalization and SME internationalization among strategic action areas for achieving EUSBSR goals. It aims at exploiting the full potential of the region in research, innovation and SME, utilising the Digital Single Market as a source for attracting talents and investments. InnoCAPE contributes to PA-INNO by increasing capacity of public enablers to develop more efficient digital innovation ecosystem, using DIHs as vehicles for policy implementation. Significant contribution to PA-INNO is also acknowledged by PA coordinators’ commitment to support InnoCAPE as a flagship project.
Capacity building. Project aims for integrated and coordinated governance of BSR, between regional and local authorities, business, academia, civil society organisations and other stakeholders. InnoCAPE consortium brings together public authorities and digital innovation hubs operating as part of higher education institutions, R&D institutes, industry collaboration centres, and science and technology parks, constituting a versatile discussion forum for better policy making and achieving Interreg BSR goals.
Spatial planning. InnoCAPE project focuses on improving capacity of public authorities to develop and implement digitalisation strategies with the help of DIHs. According to Digital Transformation Enablers’ Index, Scandinavian countries are among leaders of digital innovation enabling environment, whereas Baltic countries are moderate (LT, EE) or modest (LV) digital innovation enablers, suggesting transnational cooperation is the key to close the gap. The ultimate result of InnoCAPE is increased digitalisation of SMEs in the region and more coherent digital single market, leading to better cooperation, economic growth and mastering social changes. The result is well aligned with the overall HA Spatial Planning aim for a well-integrated and coherent macro-region, which has overcome the socio-economic development divides between its individual parts.
Objectives and results
Programme specific objective
Non-technological innovation: To advance the Baltic Sea Region performance in non-technological innovation based on increased capacity of innovation actors
Programme specific result
Increased capacity of innovation actors (innovation intermediaries, authorities, research institutions, enterprises) to improve conditions for non-technological innovation
Establish a cooperation model for sustainable evolution of the BSR digital innovation ecosystem through increased capacity of public enablers
Institutional Capacity Dimensions
- Enhanced institutionalised knowledge and competence
- Improved governance structures and organisational set-up
- More efficient use of human and technical resources (databases, technical solutions, small infrastructure etc.)
- Better ability to attract new financial resources
- Increased capability to work in transnational environment
InnoCAPE project addresses the target groups of public authorities, shaping digitalisation policies on national level, and digital innovation hubs (DIHs), the key players in implementing those policies. The secondary target group is SMEs in traditional industry sectors (like wood, motor, textile, fishing, etc.), which are targeted on the level of European Commission as lagging behind in digital innovation and require additional support to enable their digital transformation. The project envisages to involve around 1k representatives of SMEs in project activities of building awareness, testing digitalisation tools, and implementing pilot projects of digitalisation.
The InnoCAPE consortium consists of 3 public authorities from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia and 8 digital innovation hubs from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, and Norway, accompanied by 6 public authorities as associated partners. DIHs play an increasingly important role in implementing policies of digital single market with the aim to become a single point of access for digitalisation services in the region. As public innovation enablers, they greatly depend on support provided by policy makers, especially taking into account, that the concept of digital innovation hubs is rather new. Therefore, close cooperation of these players is vital for achieving goals outlined in digitalisation policies from national, to EUSBSR to Europe2020 strategies.
To this end, project activities are laid out with the aims to increase the knowledge, skills and competence of public authorities and DIHs, enable the benchmarking of BSR countries in terms of digital maturity, increase the readiness of SMEs to meet the challenges of Industry 4.0, and develop a cooperation framework for support and showcasing the digital innovation potential of the region. The capacity of public enablers will be strengthened through knowledge exchange and increased competence, macro regional networking, and shared use of human and technical resources.
The change sought by InnoCAPE consortium is improved conditions for digital innovation hubs to pursue their mission as digital innovation enablers. The InnoCAPE will result in increased capacity of public authorities to address the needs of Digital Innovation Hubs in the BSR region and enable them to efficiently implement digitalisation policies on national and macro regional levels, leading to more connected Digital Single Market, growing potential for innovation, and improved global competitiveness of the Baltic Sea region.