The scheme has been run in conjunction with the Basque Government Department of Industry, and 153 projects were proposed, 39 of which have been selected for their great interest and marketing potential. After five months’ work, today three working teams were created to enable companies to make contact with the agents from the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Network. The Basque Government will extend this project to Basque companies as a whole this year, particularly SMEs.
The Basque Government Department of Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism and the Mondragon Corporation today jointly held the ‘Mondragon Open Innovation’ event, for advancement as regards innovation requirements in the Basque business fabric.
This main aim of this pioneering Open Innovation initiative is to encourage innovative business projects by placing the capacities of the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Network (RVCTI) at the service of companies.
It is a pilot project run together with the Mondragon Corporation cooperatives, who have conducted an internal process of procurement and selection of scientific and technological needs and opportunities. The network of Basque science and technology agents have been informed of these needs and have offered their skills and experience to provide specific solutions.
The process lasted five months and has involved over 200 Mondragon Corporation cooperatives, the 8 Alianza IK4 Centres, Tecnalia, the three Basque Universities and the 7 Cooperative Research Centres (CIC), plus another 10 innovation centres.
This active participation has led to 153 specific contributions, 39 of which have been selected for their great interest and marketing potential, and these are now set to be presented in three specialist forums.
The forums will take place at the event to be held today at the Garaia Innovation Park, and will involve debate on the proposals between the RVCTI agents and the companies, with a view to starting up projects for collaborative business development and diversification that will result in new companies, new business concepts or significant improvements in the companies’ products and processes.
In 2012 the Basque Government will extend this Open Innovation initiative to the Basque business fabric as a whole and to SMEs in particular, in order to make the most of the skills, experience and potential that have been shown in this pilot project.
The most vital aspect of the scheme is the fact that it is a pioneering open innovation action and it will have tangible results – new business lines, new products and services and new markets – and its innovation application will generate qualified future employment. This project will have a measurable impact on our companies’ business.
The official opening event was participated in by Bernabé Unda, the Basque Regional Minister for Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism, José Mari Aldecoa, the President of the Corporation’s General Council, Javier Sotil, Mondragon’s Managing Director for Innovation, Promotion and Knowledge, Xabier Sabalza, the Basque Government’s Director of Innovation and the Information Society, and Mikel Orobengoa, the Director of the Mondragon Business Acceleration Center (BAC).
In his opening speech, José Mari Aldecoa stressed that this event “is yet another manifestation of our desire for inter-cooperation with the Basque Country’s institutional and business actors in general,” and he added that “we should be more proactive in cooperation in order to generate active policies geared to stepping up the promotion of new business initiatives”.
Regional Minister Bernabé Unda underlined the importance of this pilot project as it will mean “applying market-oriented technology innovation”, one of the cornerstones of the Basque Government Department of Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism’s policy-making activity.
The convention will consist of around 40 parallel work sessions, in which the same number of speakers from the Basque Science and Technology Network will present their proposals to the Mondragon companies. Numerous presentations will be given, covering subjects that range from “Nutrigenetics+Nutrigenomics” to “Electric Powertrains” and including “Software for Computer-assisted Surgery” or “Towards a Generation of Smart Sports Products”.
Around a hundred people from the Mondragon cooperatives and the Basque Technology Park Network have taken part in this event.