Biobord

Piloting innovation: ConnectedByBiobord-project

Piloting innovation

Ongoing RDI2CluB-project’s extension stage project ConnectedByBiobord (funded by EU development funding programme Interreg Baltic Sea Region) is piloting innovation process, here are are the first steps of the process that started in October 2020 and lasts until the end of June 2021.

Project consortium consists of nine partners across Baltic Sea region and the project is piloting jointly agreed innovation process within three thematic pilots (food, forest and new technologies). The process started with an transnational online workshop where the to be used innovation process was outlined. Innovation expert and ConnectedByBiobord project partner Krinova Incubator and Science Park leads the process. Simultaneously thematic pilots are conducting internal discussions of the focus areas within the themes and with relevant stakeholders and end-users.

Transnational innovation workshop was needed in order to have joint perception of innovation and its elements. Event was held 16.10.2020. Recording can be found here.

What is innovation for ConnectedByBiobord ?

Partners saw innovation as an idea based on customers needs or as an old idea in a new form. In our perception, innovation is not equal into an idea and it requires a market and customers. Customer does not need to be a paying customer but a holder of the interest that drives the innovation. Customer is someone who invests time or resources into the innovation. It was also stated that innovation does not always require demand from the market, and in some cases it is the innovator that push the innovation to the markets to fill unknown need of consumers. To conclude, there is always a need or a problem driving the innovation process. Either it is a need that the customer is very much aware of and likes to get solved or its something the customer don’t know they wanted from the start.

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ConnectedByBiobord innovation expert Krinova believes also that the customer always needs to be in the center of innovation. A lot of inspiration can be found in human centered design. In short, human centered design looks at three aspects of innovation:

Desirability (user needs): What do people desire ?
Feasibility (test if your innovation strengthens your business): What is technically and organizationally feasible ?
Viability (sustainability- economical, environmental or social): What is financially viable ?

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Innovation process always being iterative. Meaning, that instead of a linear process, innovation needs to be, in order to success, a constant circular process. Krinova’s model and the chosen model for ConnectedByBiobord is a common process of innovation, where you first learn, then design and then effectuate:

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It is important to ask peoples input and learn from others when innovating, this is why the model has “co” in each part.

Co-learn
The part of the process when we share knowledge with others, learn and collect information from
customers and stakeholders in order to define a challenge, need, problem or job to be done. Once you have learned- its time to try!

Co-design
The part of the process when you try, fail, try again and test your innovation practically. Maybe you
need to refine something that you thought from the beginning would work but that you figure out
needs more research. Sometimes this leads you back to the co- learn phase. Once you have tried
something and it works- its time to effectuate and make it profitable. This is the time when you design your business model.

Co- effectuate
The part of the process when you try to make your innovation profitable. Maybe you need to scale up, find a cheaper supplier etc. This is the time when you look into how you can make a sustainable
business of your innovation. Maybe you realize that your customers aren’t ready to pay for your final product- then you need to go back to the co- learn phase and again reevaluate what customer you should target or how you should redesign your innovation to make it more viable.

How do we learn in ConnectedByBiobord ?

The co-learn phase is about learning- what are we actually going to do?

The most important part of the learning phase is to connect with other people and get to know what the actual need is. Experts, other stakeholders, colleagues and possible customers. You can do this by for example making interviews with potential customers, observe and research your segment of customer’s needs, mingle at events to meet possible partners etc. Your mission is to get as many pieces to solve the puzzle. It is a perfect environment for testing, failing, talk and iterate your idea.

For ConnectedByBiobord this is the current stage of the innovation piloting. All thematic groups are having internal and external discussions of the focus of the pilots and used methods. It is the time when we are learning from each other.

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In practice this means in ConnectedByBiobord:

  • Biobord as the platform of co-learning; Biobord is all about sharing knowledge and learning together. Therefor several people in the groups favored Biobord to be the platform used for learning within the project. As seen in the cloud above, several suggestions on how to learn in ConnectedbyBiobord includes: discussing, listening, talking, webinars, surveys, sharing. It can all be done in Biobord. This means we already have a great foundation for co-learning

  • Curiosity and generosity; we should try to build on in the network when co-learning

  • Learning first; Maybe the need/problem to be solved is not what it seems from outside. We need to learn first!

  • End-user always in mind; Always having the receiver in mind defines the challenge and therefor also the solution.

How do we design in ConnectedByBiobord ?

Designing is an active process with both designer and user co-evaluating the design. It is the part of the innovation process when you try, fail, test, fail and learn by your own mistakes in corresponds with people who help you.

Key steps

  1. Engage- learn from each other
  2. Understand users’ needs
  3. Ideate- build prototypes
  4. Validate together with stake holders and users

In ConnectedByBiobord we are aiming to implement the learning stage by having workshops or other co-creation events with transnational group of stakeholders, end-users and experts.

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  • With tools, methods, prototyping, practical examples etc.

  • With courage and open mind; involving users and other people in the process on how to meet user needs. Encourage is also mentioned which relates to the fact that we should try to unlock each other’s creativity

  • With feedback and co-operation

  • With experts; experts can be a chef which tries to cook your product or a user that can give feedback on what would improve your innovation. Experts that already have conclusions should be considered as a help but shouldn’t stop you from trying.

How do we effectuate in ConnectedByBiobord ?

Once its time to head out for the market with the innovation, a business plan is needed to commercialize the product. This stage is called co-effectuate.

