DAAD RAMSES Assessment Training

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Introduction

The innoSPICE training at Cairo University (CU) was continuing from 8.-12.11.2015. Focus of this training was the performance of an innoSPICE based activity assessment with trainees from the nursing faculty, dentistry and the administration of CU. Beside this initial evaluation, the preparation for the planned innoSPICE assessment pilot and process improvement at level of the nursing and dentistry faculty was discussed. To prepare these assessments, the trainees will perform an analysis and write a report of two existing activities in two departments of each faculty (to be selected), thereby developing a better understanding how far societal or commercial needs are considered in these activities:IMG_1906

  1. The development and submission of the faculty’s research plan and the
  2. linkage and transmission of national priorities discussed in national platforms to suitable transfer policies in the departments.

The analysis will have to identify the status quo and provide initial concepts for improvement within the selected departments:

  • the individual steps, the involved stakeholders and their responsibilities, the administrative procedures
  • current and potential barriers and challenges to respect and to integrate societal and commercial needs
  • potential suggestions for improvement, suitable actions, and required resources.

Based on this analysis – In a second step – the most relevant innoSPICE processes will be identified and mapped to the activities. This set of processes is forming the tailored process assessment model to be used in the innoSPICE departments’ assessment.

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Process Management in Industry 

Beside the RAMSES assessment training, Mr. Rainer Elvermann from cbprocess was invited. Mr. Elvermann is expert in professional process management with a strong background from engineering. He was presenting approaches to context based process management. In several practical examples, he showed how process orientation can support structuring and IMG_1949reduction of knowledge with the use of the right tools. Mr Elvermann also supported the Innovation Capability Center to discuss process orientation and its professional support on management level. The collaboration between University of Bremen and cbprocess was also a source of reference for the training program. As knowledge- and technology transfer is also founded on a proper function of the science industry interface, it was very helpful to have some insights from the management of a company on these topics. Rainer and his colleague Esther Funken participated in the full training and contributed to the discussions from their point of view.

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Result of Self Studies

The trainees presented their understanding to some processes. Several innoSPICE processes (Contact Development, Communication and Tendering) were explained to the IMG_1921audience and discussed. Each presentation explained the original process, provided a description of the process in own words and an example form the scientific domain of the presenter. The trainers supported in sharpening the argumentation and suggested slight improvements of the interpretation of the tasks. In general, it was a very valuable trainings unit, and the trainees were highly committed in understanding these elements of the model.

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IMG_1948Painting the Big Picture

Tanja Woronowicz of the Innovation Capability Center “painted” the big picture of the innoSPICE process reference model. In several visualizations she developed the story of the full innovation cycle turning ideas into economic added value. Her scheme connects the different phases of this cycle to the innoSPICE processes and stimulated active discussions with the trainees. This presentation was intended to support the self studies of the innoSPICE model, as the initial intention of all processes was given. Beside these important details, a very relevant aspect of the innoSPICE model was addressed: Processes can describe similar functions within an organization, but with a different granularity and perspective. E.g. the Technology Transfer Driver process IMG_1941category (TTD) is dealing with the operation of a professional knowledge- and technology transfer. Moreover, there is a Technology Transfer Management process in the Organizational Process Category (ORG). This process describes the strategic element of the implemented technology transfer driver processes. According to an organization’s needs and targets the processes of the TTD processes category are managed by this process – it can be understood as the control process of the innovation funnel . The Support Processes (SUP)  like Alternative Analysis, Decision Making, Measurement, Contact Development, Documentation etc. can be understood e.g. to support all processes of the primary process category. They ensure the integrity of the individual transfer processes and enforce defined procedures.  Like always, the full picture could be even more detailed – but at this stage, it is appropriate  to look at the relation of the most relevant processes.

This big picture was completed with an explanation of the different professional roles of innoSPICE  application, that also can be understood as career path for the trainees:

  • The innoSPICE coach is the quality management expert of knowledge- and technology transfer processes inside an organization and supports their day to day operation. He has a deep understanding of the continuous process improvement within the own organization.
  • The innoSPICE consultant is consulting  different types of organizations for the targeted improvement of specific innoSPICE processes. With a background in innovation management  and in transfer methods, he can help organizations to find suitable measures for effective change. He has the competence to guide an innoSPICE self assessment.
  • The innoSPICE assessor is able to measure the process capability of dedicated innoSPICE processes and has the accreditation to lead assessments. The competence of the innoSPICE assessor is based on a professional background in knowledge- and technology transfer, the innoSPICE process reference model and extensive assessment experience.

