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Preliminary results and competition of the best in the Innovations Meet Clusters matching campaign

The Innovations Meet Clusters campaign is coming to an end, and on August 31, the UKA coordination center will tally up all the results and announce the winners. This publication summarizes our activities since the beginning of the campaign and reminds participants about the main nominations in the evaluation of the jury.

Main activities within the campaign

The brokerage and matchmaking campaign in the innovative development of UKA clusters was launched on August 8. The campaign set 3 tactical tasks:

  • Connect the participants of the UKA in the framework of the search for specific solutions to the needs (at least 50 connections).
  • Show the best innovative brokers.
  • To improve interaction in the field of innovative development both within individual clusters and within innovations.

As part of the campaign, the UKA coordination center performed the following activities:

  1. We analyzed the current state and identified the main challenges at the internal meeting of innovation development experts on August 12, as well as in a separate analytical publication on the Industry4Ukraine website. The article emphasizes that if the cluster communities are not demobilized, then the war can significantly increase the threat of degradation of innovative ecosystems of high-tech industry.
  2. During the first days of the campaign, active processes of attracting UKA participants to the appropriate group on the UKA matchmaking platform continued. As of August 23, 49 users joined the group, and since the beginning of the campaign, almost 30 new members of UKA have been added to the platform.
  3. In order to clarify and stimulate matching processes, we launched a series of social media posts with examples of effective matching. Here is the second post in the I4.0 group, and all posts are in the group on the platform.
  4. Data from the matchmaking platform, as well as meetings with experts, made it possible to determine the top 10 needs of UKA clusters in innovation. By a wide margin, the 2 main ones are: SME financing, which appeals to quality innovation brokerage, and innovator financing, which addresses more advanced services in technology brokerage. Actually, all the key needs, as well as the first solutions were presented on August 17.
  5. On August 17, the central matchmaking event of the campaign was held, which gathered more than 50 participants. A video recording of the event is here, a short report is here.
  6. As part of the tasks of the innovative brokerage and responding to the calls of the campaign, DIH KPI experts began to show themselves:
    1. Oleksandr Pupena did an excellent translation of the webinar on digital twins related to the Change2Twins circle.
    2. Oleksandr Stepanets published a series of articles on digital twins.
    3. Even before that, Oleg Kotsar’s article was published, also on the same topic.
  7. APPAU systematized all the work done in the previous period in the UKA KNOWLEDGE BASE. Among them, there are many publications related to innovations, most of the insights, as well as tools for the innovative development of clusters, are collected in the report “Development of innovative ecosystems of Zaporizhzhia and Kharkiv”. Among the recent analytical works of APPAU is an article that systematizes the tasks of innovative brokers in the framework of the innovation cycle of fundraising.

As you can see, a lot of work was done in two weeks. What are the previous results?

The first swallows

Full information about the results is still being collected, and in fact, the form at the end of the post is intended for this purpose.

Previously, the picture looks like this:

The following can be attributed to the successes of the campaign, both within the framework of the set goals and beyond them:

  1. The greatest success at the moment is the awakening of innovative brokers, and precisely from the institutions that are designated for this: DIH KPI and DIH KAU. Finally, experts are starting to do the work that APPAU calls on all university and scientific specialists to do from 2020 – to carry out high-quality systematic work on market awareness, including on innovation circles (grants). In addition, on August 17, an important decision was made to create separate lists of grants for clusters on the UKA platform.
  2. The systematization of the needs of the UKA (10 top needs) should be considered the next achievement. And the community has a big role in this, because this systematization was made possible by the voting and the active participation of experts. In the same category, it is worth noting a significant increase in the number of statements of needs – this is also the reaction of the community to the requests of the campaign organizers. It is a positive signal that tells us that “knock long and hard, the door opens.” Therefore, it is now much easier for us to systematize solutions and involve other market experts in their search, and in general to test new forms of dreammaking.
  3. We saw a good mobilization of certain communities, in particular, experts and activists of the Industry 4.0 community supervised by APPAU showed themselves well and actively. More than half of them are among the participants of the innovation group, and more than a dozen experts, including industrial SMEs, were involved in the speeches and presentations.
  4. The campaign format itself certainly shows itself better than a separate matchmaking event, as evidenced by all the above facts. And this is important to understand – we all have to understand that there is a difference between the matchmaking technique and simple networking, because the result we get is many times higher quality. But in turn, this requires significant and additional efforts. Therefore, there is no question of one-time measures, and in the context of still low trust and skills, there is no question of quick agreements. Quality matchmaking can only be the result of a series of consecutive activities.

