Trifold’s Coaching for StartUps

David Wewetzer during a workshop with researchers in CBS

During a recent series of workshops within the Trifold project, junior scientists of research centers in Tunisia, thinking about running a startup company by bringing a result of their organization to the market, shared their thoughts about pathways to research valorization in Tunisia.

David Wewetzer from Bremen University and part of the Trifold team visited among others the Center of Biotechnology of Sfax (CBS) in November. “My main aim is to help researchers to succeed with their startups,” he said. “There are a lot of opportunities in terms of education and many ideas-good ideas. I am here to offer support, to show the differences of being a researcher and being an entrepreneur. Here, our project activities are addressing all levels of scientific staff in the six partnering institutions“.

 David Wewetzer visited the General Director of CBS, Pr. Sami Sayadi

Imen Zouari, a young engineer and Doctor in Biotechnology at CBS is optimistic about her progress. “I want to formulate and develop a scale-up of my product in a way that can be efficient in the market,” she says. Imen hopes that the Trifold coaching will help her with new ideas to achieve her goals while she is infrastructurally supported by the CBS- business incubator.

The incubator offers accommodation and professional support to newly created companies. In the future, the General Director, Pr. Sami Sayadi, wishes moreover to have lectures and conferences on the topic of startup formation. “This could be helpful for young researchers to achieve a high level with their products and management support,” he says.

When asked about the capacity development activities at CBS, he says: “For us, Trifold is dealing with two things. First, the transfer of our technologies into economic added value and second, a future vision, a roadmap, the building of a strategy.” Pr. Sayadi believes that Trifold is a worthy project. “We can study or gain a good idea on how our Centre could be in 5 or 10 years,“ he says. For Pr. Sayadi it is important that Tunisian research results are available to the regional industry: “It is important – not only in CBS but also in other centers”.

Pr. Sami Sayadi, General Director of CBS

Imen Zouari, Engineer and Doctor in Biotechnology, CBS

Besma Sioud, Engineer in Biotechnology in CBBC and a member of the TTO team called ARTT, says that she would like to see each single scientist to “think about technology transfer in his research.” As a member of ARTT, she would like to achieve more concrete results and hopes that the training and coaching measures of the project will help her team to accomplish this mission.

Besma Sioud

Lobna Mansouri, Chemical Engineer in CERTE, Borj Cédria, adds that for the Tunisian research centers generally “there is a big challenge to improve the relationship of economical and scientific level”. Regarding her coaching within the Trifold project, Lobna says “this is an opportunity to learn something new”.

Lobna Mansouri

 

Technology Roadmapping as strategic tool for research management within TRIFOLD

Professor. Ralf Isenmann provides international expertise to implement the roadmapping approach in the Trifold project

Prof. Ralf Isenmann from Bremen University is recognized as international expert for technology roadmapping, a tool set used in the Trifold project. “The starting point is the focus area, that each partnering research center is defining individually” he says, “because each one has a different set of adressed research subjects and technologies being developed. CBBC for example has its focus in biotech, especially in agriculture. So we decided to frame the generic roadmapping in this area and to customize it to an organization-specific level – “biotech in agriculture” would be too broad to serve as a decision making support tool for CBBC’s research labs”.

Professor Isenmann’s contribution in Trifold is specifically to provide expertise in technology roadmapping to all six partnering Tunisian research centers and all issues around it. “Roadmapping is an excellent instrument for the management of technologies and innovations“ he says. “It has proven its usefulness in the last thirty years in many industries and application purposes including technology transfer and re-arranging respective organizational strategies.”

The roadmap is a tool, flexible in its applications. It helps to systematically develop a clear and visible strategy, integrating future developments of technologies as well as of market requirements and customers’ needs. “A roadmap visualizes a strategy, so it is a powerful instrument for communication, inside an organization as well as outside to any external stakeholders. Due to its tangible visualization, it looks compelling and attractive, while linking market drivers and customer’s needs with design, function and performance indicators of products and with technological solutions, capabilities and other resources needed”.

Roadmapping workshop in CERTE, Borj Cedria

Isenmann compares the process of creating a roadmap for a Tunisian research center with working on a spreadsheet. “You can think of a roadmap is a navigation plan or as an empty table with a number of columns and rows” he argues. “The question is which are the proper levels, the proper names of the rows. Any rows are indicating a perspective that you are looking into the future. Usually, you are just focusing on technologies and on market needs. Integrating this tow perspectives is a very important and crucial task” he points out.

