Gearing up Industry 4.0 – Digitization Strategies for SMEs

IMP³rove Academy supported the APO Publication on “Gearing up Industry 4.0 – Digitization Strategies for SMEs” as volume editor and with the benchmarking study comparing the IMP³rove Digital Innovation Quotient of SMEs in APO member countries and outside.

Industry 4.0 has become a major issue in most of the national economies as a source for significant productivity gains. As small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a major role in most of the economies, digitization strategies for them are of major interest for governments, academia, trade associations, business partners, and most importantly, for the SMEs themselves. However, most of the SMEs in developing countries still operate
in a traditional manner. To cope with the workload, they hire additional workers who are rather cheap as they are not very skilled, instead of investing into automation as an investment into their future. Further, lacking skilled workers, SMEs are unable to identify and exploit opportunities for innovation. This creates another barrier to sustainable growth.

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5 years anniversary

5 Year Anniversary of IMP³rove - European Innovation Management Academy

From an idea to innovation
Innovation isn’t about how much money an organisation has to spend, Steve Jobs once claimed: “It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”
We know that companies can only survive and thrive if they continuously offer products and services that inspire and keep their customers hooked. We know how crucial it is to recognise the best ideas and we don’t just teach how to implement them – we can teach how to commercialise them. The IMP³rove Academy’s mission is to make sure none of its clients end up stuck in the past. We don’t want them tied to a landline when they could be fully mobile on a smartphone. Thanks to the innovative benchmarking tool that we have exclusively developed, we make businesses fit for the future.

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Digital@EVU 2019
Energy companies expect a significant increase in turnover from digitalization

The digitalization barometer developed by BDEW, A.T. Kearney and IMP³rove Academy exhibits great potential for turnover and cost reduction.

The German energy industry sees great potential in further digitalization, yet is not exploiting its potentials to the fullest. These are the findings of the third “digital check” by BDEW, A.T. Kearney and IMP³rove Academy, which 80 German utilities companies participated in. In this study the participating companies were asked to indicate their expected added turnover and potentials for cost reductions driven by digital offerings and technologies.

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IMP³rove offers a “Mini MBA” on Innovation Management

Companies see the benefit – and the need – to develop their innovation management system. They understand that this is the pre-requisite for their future profitable growth and competitiveness. However, knowledge in innovation management is not yet sufficiently developed within many organisations. Therefore, IMP³rove Academy has developed a training programme which follows the process of developing a highly visionary idea into a successful innovation.

The training focusses on innovation capacity development for ambitious individuals who seek to prepare for, or improve at, a role as an Innovation Responsible within a company, or anyone who wants to gain a qualification in innovation management. The training develops skills required to successfully develop brilliant ideas into successful and sustainable innovation projects.

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A.T. Kearney and IMP³rove Academy support the ISPIM Dissertation Award 2019

We are proud to inform you that A.T. Kearney and its innovation management subsidiary IMP³rove – European Innovation Management Academy are co-sponsoring the International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM) Dissertation Award 2019. The annual ISPIM Dissertation Award is made for students completing a path-breaking PhD within innovation management during the previous year. The call for submissions for the 2019 award is open and will close on 22 February 2019. The winner will be announced at the ISPIM Innovation Conference in Florence, Italy, in June 2019. ISPIM will also publish a book with the top 30 dissertations together with their publishing partner Vernon Press.

The call for submission as well as further information can be found on:

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APO Workshop ecosystem

Industry 4.0 Readiness: Assessment and Steps for Manufacturers - Workshop in Taipei

Dr. Eva Diedrichs, Managing Director of IMP3rove – European Innovation Management Academy, was invited by APO, Asian Productivity Organisation, to co-facilitate the workshop on Readiness for Industry 4.0, from 25 to 29 June 2018 in Taipei, Republic of China. Together with 20 representatives from 13 different APO member countries, Dr. Diedrichs addressed the importance of digital innovation in the context of Industry 4.0, and shared the IMP³rove Academy’s expertise in assessing and developing the capabilities of digital innovation on firm-level as well as on the level of digital innovation ecosystems and coutnries. During this workshop the delegates visited Sha Yang Ye Industrial Co. Ltd., an innovative robot maker transformed from a traditional gear manufacturer.

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business women and lightbulb innovation concept presented by a consultant in management business.

