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Experience Based Business Development in Conventional SMEs
Start date: Nov 1, 2009,

Innovation and creativity as a source of growth is high on the agenda across Europe, which has given rise to increased attention to the so-called experience economy. The experience economy has come to be synonymous with more than the creative and cultural industries and to an increasing extent, experiences are being used as a strategic tool to differentiate products and services in all business sectors. ‘Experiences’ refers to aspects such as a consumer’s particular experience of a product or service; emotions or stories associated to the product. Experiences can be either functional (such as design) or emotional giving the consumer an individual or personal relationship to the product. Likewise, experiences can be used in experiential marketing and communication of both product and company; thus addressing and appealing to the consumer’s heart and emotions rather than brain and rationality. Following from this, the experience economy offers new potential for collaboration and synergies across business sectors: by means of creative competence, conventional companies can develop new products and services or re-develop existing ones. In turn, creative competence comes to constitute a source of innovation and increased competitiveness for companies and for the local-regional economies. Good examples of big companies using creativity, experiences and active participation from the customers already exist but an analysis of the experience based economy from the Danish Reglab (Oplevelsesbaseret Forretningsudvikling, RegLab, Oktober 2008) shows that SMEs are not at all used to thinking about experiences as a strategic development tool, and on top of this, they do not have the resources to do so. The specific objective of the project is to provide regional business consultants with resources and tools, through the development and dissemination of a E-uropean training module, that will enable them to raise awareness within SMEs of the potential of experience based business development as a strategic tool and to facilitate SMEs’ decision making-, planning- and implementation processes of this strategic tool It contributes to bringing new creative knowledge into SME’s business approaches as a means to increase their product and business value on a market where the lowering of raw material prices makes it difficult to bring competitive advantage to products and companies. The scope of the project is thus creative innovation – understood as the generation of new ideas and their exploitation in terms of experience-based business development with a view to adding value to products and services. The overall aim of the project is to contribute to sustaining European local-regional economies by sustaining the competitiveness of SMEs; thus safeguarding businesses and work places within the local economies.. With SMEs being the backbone of the European economy, this project provides an innovative contribution to the objective of the Lisbon strategy of “making Europe the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010”.

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