Prof. Isenmann describes the methologogical integration to the other project workpackages in his most recent visits to the research centers in Tunis, Borj Cédria, Sfax and Médnine as a “four-step, fast-start approach”

  1. Give a general introduction to technology roadmapping with its basic principles and project-oriented process model to start and implement quickly
  2. Conduct customized roadmapping, fine-tune it to the specific needs and requirements of each center
  3. Provide management support along the initiated roadmaps
  4. Offer customized trainings and coaching through a fine-tuned series of capacity building modules.

After the implementation in this TRIFOLD project, Isenmann hopes that technology roadmapping might be understood by the Tunisian research managers as a powerful instrument, fully integrated then as an ongoing process linking roadmapping activities with general strategic planning. He says that he would love to see the roadmapping approach as part of any research project, technology development and start-up in all research centers in Tunisia.

 

 

 

Recent actions for the Trifold project

The overarching aim of Trifold is to support the six selected Tunisian research centers in improving their research valorization. Capacity development measures have been implemented to introduce changes to their internal processes in order to increase their transfer and innovation capabilities.

Improved research valorization will have a threefold impact to the national Tunisian innovation ecosystem:

  • In terms of the evaluation methodology to be used
  • In terms of new role models being piloted in some Tunisian research centers
  • and in terms of organizational developments and institutional settings.

Research scientists in CBBC (Centre of Biotechnology of Borj Cendria) introducing their valorization activities to David Wewetzer

In October, the Trifold team from the University of Bremen visited the partnering centers in Tunisia for another working meeting with different labs and to coach their activities and deeper analyse the needs of the institutions:

In CBBC Borj Cedria, Dr. Michael Boronowsky continued the training program based on the innoSpice process capability assessment which was conducted in summer 2017 and generated a detailed assessment report. Following the report’s recommendations, the team from ARTT gets insight into many details of how to develop an individual result into a marketable thematic platform. In addition to the training sessions, individual coaching was also provided.

Participants on the project exchanging ideas about their work plan in ARTT

Ms. Tanja Woronowicz and Prof. Ralf Isenmann, also a member of the University of Bremen, coached their colleagues in IRA Médenine and the centers CERTE and CERTEn in Borj Cedria. Prof. Isenmann introduced to them the methodological approach of technology roadmapping with its principles and benefits for strategic research planning . He customized a technology roadmapping according to the very specific needs and requirements of each institution. In November 2017, both met with the General Directors of CBS in Sfax and IRA Médenine to figure out their fields of potential collaboration via a cooperation roadmap.

David Wewetzer during a workshop about startups with participants from CBS (Centre of Biotechnology of Sfax)

Mr. David Wewetzer of the University of Bremen, during his last visits in November 2017 in Tunisia, provided consultancy services to support company communication of four start-ups at CBS.

 

 

P2L2 – Kick Off Meeting, Bremen

From Unbenannt13.-15.6.2015, the Kick-Off meeting of the P2L2 (Public Policy Living Lab) project takes place. With Bremen as Lead Partner, the project supports six European regions to improve their innovation strategies in the area of advanced materials. The guiding question of this INTERREG EUROPE project is: how can regions co-operate beyond their own organisational boundaries. The two-fold aim is to increase the individual strength of the different locations and the implementation of their RIS3 strategies.

TDWE_0109he project has a runtime of four years and is coordinated by the Innovation Capability Center of the University Bremen. It strategically supported by the Senator of Economy, Labour and Ports and by the Business Development Agency Bremen (WfB) forming the Bremen regional partnership for the project. Besides the Bremen team, public authorities from Denmark, France, Italy, Lithuania and Poland are members of the consortium. Three objectives are addressed by:

  • Fostering research and innovation for an improved cooperation between EU regions in the field of advanced materials. For Bremen there will be a specific focus on the new technology center EcoMat (Center for Eco-Efficient Materials);
  • Coordinating effective regional development and innovation policies. This also includes the question how double structures can be avoided and a better alignment of different actors can be achieved;
  • Improving the toolset and methodologies for the development and implementation of smart specialization strategies. In this context the project will develop a process oriented model, that will be used for a limited policy mapping of the participating regions. This model is based on the innoSPICE, improvAbility and ProductAbility methodology.