The low level of activity of other clusters of UCA should be attributed to the problem areas and areas of UKA growth, and this is especially evident online. We expected the manifestation, to one degree or another, of innovative participants of other hi-tech industrial clusters for which innovations are important: the automotive industry, IAM, aerospace clusters, food and biotech, etc. But actually this did not happen. Moreover, the coordinators of these clusters ignore this campaign. How then do we want their participants to be involved? Those who try their hand at the role of experts (innovative and technological brokers) appear in the role of observers, not active participants, with the exception of one or two, there is no activity from them on the platform.

Thus, the leadership of APPAU members (both in the number of members involved and in active participation) simply emphasizes the marginality of innovation throughout the UKA, in all other branches or spheres. And the second big problem is low online activity.

And we need to work together on both of these challenges. Again and again, the scientists did not show themselves in any way – that is, as institutions, and not as individual experts. Everything is fine with the latter, and if they are properly involved. But within the framework of such campaigns, we would like to hear the voice of leading agencies, universities, research institutes, accelerators or incubators, etc. What is their position on the state of innovation ecosystems in the current conditions? How do they see the needs and threats, what do they propose as solutions? What is the readiness for cooperation? Practically, we haven’t heard anything about it. Although it is not clear what prevents experts from pointing out these needs and solutions in their profile, as the management of APPAU does. And meanwhile, all these institutions should be part of the regional and industry ecosystems that unite clusters of UKA.

And, of course, we also expect much greater activity from the coordinators of the UKA clusters. Of course, 49 people who are interested in the possibilities of the campaign among the several thousand that count in the total composition of the UKA are a minority. What and how the UKA coordinators did to involve their participants in the campaign and whether they did at all, why many of them did not join in person, remains a mystery.

One way or another, these results are also results, that is, we now know our reality. And this means that we better understand what we can and cannot do, and what needs to be worked on. And, therefore, the next time (and there will be) the results of the attachment will be better.

As a reflection, we also come to a deeper and broader understanding of matching. Obviously, in complex things like innovation, it is not only a matter of combining the customer’s needs with the provider’s solution, and with the help of an innovation broker. We are talking about a much larger set of connections and connections – from “hard” (such as information flow management) to “soft” such as relationship management, the ability to be in the moment and in the context (and it is always about relevance), process management and tools that are difficult to formalize. All this will be in the final results.

Summing up

So, the final results will be summed up on August 31 at 4:00 p.m. The campaign jury and the general sponsor (APPAU) are ready to award winners in four categories:

  • The best customer.
  • The best innovator.
  • The best broker.
  • The best matcher (among cluster coordinators).

If within the framework of this campaign you found your partner (from any side, supplier or customer), or paid attention and plan to apply for a grant project, found like-minded partners with whom you started cooperating, involved members of your cluster in new ideas or projects, or any other forms of cooperation, please record it in the form below.

As prizes and awards, the coordination center will recognize you in the relevant nominations, as well as reward you with prizes and gifts, the set of which varies from the provision of consulting services, coaching to free licenses and tickets to exhibitions.

This publication was prepared with support from “EU4Business: SME Competitiveness and Internationalisation” programme which is co-financed by the European Union and the German Government and is implemented by German Federal Company “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH”. The programme aims to create better conditions for the development of Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises, support innovation and export promotion, resulting in sustainable and equitable economic growth. As part of the Team Europe approach, the initiative will also contribute to Ukraine’s COVID-19 recovery.

EU4Business is an umbrella initiative that includes all EU support to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the Eastern Partnership countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. Read more:

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