TIMS – Training in Innovation Management System for Sustainable SMEs
The importance of innovation on the survival and competitiveness of organizations is an undeniable fact.Therefore, it is relevant to help SMEs (99%of all businesses in EU) with innovative behaviour and attitudes to achieve/keep their competitiveness and sustainability, resilience and ability to recover from crisis (such as COVID19). The EU Committee for Standardization(CEN) has developed an innovation Management(IM) set of Technical Specifications(TS) that aims to guide organizations to introduce, develop and maintain a framework for systematic IM practices. Establishing such a management system would according to these standards allow any organization regardless of sector, type or size to become more innovative and to achieve more success with their product, service, process, organizational design and business model innovations. The IM will include all activities that are required for generating innovations continuously and can be a stand-alone management system or be integrated into the core operations and management of the organization.
The TS identified as CEN/TS 16555-1to7 will guide on establishing and maintaining an innovation management system in an organization. The future societies, characterized by constant non-expected changes also bring challenges for VET providers and even to VET learners themselves, raising the need to have new and common methodologies (such EQF, micro-credentials and common digital tools) and pedagogical tools, by embracing “open and distance learning” and “digital competences” (one of the key competences for LLL EU reference framework).Never as before, remote working was so needed, and businesses and Education and Training providers needed to found ways to collaborate at distance: co-workers, trainers, teachers, tutors, trainees and students. In this sense, pedagogical methodologies and EU approaches for teachers and trainers is understood as the main tool for preparing these professionals to the education and training challenges, such as creativity, innovation, entrepreneurial thinking, and open and digital competences.TIMS will also address “the learning needs of teachers and trainers” (see Copenhagen Process – https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/MEMO_04_293) with a strong component of project activities dedicated to “Learning, Teaching, Training Activities” for good practices exchange between VET teachers: C1 dedicated to the “EQF” (Learning Outcomes approach) and to the “European approach to micro-credentials”; C2 in a peer-training activity testing TIMS b-learning materials. All the PRs will be open free&accessible at distance, suitable for distance and/or face to face learning; and piloted with end-users during the project lifetime. TIMS project target groups will not only upskill into an emergent area – Innovation Management (IM) – but also will gain “new skills” – “closing existent skills gaps”- needed to actively intervene at a business level, leading to a pathway for SMEs recover from COVID19 economic breakdown, by learning on how to tackle such changes (Risk Management), by implementing IM strategies. TIMS COURSE (PR2+PR3+PR4) –“a flexible and learner-centred VET programme” with a practical “Handbook for Innovation Agents” (PR4) – and “TIMS Self-Assessment Tool for Innovation” (PR1) will provide a holistic view for leadership and innovation by comprising managerial, interpersonal and reflective skills which will then be applied into building innovative modus operandi in European SMEs; based on the CEN/TS 16555 series for IM. TIMS project presents itself as a possible answer to successively manage labour market transitions (unemployment, digitalization, economic cycles/uncertainties – COVID19), by designing an innovative, digital and open access VET programme – suitable for distance learning – that will approach the work between VET providers (and other educational institutions such as NGOs) and businesses (SMEs), along the project cycle and beyond.
Our role in the project
SIGMA will be the leader of Project Result 4 – TIMS HANDBOOK FOR INNOVATION AGENTS where comprehensive HANDBOOK FOR INNOVATION AGENTS will be developed, which will aim to assist VET trainers and mentors of SMEs, senior and middle managers of corporations, HR responsible, Innovation Managers, R+Di staff, team leaders, entrepreneurs, etc.; to guide them in achieving an optimal strategy for the generation of sustainable competitive advantages for the companies.