IMP³rove Academy supports the development of ISO standard on innovation management

How could innovation management be standardised? The International Standard Organization identified a need for addressing this question because they observed three main drivers: 1. Companies world-wide and across all scales are aware of the impact of innovation management on their business success and are in search for guidelines on developing their innovation management. 2. Public institutions around the globe want to provide better support to enhance innovation management capabilities, especially in SMEs. 3. National and European standards have been implemented successfully that the new ISO standards can draw on.

With our expertise in innovation management we support the development of the standardisation documents on innovation management assessment as convener of the relevant working groups both on CEN and ISO level. As a result, the CEN/TS 16555-7 has been published and adopted in the European countries. Furthermore, the IMP³rove Assessment has been incorporated in CEN CWA 15899 on standardisation of an innovation capability rating for SMEs. The ISO standardisation document on innovation management is expected to be published by end of 2018. Experts who want to join the working group on innovation management assessment are welcome. Just send an email to

Discussion on Industry 4.0 at UNIDO_1
Discussion on Industry 4.0 at UNIDO_2
Robot Franka and the international expert panel

50th Anniversary of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO): Eva Diedrichs moderated the panel on opportunities and challenges of Industry 4.0

Eva Diedrichs, Managing Director of IMP³rove Academy, moderated the international expert panel on “Industry 4.0: Opportunities and Challenges for developing countries and economies in transition” on the occasion of the celebrations of UNIDO’s 50th Anniversary on 23 of November 2016.

The UNIDO Department of Trade Investment and Innovation invited international highly acknowledged experts from both developing and developed countries: Sami Haddadin, Institute of Automatic Control, Leibnitz University Hanover, Germany, inventor of the revolutionary robot Franka Emika; Rohani Hashim, Secretary General of World Association of Technological and Industrial Organisations (WAITRO) including more than 150 organisations from almost 80 countries; Magnus Karlsson, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden focusing on innovation management in large organisations; Chunlong Liu, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of China to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) taking a strong focus on sustainability; Ramachandran Sundararajan, Principal Consultant in Solutions Design team, Manufacturing at Infosys BPO, Bangalore, India developing new points of view and solutions based on global trends.

Eva Diedrichs highlighted the following key discussion points:

  • Take major efforts to train and educate the people: First and foremost, education for Industry 4.0 means providing access to education for everybody in many developing countries. Secondly it means, teaching young students entering the labor market what automation, digitisation means and how they can find a job in learning how to maintain a highly automated plant.
  • Make technologies available so that they can be scaled: Making technologies available is the one side of the coin, the other is the absorption capacity of the companies. It is the appropriate level of sophistication in the technologies that companies in China can absorb compared to micro enterprises that we see in Africa.
  • Move from competition to connectition: The question whether the global value chains will become more global or more fragmented could not be finally answered. If you can print whatever you need in exactly the shape and material that you need it in, some markets might become again very local or regional, others might become even more global. Due to connectivity we can search for exactly the right chair or the perfect music instrument on a global scale. Therefore, the move from competition to connectition might still be in its infancy.
  • Take a rather customised approach to prepare for Industry 4.0: In industrial countries such as Austria, Germany etc. the task is more to re-train the already skilled labor force. While in Indonesia, Vietnam and other developing countries the skills have to be developed. Here you can often start from scratch without “unlearning” what you were used to for the last 20 years. UNIDO’s challenge is to tailor the support actions to these specific needs, and with unpredictable or unforeseeable developments of Industry 4.0 they might have to take a more agile and innovative approach in their support actions, allowing for more experiments, providing best practices, case examples, lessons learned.
  • Don’t forget the implementation: With the call for action, we see many public institutions developing their strategies or roadmaps to prepare for Industry 4.0. Yet, very often these strategies lack the implementation plan, describing who will be responsible, which tools will be applied and what timeline and effort is foreseen. As a result, there is little impact from these strategies or roadmaps.
  • Exploit the potential of Industry 4.0 on sustainability: Sustainability could become a key benefit as a result of Industry 4.0. Imagine, if we are not stuck in traffic jams wasting our time on the road rather than on contributing to productivity. If goods can be produced locally without energy- and time-consuming transportation.
  • Highlight the benefits of Industry 4.0 rather than their challenges: Highlighting the benefits of Industry 4.0 as the chance to improve the standard of living will help to overcome the challenges that many of us will see when getting prepared for automation, for robots, for our cyber identity.

