Connection to DIHNET
To kick-start the position, post-project BOWI activity – the Academy – will make use of an existing brand that some of the partners were involved in: DIHNET. By collaborating and leveraging on each other’s assets, both networks can benefit by increasing each other’s the value proposition and efficiency by reducing duplication of efforts (e.g., in infrastructure, communication effort, etc).
The DIHNET project established a strong brand in Europe in the period of 2018-2021. Being thought leaders on the future of the European innovation ecosystem and facilitating networking and sharing expertise, this brand will be used for the post-project activities of the BOWI-project.
The added value of DIHNET lays in its successful community and established brand. This network has a strong brand throughout Europe as an umbrella network that focuses on supporting EDIHs, DIHs and other network organisations with visionary concepts, information sharing and making connections between regional networks on European level. The DIHNET community and brand offers the opportunity to connect to a European network of over 1,800 experts and therefore expand the outreach of the BOWI corridor training programme (to be rebranded to DIHNET Academy). The DIHENT community has also established connection with a number of other EU networks, thus offering possibilities for future alignment. The communication channel of DIHNET (newsletters, etc.) proofed to be highly successful. Also, the DIHNET track record showed that initiating working groups had vast attraction, as participation was strong. Also, webinars organised by DIHNET showed high interest. We believe that positioning the post-project BOWI activity as the DIHNET Academy will benefit from its brand and will leverage on the breadth and economies of scale of (some) communication activities.
Respectively, the BOWI train-the-trainer strategy, encompassing training and coaching as well as a peer-learning opportunity, can create interest and momentum in the DIHNET community, providing an additional proposition to the members. The established traction with the corridor approach can re-invigorate the DIHNET community and bring a unique element to the Academy.
A strong European collaborative innovation community is crucial for the future of the European Union. Structural collaboration is needed to address the grand societal challenges and keep European leadership and position. Yet, to create structural collaboration, active support is needed to maintain and develop the collaboration. The corridors are a way to achieve this continuous activity.
The mission of the DIHNET academy is to empower the stakeholders to systematically address the challenges to forge these structural interregional collaborations. The primary role of the Academy is supporting orchestrators of these corridors with training and coaching. In this way, the Academy can create a critical mass of experts that can address the vast task ahead to forge the many corridors that are needed to build this efficient and effective European network that will share capacities and capabilities and create synergies among the regions.
The organisation of the Academy therefore is shaped in a two layered architecture. A core team will offer trainings, coaching and other services to a larger community of associated members. These associated members will support the actual forging of corridors. In this way, the Academy can leverage on a larger community to realise our vision. Not only will this strategy increase the number of experts that will actually forge the corridors, but also it will create more awareness and momentum for the strategy of corridors in Europe (thus creating more market).
We see a large direct and indirect customer base. The present European EDIH strategy is creating increasingly demand for support to regional networks to engage in structural collaborations. Also, the increasing pressure to create post-project sustainability in EC-funded European network projects and attention to create structural collaborations is boosting the need for highly qualified experts in the field of forging corridors.
Looking at the revenue model for the Academy, we aim at creating an association (in the longer term). The foundation of the financial sustainability will be a membership in which small fees will give access to the assets and services of the Academy. In addition, ad-hoc service contract with individual customers for individual services is seen as an important mechanism to capitalize on the assets and services of the Academy. The core partners are willing to provide in-kind funding to the Academy to kick-start its activities.
In the coming year, a freemium approach will kick-start the activities and continue the participation of current BOWI community. In this model, providing access to the BOWI-assets is included, but actual activities are to be paid for. Using the BOWI-brand and especially the DIHNET brand as groundwork, we will be able to jump-start the DIHNET Academy.
The mission of the DIHNET Academy focuses on the training and empowerment of expert consultants to forge interregional innovation collaborations within the European Union (Corridor Forging Facilitators = CFFs). Through comprehensive training programs and ongoing support, we equip the existing regional intermediaries with the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to forge corridors of collaboration across regions. By facilitating and assisting in concrete corridor forging activities initiated by the CFFS, the DIHNET Academy aims to enhance the utilization of regional capacities and capabilities, drive the widespread adoption of advanced digital technologies, and enable Europe’s position as a collaborative, agile, and globally influential community.
The BOWI assets and interregional corridor approach will be sustained after the project by focusing the activities towards a train-the-trainer Academy for Corridor Forging Facilitators (CFFs). The outreach and community will be strengthened by connecting the BOWI approach to a training Academy for CFFs to a broader network, namely DIHNET community. This ‘DIHNET Academy’ will train CFFs, providing them with the skills and capabilities, as well as practical tools to forge interregional collaborations and strengthen the orchestration of the regional strategic networks and ecosystem. Therefore, its success will highly depend on the actual activities of the CFFs who would in-turn be in charge of initiating and facilitating corridors across Europe (see Figure 3).
In order to keep the momentum and to enable the BOWI approach to scale, four strategic pillars have been identified as part of the business plan analysis and design:
- Active community of certified CFFs via a combination of a focused train-the-trainer concept to empower a distributed network of experts across Europe to forge corridors and provide them with support and practical tools. The community will be activated via a peer-learning community, connected to a broader community of EU networks, and will be able to influence the future corridor thinking by providing feedback on the training programme.
- Focused train-the-trainer programme, leveraging on the uniqueness of the corridor forging facilitation and complementing with training on orchestrating regional networks.
- Connection to an established DIHNET community to leverage on the brand, the breadth of the community, and benefit from economies of scale.
- A lean governance and organization structure aligned with previously explored approaches on EU networks and relying on a dedicated catalysis and group pf trainers focused on corridor training as well as third party trainers on orchestrating networks to provide capacity and additional capabilities.
The DIHNET Academy will employ a membership model with 4 tiers (free access, academy community, apprentice CFFs, certified CFFs) offering increasingly more benefits to the members.
- Level 0: Free membership
This no-cost membership level will allow stakeholders to access specific information, but only if they have registered in the community. This can be seen as a freemium model to attract possible customers to the community (awareness).
- Level 1: Community
This low entry level has limited costs and give access to more interesting information, as well as provide some discounts for certain services. The aim is to get these L2-members more interested in the services, with limited costs. All BOWI partners will be granted this level of membership for free to ensure a critical mass of the community.
- Level 2: Apprentice
This membership aims at training young professionals towards the certified CFF level. The access level to information is still limited, as it will be focused on the mentoring towards the certified level.
- Level 3: Certified CFF
The last membership level focuses on supporting the certified CFFs and giving them full access to the information and network. Also, this membership level will give them access to the community and the catalyst team will involve them in the service deployment on a paid basis.
The actual services connected to the different membership level is shown in the following table.
The actual services and their costs connected to the different membership level
|Community space||Limited access||Full access||Full access||Full access|
|Newsletters||Full access||Full access||Full access||Full access|
|Corridor Matchmaking||Initial||Initial||Full support||Full support|
|Corridor forging support||–||–||Full support||Full support|
|CFF training||–||10% discount||20% discount||–|
|Access to materials||–||Limited||Full access||Full access|
|CFF certification||Full cost||Full cost||Free||Free|
|Post CFF modules||Full cost||Full cost||50% discount||Full access|
|CFF promotion||–||–||–||Full support|
|Assistance in funding||Full cost||10% discount||20% discount||30% discount|
|Peer learning community||–||Full access||Full access||Full access|
|Social networking||–||–||Limited support||Full support|
|Annual event||10% discount||30% discount||30% discount|
The membership will still need to be practically organized and the approach explored in more detail.