Improving continuous innovation
ACCELERATE immediately had an impact on the
project’s partners, during and after the project. For
Finland, Elektrobit (since 2015 Bittium) had used the traditional
stage-gate model for their ideation for
well over ten years. In the stage-gate innovation process, the collected ideas were used only to create
intellectual property rights (IPR), and therefore involved only a limited number of experts. But without
common, familiar practice to present ideas, especially business ideas for the decision makers, and
well-defined criteria to assess the potential value of the ideas, the quality of the ideas varied a lot,
the link to the company’s business targets missed completely. Consequently, the lead time of idea
varied and many of the ideas remained a bit fuzzy, which also led to decreased employee motivation to
propose ideas. To improve the situation, the company set out innovation approach to have more radical
innovations (products or applications) to be able to scale the business aiming to utilise the full
of the entire organisation. The first step in the journey of improving continuous innovation was the
deployment of an innovation management information system tool for collecting all ideas and covering the
innovation process from idea harvesting to the business validation. During and after the project,
new business innovations led to either improvement of the products or to completely new innovations.
However, the biggest change made was to evolve the company culture for the innovations. This kind of
culture needs to be fostered continuously. During 2015-2018, Bittium grew significantly and evolved to a
clearly more product and innovation-driven company than previously. This is also evident in the revenue
share; the product-based net sales rose from 37% in 2H.2017 to 56% in 1H.2019 and the net sales
about 16% between 1H.2018 and 1H.2019.
Major efficiency gains and growth
Based on the ACCELERATE results, the level of
automation for the Finnish industry partner, AAC
increased significantly from where they started; in a typical process, the estimated increase of
steps is 15%. The turnaround times and go-to-market of new services and updates to existing services are
shorter than before participation in the project. They are now also able to integrate seamlessly to
customers’ processes and hence to increase automation and smart processes even more. ACC Global most
would not have reached this level of automation and systematic approach without ACCELERATE. In the
they created completely new service channels and services for our customers, and also monitored closely
customer feedback and the ROI regarding the services. These processes and channels are still in use in
company and being constantly maintained and developed. Despite the fact that AAC Global’s ownership has
changed several times since the project start, benefits from the project are still reaped in the daily
operations and it is now planned to also scale this to other companies: this year the customer portal
backend processes that were a part of the ACCELERATE
project will be shared with the global group of
companies, Acolad Group, they are part of now. The efficiency increase gained from ACCELERATE
planned to be scaled up to other entities in the group.
BEIA’s telemetry start-up in Romania has been improved through the ACCELERATE
awareness of telemetry systems among potential clients, as well as increasing the visibility of the
solutions in both online and offline environments. Even more, the company has become a reseller in
for F-Secure, one of the Finnish partners from ACCELERATE.
The start-up has expanded its’ telemonitoring
solutions from agriculture fields to heliports, photovoltaic parks and smart buildings. BEIA Telemetry
undergone huge growth; from the end of the project until the end of 2019 the hiring rate has gone up to
and, in terms of partnerships, three more manufacturers have been contracted with BEIA now offering more
precise solutions for indoor and outdoor measurements, like air and water quality, weather forecasts,
on-site sensors and satellite scans.
For Mondragon University in Spain, the methodologies and tools identified and designed
in ACCELERATE to
address the original objectives/challenges have been continuously implemented since the project ended.
Every year, two or three contests are organised at University involving different groups of students,
companies and territorial agencies. Company’s requests for projects have increased every year. Companies
request projects aligned with their strategy. In many cases, those projects are adopted by the company
as solutions to their needs and about 15-20% of the students end up working there. Companies use these
projects not only to enhance their knowledge and capacity but also to scout for good reliable workers.
Mondragon University has activated new measures to enhance the participation of students in
ITEA was a catalyst for validating the results of CogniStreamer, like the Nimble Bee
program - developed
during the course of the project and already commercialised - which assists in solving product and
package design challenges with an international community of university students.
The Nimble Bee competition takes place on a secure, closed (cloud-based) platform that allows companies
to launch strategic challenges to a tailored community of students. Universities participating in the
Nimble Bee competition come from different parts of the world (Asia, Europe, Americas) and include both
design-oriented as more technical-focused schools like Mondragon University in Spain (who was also a
consortium member of the ACCELERATE project).
Since the launch of the Nimble Bee program, different
challenges for Procter & Gamble, Heineken, McBride, ABInBev, Samsonite and AGC Automotive were
successfully hosted. At this point in time, Nimble Bee has involved 2,060 students and solved 21
challenges, with an average of 42 submitted designs per challenge. The sponsoring companies used the
option to buy the full intellectual property rights for, on average, 3 designs per challenge.
And last, but not least, Aptual created a new spin-off, Johku, on the basis of the
in the project and the Belgian SME Zenjoy has enjoyed a revenue growth of 33% thanks to
results. But the impact is not just financial – more and better qualified employees, better clients,
more professional R&D, new products and services as well as a quicker go-to-market process are among the
other impactful effects of the project on Zenjoy.