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Emerging communities for collective innovation: ICT Operational tool and supporting methodologies for SME Associations (collective)
Start date: Jan 1, 2010, End date: Dec 31, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The pace of technological change is accelerating. Radical discontinuities seem to happen more frequently. This means that the useful lifespan of knowledge and capability is becoming shorter and that the obsolescence of knowledge/capability is increasingly the norm in innovation. For incremental innovation, specialisation is a winning strategy, but radical innovation requires an interdisciplinary approach and a diversity of knowledge base that in general SMEs struggle to access. COLLECTIVE aims at solving the major constraints of SMEs innovation (to achieve successful, repeated organizational innovation; access to learning and knowledge processing; access to cognitive diversity; have the possibility to be connected to foster collaborative projects) by feeding the innovation ecosystem, basing on 3 key-concepts: (a)communities become the new organisational unit of the innovation process and define the ecosystem of innovation; (b) generation of innovative ideas, new product development and diffusion of innovations are carried out in parallel by self-organising communities of different actors (i.e.: customers, suppliers, users, experts, social stakeholders); (c) the key aspect that will define success or failure in discontinuous innovation projects will be the amount of cognitive diversity that firms (or groups of) will be able to gather and manage. iCOMMUNITY ICT operational platform will be the backbone of this innovation ecosystem and will let SMEs and SMEAGs: (1) identify future emergent technological and economic trends/discontinuities by developing network-based approaches to early detect ‘weak signals’; (2) manage distributed intelligence and creativity in the process of new product development in order to individuate new product ideas and related business models; (3) design new modular products in a collaborative way reducing the market risk since relevant inputs and feedback from customers and end users will be constantly ‘embedded’ in the design process.

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