One of the targets for the RAMSES training program is to support the trainees to become an innoSPICE coach.

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The Assessment Training IMG_1944

During the training, a real assessment situation was taken to role playing for one process (Technology Tranfer Concept). Like in an full innoSPICE assessment, Tanja and Michael – the assessors – performed a targeted interview with two volunteering trainees. During this assessment role play, there was no discussion with the full audience about the general meaning of the different Base Practices,but the focus was just on the rating and evidence of the trainees. The “assessors” supported to find the right level of rating the different Base Practices. As the chosen assessment approach is based on a guided self evaluation, the final verdict was up to the trainees. It was a very positive experience not only for the assessed trainees and the audience, but also for the assessors which were very satisfied with the focussed and goal oriented discussion.

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Meeting with Prof. Amr Adly from the Electrical Power and Machines Department, the former executive director of STDF (right), Prof Mohamed Ewiss, principle investigator of the RAMSES project (middle), Mr. Rainer Elvermann from cbProcess (left) and Dr. Michael Boronowsky from the Innovation Capability Center.

Addressing the Management Level

Prof Mohamed Ewiss, principle investigator of the RAMSES project organized meeting to introduce Mr. Rainer Elvermann from cbProcess and his company to Prof. Amr Adly from the Electrical Power and Machines Department, councilor of Cairo university for post-graduate studies and research, former executive director of STDF to explore the cooperation of the automation system. Prof. Adly reported that even if Cairo University is an international scientifically highly ranked organization, there is a demand to have a better integration of industrial and societal needs into research activities. He welcomes and supports the ideas of the DAAD RAMSES project to raise the management capacity of CU and was positive about the training and assessment program based on the innoSPICE model. He provided the STDF Anual Report 2014 to give some ideas about the R&D environment in Egypt and Cairo University’s outstanding abilities.

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Prof. Gamal Esmat (Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research- right) and Prof. Mohamed Ewiss (Counsellor of Cairo University – middle) handing over the signed Memorandum of Understanding between Cairo University and University of Bremen to Dr. Michael Boronowsky Managing Director of the Innovation Capability Center – left)

 

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Prof. Abeer Eswi, Vice Dean of the Nursing Faculty in discussion with Rainer Elvermann.

In a meeting with Prof. Gamal Esmat  (Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research) the current state of the RAMSES project implementation was discussed. Dr. Boronowsky reported that the training will now start to practice inside the nursing and dentistry faculty and that the team prepares for an innoSPICE assessment in selected departments in the beginning of next year. This innoSPICE assessment will be performed by the Innovation Capability Team of the University Bremen. Mr. Boronowsky explained, that the current training of innoSPICE coaches is very valuable to support a sustainable process improvement inside the piloted faculties. He emphasized that is will be important to empower these trainees to be responsible for the internal technology transfer quality management at the end of the project.

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IMG_1953Tell us about innoSPICE

An important element of activation in this training unit were presentations of the innoSPICE approach by the trainees. The task given by the trainers was simple: “Present the innoSPICE approach to the colleagues of your faculty to inform them before an assessment takes place”. Goal of this task was to cross check, if the former training sessions provided a solid base for the second year of the IMG_1955project. There was a positive tension, but also the question on how much of the theoretical knowledge is already activated within the trainees. IMG_1957The trust in the capability of the trainees was fully justified and the trainers were very proud to see the great development the trainees after only one year. All presenters found their own interpretation about the needs and values of innoSPICE in the Egyptian innovation system. In several very unique talks a very convincing story was told. The positive finding for the trainers was that it not was just a copied, repeated version of the given lectures’ input. The knowledge about innoSPICE was activated and adapted in a very convincing way to the own needs. The trainers only had minor remarks and the positive spirit of this whole session was the motivating closure of this training. The IMG_1959first project year laid a solid foundation for the next project year that will aim to even more activate the trainees to support the improvement of knowledge- and technology transfer within their own faculties. At the end of the training the whole team was invited to a common dinner, with several informal discussions.

The project – the whole team – is on a promising path. We are happy to continue this very important mission.