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Eva Diedrichs says “Smart cities need smart SMEs"

Eva Diedrichs says Smart Cities need Smart SMEs

Eva Diedrichs, Managing Director of IMP³rove – European Innovation Management Academy, gave a speech at the 12th INSME Annual Meeting in Doha/Qatar which centered around “Enabling Smart SMEs as Key to Success”. The challenge is to identify where the SMEs are that have the potential to contribute to the development of Smart Cities, and further develop their “smart” capabilities. The majority of SMEs need to be developed to benefit from the opportunities that Smart cities offer for further future growth. Developing the SMEs’ innovation management capabilities is the basis to build upon. The IMP³rove support services are a catalyst in the development of SMEs.

About the 12th INSME Annual Meeting

“In the frame of the multicultural and vibrant Doha environment, Members and Delegates met on the occasion of the 12th INSME Annual Meeting hosted by Qatar Development Bank (INSME Board Member) from the 12th to the 14th of April. The audience benefited from the expertise of international innovation practitioners and high level speakers that offered insightful thoughts and approaches on innovation and entrepreneurship. The networking opportunities with peers from all over the world have been particularly appreciated by participants that actively contributed to the Round Tables, the International Conference and the International QDB – INSME Expert Training.”


France’s Tarkett and Italy’s Cosberg win the International IMP³rove Award 2015

France’s Tarkett and Italy’s Cosberg win the International IMP³rove Award 2015

The 3rd annual International IMP³rove Award is granted to companies that have demonstrated sustainable growth based on systematic innovation management. This year, more than 100 nominations from 2,000 applicants based in America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania were considered. The finalists of this international competition were celebrated in an award ceremony during the Turkish Innovation Week 2015 in Istanbul. The winning companies stand out for the distinctiveness and performance of their innovation management practices and are an inspiration for other companies around the globe:

The winner in the category of large corporations is Tarkett (France), a leader in flooring and sports surface solutions that combines strategic foresighting with collaborative innovation methods. Based on this approach, Tarkett successfully launched a smart flooring solution for the healthcare and aged care sector: invisible sensors that monitor patients’ movements and can alert a nurse in case of a fall.

Cosberg (Italy), the winner among small and medium-sized companies, manufactures machines to automate production processes. Cosberg received the award for its knowledge management platform that systematically merges feedback from suppliers and customers with lessons learned from the Cosberg teams to form a unique database of improvement suggestions.

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EU-China Business & Technology Cooperation Fair

IMP³rove Academy participates in EU-China Business & Technology Cooperation Fair X

IMP³rove Academy will participate in the 10th. EU-China Business & Technology Cooperation Fair on 9-11 November 2015 in Chengdu, China. It provides THE cooperation platform in China for investment, trade and technology between EU and China. During the Chengdu Event Eva Diedrichs, Managing Director, will share global best practices in innovation management. These best practices are distilled from the IMP³rove Benchmarking Database with more than 5,000 companies and from the world-wide experience gained in developing IMP³rove-powered innovation eco-systems.

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Eurozone flags reflectig in EU Parliament building

International IMP³rove Roundtable: Fostering Cohesion with Innovation

IMP³rove – European Innovation Management Academy invites key decision makers of all European Regions, national authorities in charge of managing European Cohesion and Regional Development Funds as well as other interested stakeholders to the International IMP³rove Roundtable 2015 on “Fostering Cohesion with Innovation” on November 25, 2015 in Duesseldorf. 

The objective of this International IMP³rove Roundtable is to create awareness for the gaps between the innovation/smart specialization strategies of the regions (the “What”) and the approaches and tools (the “How”) to achieve the defined targets. Moreover, the IMP³rove Roundtable will serve to offer a platform to discuss possibilities of closing the gaps and understanding needs of partners – and how to address them. In addition, we will also take a look into non-European approaches and how to learn from their success. This will be an excellent opportunity to establish and deepen relationships with public institutions interested in developing projects financed by the European Cohesion Funds. An analysis has shown that all European regions have developed their “Smart Specialisation Strategies”, however most of these strategies lack the implementation planning and execution.

We are looking forward to your registration ideally by November 5, 2015, by sending an email to: and to welcoming you then in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any further information that you might need.

