Main objectives of WorkPackage “Smart growth in food SMEs – A knowledge brigde platform” (WP5)

The objective of WP5 is to develop a food innovation toolbox available for food innovation especially addressing the generally low innovation capacity in food SMEs. Innovation capacity is significantly higher for SMEs cooperating with innovation actors, therefore WP5 facilitate innovation in such cooperations.
The need for better coordination and learnings in the innovation system emerged in previous collaborations, e.g. BaltFood and FoodNexus. Innovation support within the food sector has developed significantly during the last decades. In order to keep up, developing an ongoing foresight and bench learning are crucial.
To improve cooperation between food SMEs and knowledge institutions, the project develops a toolbox containing innovation tools addressing food SMEs. Tools missing or poorly exploited in the existing business development system. The project thereby expects to improve and extend the service to businesses, especially addressing the 49% of the food SMEs significantly.

Summary description of activities and main output delivables

WP5 will improve innovation capacity based on future trends, best cases and learnings through a food innovation toolbox offered to food SME’s giving recommendations for successful innovation for food SMEs developing e.g. new products, processes and markets in collaboration between knowledge institutions and food SME’s.

Developing the toolbox will be based on two main activities:

  1. Developmental process in the partnership and innovation activities in WP 3 and WP4 extracting existing experience, knowledge, best case practice and learnings from the project’s innovation activities
  2. A Food Innovation Council (FIC) establishing collaboration and knowledge exchange within food innovation management in the SBR.

Extracting and monitoring innovation outcome from the food SME perspective will be a central and integrated part of all innovation activities in the project.

The project generates through at least 25 innovation activities between food SME’s and knowledge institutions dealing with various innovation challenges and food SMEs in different parts of the valuechain, targeting different markets all in a crossborder construction a profound base for identifying the most crucial aspects of food innovation. This will be monitored and extracted whereby innovation outcome from all activities and workshops in the partnership, will be an integrated part and basis for the toolbox. At the same time the strong focus ensures a strong emphasis on food innovation outcome for food SME’s in all aspects of the project.

To develop the toolbox, three workshops are set up:

  1. All partners are introduced to the overall thinking of the toolbox and the need for structure and implementation of project innovation activities, while simultaneously collecting learnings relevant for development of the toolbox, with focus on learnings, practice based needs in the food sector and facilitation of innovation processes improving innovation accessible for food SMEs
  2. Follow-up, ensuring progress and collecting learnings; and
  3. Finalization, collecting final learnings, input to toolbox.

WP5 activities include six meetings in the FIC (representatives from the participating partners + invited experts), supporting innovation, exchange knowledge and collaboration within food innovation management in the SBR with two focuses:
Bench learning and foresight. Exchange of best case practices and a global outlook. The activity includes meetings with internationally renowned experts in the field, collaboration with internationally recognized clusters, and a scanning of ongoing activities and methods within innovation support in the food sector.
Toolbox of innovation support in the food sector. The outcome of the FIC meetings, bench learning activities and workshops will develop hands on recommendations for improving future food innovation activities within the SBR. The results will be implemented in the innovation activities in the projects and also be included in the toolbox.