Grant application for transnational knowledge exchange and business network in workplace learning

on October 31 | in Clusters, Learning Layers | by | with Comments Off on Grant application for transnational knowledge exchange and business network in workplace learning

Today we submitted a grant application to the BSR Stars program with colleagues from the Digin cluster, the InfinIT network, and the Service Cluster Denmark. National and regional agencies in the Baltic region use the BSR Innovation Express scheme to fund transnational projects that support the internationalisation of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through cluster initiatives and business networks. In this project, SMEs providing ICT-based learning services and solutions team up with companies from the knowledge-intensive business service sector to develop new concepts and strategies in workplace and mobile learning for industry. We believe that opening up attractive international markets and business opportunities in this area can help ensure continuing innovation and growth for the participating firms.

The goal of the project is to develop new concepts of services and solutions for contextual, just-in-time workplace learning in industry. Our plan is to create a platform for exchange of knowledge and expertise, develop common business cases, establish an international business network, and build trust and long lasting relationships among SMEs and other key actors in Agder (Southern Norway) and the Greater Copenhagen region. To make this a success, we are going to build on the complementary strengths of these regions in service design, learning technologies, and the innovative use of ICT in industry.

We expect that the project, if funded, will bring a number of benefits to the businesses and the regional economies in Denmark and Norway. The knowledge exchange platform and the international business network support companies and cluster organisations in their efforts to intensify and systematise the collaborations and joint initiatives launched during the project. Since both the SMEs and the cluster organisations bring complementary knowledge and competences to the table, we are hoping for a positive impact from sharing of expertise and good practices. The project also offers the participants the opportunity to gain valuable insights into working together across regions that can later be transferred to other international collaborations. SMEs can gain in many more ways from the project, such as setting up joint business ventures, creating new services concepts for workplace learning, and increasing their awareness and capacity to design new services and business models.

In Norway the initiative is led by the Digin cluster and in Denmark by the InfinIT network and the Service Cluster Denmark. Digin is an ICT cluster located in Agder, Southern Norway, with over 60 companies specialising in products and services in e-learning,  multimedia content, IT infrastructure, information security, and business consulting. InfinIT is a Danish network of companies, universities, and research centres promoting the innovative use of ICT in industry to improve productivity, innovation, and growth. Service Cluster Denmark has over one thousand members from the traditional service sector, knowledge intensive business services, and industry service units who collaborate with universities and research centres to create better services and develop new business models. Around one hundred companies and some of their clients will participate in project activities and we expect to reach over one thousand SMEs through a range of dissemination actions and an international workshop.

This is the first bid for external funding of work we are doing with managed clusters in the context of the EU project Learning Layers. Findings from interviews with cluster organisations during the second year of the project showed that adoption of innovative collaboration and learning technologies is low among SMEs and that services which use those technologies might find higher acceptance. The BSR Stars bid brings together ICT firms, service companies, and industry to explore this idea and develop new service concepts for ICT-enabled workplace learning.

We keep our fingers crossed that funders are equally excited of the prospects offered by this project.

Featured image by moz278 distributed under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license

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