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light bulbs sketched on chalkboard Many small ideas make a big one

Third Edition of EU Prize for Women Innovators

As ambitious leaders of your enterprises you have successfully completed our IMP³rove assisted assignments. This shows your sincere interest in innovation topics.
Therefore, allow us to inform you that the European Commission is running the third edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators to reward three women who have achieved outstanding innovations and brought them to market. The prize aims at raising awareness of the need for more female entrepreneurs and to inspire other women to follow in their footsteps.

The first prize is worth €100.000, the second prize €50.000 and the third prize €30.000. This contest is open to all women residing in the EU or in associated countries who have founded or co-founded a company across all sectors and who have, during the course of their careers, benefitted from EU’s research and innovation funding.

As the deadline for applications is approaching (October 20, 2015), we figured you might be interested in applying. A high-level jury will evaluate and select the three winners who will be announced in 2016.

We wish you the best of luck!

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GII News

Global Innovation Index 2015

IMP³rove – European Innovation Management Academy is knowledge partner of the Global Innovation Index 2015. The GII, co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), surveys 141 economies around the world, using 79 indicators to gauge both innovative capabilities and measurable results. Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States of America are the world’s five most innovative nations, according to the Global Innovation Index 2015.

To provide a business perspective on innovation policies in the focus countries of this year’s Global Innovation Index (GII), a survey of over 400 business leaders across several different countries was conducted by A.T. Kearney and IMP³rove – European Innovation Management Academy.

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Marseille, France panorama at night. The famous european harbour view on the Notre Dame de la Garde

MARE Match-Making Event, June 3rd, 2015 in Marseille, France

Join the MARE Match-Making event on June 3rd, 2015 in Marseilles, Palais de la Bourse, Canebière – Marseille. Learn more about good practices on Transfer Technology and generate new cross-Mediterranean projects in research, development, or innovation in the MED area.

The cluster and PRIDES, Capenergies invites you to join the workshop. The registration is free but compulsory with Céline  Tel: +33 (0),

Organized within the framework of the project MARE, this event will provide an executive workshop for SMEs, researchers and EU projects on the technology pillars of RES Microgrids, RES Desalination and Energy Efficiency in Buildings. The aim is to generate new cross Mediterranean projects of research, development, demonstration or innovation in the MED area based on exchanges of good practices on Transfer Technology.

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Light Bulb

UNIDO's International Award 2015

IMP³rove Academy supports UNIDO’s International Award 2015 to identify and award the most interesting innovative ideas and technologies for agribusiness. If you and/or your clients are active in the agribusiness, you are invited to submit proposals and take part in the International Award 2015 organized in the framework of EXPO Milano 2015. The international call for tender is open to innovative ideas and technologies on agribusiness aimed at identifying the best technologies available that could lead to social and economic improvements if or when implemented in Developing Countries.

The initiative is organized by UNIDO ITPO Italy in collaboration with the Italian National Research Council; the applications must be received by June 30 th, 2015 through the following website:

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Innovation For International Markets – How Export Oriented Are Innovation Oriented SMEs In Europe?

Development of ISO Standardisation Document on Innovation Management Assessment

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has established a technical committee on “Innovation Management Systems”. Within this technical committee a study group on “Innovation Management Assessment” has recently been established. This study group will prepare for developing standardization documents on “Innovation Management Assessment”.
The first meeting of this Study Group will take place on:

14-16 April 2015
Standards Norway
Mustads vei 1
NO-0283 Oslo

This is an excellent opportunity to shape the future standardization documents on “Innovation Management Assessment” and to network among the international group of innovation management experts. If you are interested in taking part there, please register via your national standardization agency for the Study Group 4 “Innovation Management Assessment”. The information on the ISO TC 279/SG 4 and the agenda will be provided to the national standardization agencies.

Road and Yellow arrow.

IMP³rove Academy supports the UK Futures Programme

Innovation in manufacturing is a challenge and hence developing the right skills in this area is a pre-requisite for success. The UK government has therefore launched the UK Futures Programme whereby a competition under this programme called Skills for Innovation in Manufacturing invites employers to propose innovative solutions to develop, pilot and scale-up skills and management practices that support the innovation process – specifically around the management and commercialisation of innovation. The UKCES will co-invest up to £150,000 per project, with a total budget of up to £1m available.

For more information send an email to

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