When you should make your innovation viable, we recommend using the business model canvas (see image below). It is a map over all the different parts that are needed for an innovation to hit the market. The business model canvas can be applied for both businesses but also for a project. The right side maps the value delivery and the left stands for efficiency – how to scale. The left generate cost and the right revenues. It can also be iterative and refine the business model canvas.

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The business model canvas relates to the earlier model of human centered design and the
desirability, feasibility and viability.

In ConnectedByBiobord Co-effectuate stage is the life after the project, since we only have nine months reserved. Main outputs of the project include Joint Agendas for the thematic pilots which include for example project ideas for planning the implementation of the solution and the actual implementation.

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Stay tuned to here more of our progress with the innovation process piloting. In the following months we will include this presented innovation process to our thematic pilots and we will evaluate it through feedback collection.

Writers: @riikkakumpulainen @elin_hansson from ConnectedByBiobord

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ConnectedByBiobord 2nd Transnational workshop 26.05. – 27.05.2021

The innovation process journey of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region project ConnectedByBiobord has been completed. As a result, a practical guidebook will be delivered with best practices and useful tools.

Start of the process

The innovation journey started in October 2020, when the extension stage project started and the first Transnational Workshop was held between the partners of the project: JAMK University of Applied Sciences (lead partner from Finland), Krinova Incubator and Science Park (SWE), Vidzeme Planning Region (LV), Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (NO), Institute of Environmental Solutions (LV), Tretorget (NO), SEI Tallinn (EST), Paper Province (SWE) and PRO Civis (PL).

In the first Transnational Workshop the to be piloted innovation process was selected jointly with the help of the expertise of the project partner Krinova. Selected innovation process was an iterative, ongoing, three-step co-process: Co-learn, Co-design and Co-effectuate. Read more or the selection process and of the first workshop from the post above.

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Joint Agendas

The selected process was tested in three different transnational innovation pilots around sustainable food, digital forestry and use of new technologies in the monitoring of wild animals and free ranging livestock. Pilots resulted long term co-operation roadmaps called Joint Agendas, as well as useful lessons to the innovation guide.

Please find here some experiences from the food innovation and forest innovation pilots:

The first workshop day of the second Transnational Workshop, hosted by the lead partner and network secretary JAMK, focused on the deliberation of the joint agendas. All pilot groups had prepared short presentations for other partners to describe their thematic future co-operation plans. Future co-operation plans were established throughout the project with thematic studies, stakeholder interviews, knowledge exchange and through different innovation events. Selected tool for the Joint Agendas was a practical and easy Business Model Canvas (BMC) -tool.

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The finalization of the joint agendas was supported with BSR policy level presentations held by EUSBSR PA-Bioeconomy representative Mr. Torfi Jóhannessonfrom the Nordic Council of Ministers and PA-Innovation representative Ms. Johanna Leino from the Baltic Institute.

PA-Bioeconomy presentation focused more of the future trends and aspects that should be considered when planning strategic co-operation on the Baltic Sea region. Please see Torif’s presentation from here:
Torfi_presentation.pdf (769.3 KB)

Johanna Leino introduced the new priorities of EUSBSR PA Innovation and future of interregional cooperation. Presentation focused on the possibilities of the future co-operation in the context of S3. Please see Johanna’s presentation from here:
S3 PA INNO_JohannaLeino.pdf (2.5 MB)

Innovation journey

The purpose of the second workshop day was to conclude the piloted innovation process and collect most important learnt lessons together. The workshop day was hosted by the innovation expert partner Krinova. The day started by reminding the first steps of the innovation journey, especially of the findings from the first Transnational Workshop in October 2020.

The innovation journey of ConnectedByBiobord was seen as:

  • Iterative : a true learning process where things were done repeatedly, and learning happened along the way and no clear steps ahead.
  • Open: according to open innovation manners. Including open exchange of knowledge and competence internally and externally
  • Diverse: connecting people with different backgrounds and competences. With this combination, innovation and problem solving is stimulated. Co-operation is essential!

The learning process of the ConnectedByBiobord was described as a tall and circular parking garage. A car must drive there in circles, around and around, to get up. It feels like it is the same place all the time, but in fact the car is moving higher and higher. This example also illustrates well the work in the project. We have gone in circles, from assumptions and speculations to building new knowledge. We have come higher in our level of knowledge. One could call it as an iterative process!

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The transnationality, fully digital implementation, and the shorth length of the project were challenging, to say at least. Additionally, an innovation project brings more altering elements itself. A traditional project has usually a project description with a start and end point. Also, the goal and the expected result is clear. In an innovation project one does not always know what to deliver. In the ConnectedByBiobord-project, we were delivering value, but how exactly do you define value ? For us the value has been created through new knowledge, new relations, transnational cooperation, via new tools and methods.

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In our project, we have moved up and down, back, and forth in the “ball of yarn”. It may in a way seem like we’ve not gotten anywhere. But we did. We have tested theses, explored unknown ground, identified opportunities and challenges, and in this way, we have in a learning process transformed speculation and assumptions into knowledge. Now it is up to us in the project to manage the knowledge and implement solutions of the knowledge we have gained!

The selected approach for the innovation piloting was called “Design Thinking”, which is a human centered innovation approach. Design thinking is non-linear, iterative process that teams use to understand the needs of the users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions to prototype and test. ConnectedByBiobord is an innovation project, based on learning through co-creation dialogue.

Our next step is to take the knowledge/value into new projects (national and/or international) to create further value! Our practical innovation guide, published at the end of the innovation journey in June 2021, tells more of our experiences and input. Sharing is caring! :hugs:

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