Mondragon University (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 4963-4970
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
The average European SME lacks operational profit margin growth, while the superior performance of the other successful companies is driven by the higher income generated from innovations. Thus, European SMEs are becoming more aware that business as usual is no longer sufficient. Their futures depend on their ability to offer innovative products and services, tap into innovative business models, and the innovation of their business processes. Managing the entire process, from new idea to launch, requires a clear innovation strategy, an organizational culture that supports innovation, and processes that ensure that the right ideas are developed quickly (Innovation Management).

However, superior and systematic Innovation Management is currently not established in the average European SME. Current practices usually focus only on selected Innovation Management aspects, such as idea generation or project management, missing out on opportunities that will give the SME the chance to enter into completely new business models. SMEs often do not know what their needs and benefits are in terms of Innovation Management. Therefore , both enterprises and individuals to increase their innovation management capabilities and skills to adjust to this competitive environment.

In this context, the role of the university-industry collaboration is crucial, as universities are natural place to initiate, develop and maintain local lifelong learning programs while also maintaining links with other collaborations on research or development, having a central contribution to the flow of great ideas into the SMEs. These companies, and the people involved, need to update and upgrade of their competence and skills on innovation management, by the development of operational capabilities and strategic capabilities

In this context, the aim of this paper is to show the Mondragon University´s approach to the implementation of a A collaborative university-industry learning experience focused on the development of innovation management capabilities in SMEs. The present paper shows the development and the results achieved through the project MICROPIL. Concretely, this paper explains the processes, tools and outcomes of this experience in several very small SMEs, as long as the experiences obtained, lessons learned and suggestions for SMEs and Universities approaching this challenge.
Innovation management capabilities, SMEs, lifelong learning, university-industry collaboration,