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:
- The development and submission of the faculty’s research plan and the
- 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.
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 reduction 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.
Result of Self Studies
The trainees presented their understanding to some processes. Several innoSPICE processes (Contact Development, Communication and Tendering) were explained to the audience 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.
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 category (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.
The Assessment Training
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.
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.
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.
Tell 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 project. There was a positive tension, but also the question on how much of the theoretical knowledge is already activated within the trainees. The 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 first 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.