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The second RAMSES training workshop took place

IMG_1525The second RAMSES training workshop took place in Cairo from 6.-12.6.2015 and was performed by Dr. Michael Boronowsky from the Innovation Capability Center, University Bremen. The first goal for this training session was to give an introduction to the collaboration tools that were selected for the RAMSES project. A shared document space in the cloud and several shared Google-sheets are used to synchronize the trainings and the “homework”.

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Dr. Michael Boronowsky introduces innoSPICE at Cairo University

One of these sheets has a representation of the innoSPICE model and the trainees will develop “translation” and explanations of the different processes and practices in the terminology and specific cultures of their faculties during the project. The innoSPICE training started with a set of pictures showing different collection of gears. Dr. Boronowsky explained the analogies of these assemblies with different types of organization. Another set of pictures showing plugs and devices was used to illustrate the relation of individual skills and the capability of an organization.

The innoSPICE training was focussing to improve the self study capabilities of the trainees. General difficulties for the trainees are to deal with the very abstract process descriptions and to relate them to real world process implementations. Dr. Boronowsky explained the motivation and the need of the abstraction in the standard based innoSPICE model, followed by a very active discussion of the group. To understand the meaning of a process it is important to catch the intention why such a function might be important inside an organization. The descriptions of the process purpose or the individual base practices of a IMG_1474process are similar to the text of a law. A law often should allow to regulate certain behaviour in an abstract fashion. If it is too concrete, it will only be valid for the concrete case described in the law. So a law will generally be formulated to be valid for a certain class of cases, even for future ones. To understand a law it needs an interpretation. And to have a good interpretation for a law it is helpful to know the intention of the law, to realize why this specific regulation became relevant for society. Similar things can be said about the process descriptions in the innoSPICE model. And like a law – the intention is not written as part of the law, maybe it is documented or research work for historians. As innoSPICE is based on standard procedures in innovation, knowledge- and technology transfer it is much easier to derive the intention of the process.

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Part of the RAMSES team at Cairo University

The important learning goal for this training workshop is to motivate the trainees to think about the intention of the process and to use the available process descriptions to develop the requirements to fulfill this intention. This way the group work became very complex with several longer debates. The current training will help to increase the efficiency of these discussions in the future.

IMG_1476A second help for a better analysis of the individual processes was given during the training. Several processes are based on a similar pattern in the order of the base practices – they follow a Plan-Do-Check-and Act cycle. E.g. the innoSPICE Process DEV 5 (Prototype Development) – Base Practice BP1-BP4 are concentrated on the planning of the prototype, BP6-BP6 are related to the design and implementation of a prototype (so the “doing”) and BP7-BP8 are about test and evaluation (Check) and BP9-BP10 are preparing at least the improvement of the prototype (so a not fully implemented “Act”). The awareness of such a pattern is an important support in understanding the process. In addition a second pattern was presented, that can be found e.g. in TTD1 (Technology Transfer Concept). In this process the base practices are requiring the collection of individual information (BP1-BP7) and the last practice BP8 is the aggregation of the information that is collected before in a report (here BP8 – the technology transfer concept).

Beside this general aspects during the workshop DEV1 (Knowledge Creation Project Proposal Preparation). In this process there was a discussion e.g. to whom a proposal is submitted and other aspects like “according to programs objective” was clarified. DEV5 Prototype development was broadly discussed and the different types of prototypes were introduced (e.g. scientific prototype vs. industrial prototype). It was summarized, that a prototype is also a tool for communication with potential stakeholders – it is different to the prototype that was e.g. developed during the research. The prototype on DEV5 has the goal to transform the results into the context of an application, illustrating a function that is enabled by the research result.  As the Technology TransfIMG_1477er Concept (TTD1)  is very fundamental in the transfer chain and the trainees had several open questions, this process became the base for further discussions. Michael used this process and draw the relation to the prototype development process, to illustrated that these processes are in correspondence. It shows that there are interfaces between knowledge developer (the scientist) and the transfer drivers (e.g. technology transfer officers) – as prototype development can be supported by e.g. technology transfer office supporting the definition of features , definition of target groups etc. Same applies to knowledge creation processes DEV2,3,4.