The P2l2 project will be implemented in close co-operation with regional stakeholders from science, economy and governmental organizations. One important stakeholder – among others – is the AIRBUS production facility in Bremen, that will host a part of the P2L2 Kick-Off Event. New materials, advanced manufacturing (and 3D printing) are important enabling technologies e.g. for the Aerospace industry. p2l2-footer

ENGAGE selected

Our finished European INTERREG 4C Project ENGAGE logois selected to represent the INTERREG 4C program (now INTERREG Europe) on the 25 years anniversary of the INTERREG program. The event will take place 15.-16.9.2015 in Luxembourg and ENGAGE will be presented during the “Project Slam”. The draft program of this event can be found here.

Among others the project was selected because of its “outstanding” and “cutting-edge” communication strategy with “high reach into politics”. Together with our regional partners from eventfive we were responsible for the planning and implementation of the project communication strategy.

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”.

Michael Boronowsky

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. 

ramses-ws2-groupwork2

Technology Transfer Handbook released

The Technology Transfer Handbook – Moldovan-Estonian cooperation in Technology Transfer by learning good practices, was recently submitted for download as project output of the BITTEM project.

The innovation capability center had supported the BITTEM Project founded by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. BITTEM stands for Bilateral Technology Transfer Excellence for Moldova and was coordinated by Tallinn University of Technology from Estonia (TUT) and Industry of Republic of Moldova (CCI RM), the Agency for Innovation and Technology Transfer (AITT), the Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises Sector Development (ODIMM), the Center for International Projects of the Academy of Science of Moldova (ASM). As a good governance project, BITTEM aims improving the coordination, information flow, transparency, and accountability of the technology transfer process between the most important Moldovan stakeholders and private enterprises, aiming at Public Private Partnership.

Technology_Transfer_HandbookOur team had supported the training event in Feb. 2014 in Chisinau, Moldova and contributed to the Technology Transfer Handbook with a chapter: “innoSPICE: Prepare the implementation in Moldova”.  Reflecting on the potential benefits on the use of innoSPICE for the Moldovan innovation system.

The Project was led by Dr. Siemon Smid one of the leading European experts in technology transfer and Entrepreneurship support.

The handbook can be downloaded here.

First RAMSES workshop at Cairo University

part-of-ramses-team-at-cu

A part of the RAMSES team at Cairo University and the trainers Tanja and Michael from University of Bremen

On 23.3.2015-2.4.2015 the first RAMSES project workshop started at Cairo University CU). Tanja Woronowicz and Dr. Michael Boronowsky from the Innovation Capability Center of TZI at University Bremen started the innoSPICE training. Cairo University nominated participants from three different departments, Science, Nursing and Dentistry under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Mohamed Ewiss. The group of trainees was about 13 people from management and quality assurance from CU. To address the strong interest of CU in setting up an innoSPICE Hub and training center the RAMSES project team decided to increase the specific training on innoSPICE and to train much more innoSPICE experts in the framework of the RAMSES project than initially planned. Goal is to educate the appropriate resources at CU to perform continuous improvement regarding innovation, knowledge- and technology transfer processes of university-, faculty- and department management. A second goal is to prepare the establishment of an innoSPICE hub to offer services within Egypt and the Arab world and training related to quality assurance in these fields.

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The training started with a general introduction to the complex role of a university in a regional (or national) innovation system and the importance of triple helix approaches at the first day. This introduction also provided the base to the process oriented quality assurance standard ISO/IEC 15504 SPICE and motivated the standard based model innoSPICE for its application in universities. Due to the interest in this topic there were very active discussions with the participants and first links were taken to the current situation at CU.

IMG_1017The second day started with a detailed introduction to the RAMSES project presenting project goals and the first year planning. The rest of the training days were dedicated to the innoSPICE methodology. The first part was oriented towards the structure of the process reference model and the principles of a capability assessment. The second part provided a rough overview of the different processes in the innoSPICE model. After this general introduction to innoSPICE the trainer team started to present the processes in detail. All presentations were accompanied by very active discussions regarding the current situation at CU and way to improve these processes. This was helpful for the group to increase their confidence in these topics and surely was a motivation to learn more about these new approaches in quality management. The trainer team was continuously taking care to keep the progress in the training effective. They were refocusing the discussions several times, as discussions regarding concrete improvement actions are planned later in the project.IMG_1016 (1) So, during these workshop days the innoSPICE processes Basic Science Knowledge Creation, Technology Transfer Concept and Tendering were presented and discussed. Even if this workshop was the first contact of the trainees with the innoSPICE process reference model it became quite obvious, that the RAMSES project is on a good track.

As the workshop was divided by a weekend there was a great opportunity to have some visits in the fantastic historic parts of Egyptian culture. With great support of CU we had a very interesting and impressive weekend. And most important a very motivating start of the RAMSES project!