In this context, the INNO-4-AGRIFOOD consortium has started testing, in real life, a first version of its novel offer which aims to provide innovation support consultants with a set of services and tools that can help their agri & food SME clients in the EU to tap into their underexploited innovation potential. This offer of INNO-4-AGRIFOOD has been co-designed with representatives from key stakeholder groups in the agri & food ecosystem (including industry, academia and innovation intermediaries) and includes:
- Personalized support towards identifying the kind of collaborations SMEs should seek within and outside of agri & food value chains, with a view to innovating and growing their business. The service starts off with the innovation consultant jointly exploring and co-defining with the SME the needs that its collaborations should aim at addressing, as well as its relative positioning within the agri-food value chain. It concludes with the innovation consultant providing personalized recommendations for potential collaborations from which the SME can derive substantial benefits at national or international level.
- Guidance towards finding and selecting the most appropriate online innovation and collaboration platforms to suit their needs and business goals. The service begins with the innovation consultant sketching the clients’ profile with a view to identifying business needs that have the potential to be addressed through existing online innovation and collaboration platforms. Based on the clients’ profile, the innovation consultant proceeds with introducing online collaboration concepts and providing meaningful recommendations for appropriate online platforms, along with guidelines on how to use them.
- Paving the way towards effectively integrating ICT applications for online collaboration within the business processes of agri-food SMEs, by introducing them to online collaboration practices and apps. The innovation consultant kicks-off the service by discussing with the SME with a view to jointly concluding on their collaboration needs, before interpreting the insights from the discussion into targeted recommendations with respect to suitable ICT applications that can address these needs. The service results into the provision of practical knowledge and guidance by the innovation consultant on how SMEs can utilise the full potential of the recommended apps.
Another fundamental part of the INNO-4-AGRIFOOD offering are the e-learning and the smart tools. The INNO-4-AGRIFOOD services have been co-designed to complement the existing service offers of key EU innovation intermediaries and are “light” in terms of time and resources required for their delivery, so as to avoid inducing unnecessary complexity and workload for the innovation consultants who will be providing them; and lastly, to bring value to agri & food SMEs, as well as facilitate the work of innovation consultants, in order to be successfully adopted in practice.
The first version of the innovation support services and tools of INNO-4-AGRIFOOD, that is currently under testing, will be iteratively validated and fine-tuned across 3 real-life deployment rounds, aiming at addressing actual business needs of agri & food SMEs.