The training workshop also had sessions with group work. The trainees were asked to present their descriptions of the TTD1 (Technology Transfer Concept) process. The groups were structured according to the different faculties and the individual presentation of the results made clear, that parts of the group were still oriented too strong in the wording of the process but the very activeIMG_1513 and intense discussion slowly generated the understanding  that the intention of the process is the better guide to learn the details of the processes.  The fourth day of the workshop started with a detailed discussion of the Work Environment process. The trainees developed a good understanding of this process quickly. Beside this several genreal aspects were discussed in this context, like:

  • Every process needs an responsible process owner. That does not mean that this person has to implement all practices. He or she has the responsibility to manage the process and ensure proper operation.
  • Several innoSPICE processes distinguish between maintenance of the plan and maintenance e.g. of the working environment  (so the implementation of the plan). It is important not to mix it up, as people maybe are aware to maintain the thing they directly connected with (like the work environment) but are not clear about update of the general plan.
  • To perform an assessment of an process you have not to be an full expert in the area being assest.
  • The processes in the innoSPICE model are a decomposition of activities within an organization related to innovation, knowledge- and technology transfer. According to the specific distribution of work and responsibilities within an organization, several innoSPICE processes can be (partially) executed  by a single person in the organization.

IMG_1527After this lightweight introduction for starting the day the trainees were facing the toughest challenge. The plan for this day was focused on the introduction to the universe of the Technology Transfer Driver processes (TTD1-TTD13). Even if the level of detail was very reduced it was hard stuff. The trainer Michael decided to give this introduction to explain how the individual processes are related to the innovation funnel. The individual processes have different functions at different phases of the innovation funnel. To understand the processes it is important to understand the innovation funnel and when a process is generally applied. However, the lecture was recorded, and Michael was referring several times that the trainees can look at the details again in the video. But he also promised to write down the details later on and make it available. The trainer had recommend the group to look for and study literature in the area of:

  • Innovation Managment (eg. http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-EHEP003053.html)
  • Market and Competitive Analysis
  • Go to Market estimation
  • Value proposition statement
  • Business plan and business case development

On the last day of the Workshop it is planned to discuss another 2-3 processes of the process reference model. Even if there is still a long way to go, the huge interest of the trainees in the particular topics and the active discussion of all participants is a positive motivation for the trainer but also for the trainees.

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Meeting at the presidents office. Prof. Nasser (middle), Prof. Ewiss (right) and Dr. Boronowsky (left)

The very intense workshop ended with a visit at the president office of Cairo University. Prof. Mohamed Ewiss and Dr. Michael Boronowsky informed the President Prof. Dr. Gaber Gad Nassar and the General Secretary of Cairo University, Yousry Ibrahim, about the progress of the RAMSES project. It was reported, that the trainees are very motivated and that they are very expertised to relate the processes in the innoSPICE model to the operation in the different faculties. According to the current state of discussion the innoSPICE approach is very suitable to be applied in the structures of Cairo University. The RAMSES project runs under direct responsibility of Prof. Nassar and he was satisfied about the state of implementation. It was agreed to communicate the RAMSES project also on a higher political level, as this project has the potential to generate an impact to the structure of the science system in Egypt. 

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SATIS project is about to start

Parts of the SATIS project team from Bremen University were invited to the 6th international conference of ESES (Egyptian Society for Environmental Sciences) 2015 on “Genetics, Biotechnology and Sustainable Development in Safe Environment” (2.-4.2.2015). Prof. Hartmut Köhler and Dr. Thomas Buse from the UFT at University of Bremen and Dr. Michael Boronowsky from the TZI – Innovation Capability Center  at University of Bremen.

Prof. Raouf Mustafa and Dr. Michael Boronowsky are meeting to formally start the SATIS project.

Prof. Raouf Mustafa and Dr. Michael Boronowsky are meeting to formally start the SATIS project.

Prof. Köhler was invited by Humboldt Foundation to chair the opening session of the conference and to present his research regarding ReviTec (Effective university cooperation in combating soil degradation and desertification – Germany, Cameroon, Egypt) and Dr. Buse was presenting his research. Dr. Boronowsky was invited from Humbold Stiftung and DAAD to Suez Canal University to present the new DAAD projects RAMSES and SATIS projects coordinated by University Bremen in the opening session of the conference. The topic of the presentation was “Innovation capability and ISO/IEC15504 innoSPICE – an European Perspective – Universities as Actors in the Regional Innovation System (you can download presentation here ).