I have reported elsewhere about the great news that our transnational BSR project (INET-ICT_LEARN, or short INET) on workplace learning has been funded. To get things moving quickly after the start of the new year, Anne Torunn from the Digin cluster, Tor-Arne Bellika from Innovation Performance, and myself (representing Learning Layers and InnoQuant) organised a kick-off meeting on the Norwegian side of the project that took place on the 16th of January. The goal was to present the project to interested ICT companies of the Digin cluster, learn about their business and their customers, and work with them on formulating some first ideas about where they see opportunities in collaborating with other firms in the region and how they could transform this into added benefits for their customers. We also briefly presented the idea for an international business network in learning and digital content that Digin is promoting as part of the INET project. Here, we are putting together a grant application to Innovation Norway’s Bedriftsnettverk programme that could fund a feasibility study for this network.
The second half of the kickoff was in form of a workshop with a series of hands-on exercises to explore common ground and brainstorm early ideas for joint business cases. We asked the eleven participating companies to think about the value of the business network, the products and services they might be able to improve by being part of the network (and the INET project), additional customer segments they want to reach, what collaborations with other companies in the network might be mutually beneficial, and what internationalisation opportunities they see and how the network can help here. Participants wrote their answers on post-its and put them on a wall display under the heading of their respective company. Once done, they walked down the display to absorb what others had written and make a note of any potential link between their needs and interests and those of the other participants. As a result, we obtained sixteen specific suggestions from the companies about perceived opportunities to work together to improve products and services and, in some cases, create new joint offerings for their customers.
What’s next? For starters, we need to process all the input gathered during the workshop and feed that back to the participants. Then we are going to identify key themes that emerged during the workshop, so we can prepare the follow-up activities when we meet again in early March. By then, we want to have a set of business case ‘skeletons’ we can work with during the meeting and come up with concrete action plans to take the most promising cases forward.
For the connoisseurs of the Norwegian language, here is the link to the post about our workshop in the Digin newsletter.