For the DIH of June 2021, meet the Austrian Business Intelligence & Innovation Hub.
How did the story of your Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) get started?
The story of our Digital Innovation Hub on “Business Intelligence & Innovation” started within the year of 2016. We were project partner in the Interreg Alpine Space project BIFOCAlps – Boosting Innovation in Factory of the Future Value Chain in the Alps. Within this project, we worked intensively on the question how “ordinary” organizations can emerge to a Factory of the Future. Collaboratively, we worked on methodologies to stimulate innovation processes and guidelines of strategic actions.
However, due to the fact that organizations – especially small and medium sized enterprises – have limited resources to progress the (digital) transformation (e.g. finance, human, knowledge, etc.), we identified the need of an orchestrating organization – a knowledge center or a innovation hub that supports the SME’s in its endeavors. Now we are performing the Interreg Central Europe project 4Steps – Towards the application of Industry 4.0 in SMEs – wherein we can intensify our work on a Factory of the Future and develop design and develop the Vorarlberg Digital Innovation Hub on “Business Intelligence & Innovation”.
Could you describe your DIH ecosystem and its development policy?
Due to its embedment into the international region of the Lake of Constance and the strong interconnection of its surrounding regions, we see us as a cross-regional Digital Innovation Hub. The Hub’s services are addressed to organizations, mostly within the field of manufacturing, logistics and supply chain management, within the countries of Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Germany (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria) and Vorarlberg.
Furthermore, we see us as an academic Hub – a Hub that offers scientific, methodology-based research into the challenges and (possible) opportunities of the service customers. The organization is holocratic – composed of the Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences research department Business Informatics (as operating unit) and several stakeholders out of business and industry. These are, for example, the regional Innovation and Promotion Agency (Wirtschaftsstandort Vorarlberg GmbH), the Chamber of Commerce Vorarlberg and the youth organization of the Industry Association Vorarlberg.
What specific services does your DIH offer?
The Digital Innovation Hub on Business Intelligence offers five services that are research and (pilot) development in Artificial Intelligence (e.g. Modelling, Simulation, Optimization and Evolutionary Algorithms), System/Ecosystem Collaboration (e.g. Machine-Human Interaction, Robots), Innovation Management & Research (e.g. Creative Destruction and the Dynamic Entrepreneur), Resilience Engineering (based upon the design and development of resources and capabilities) and (scientific) Methods and Tools (e.g. Design Thinking, Case Study Research, etc.). Furthermore, continuously we organize matchmaking events to interconnect managers and employees from business and industry with academia. For example, we already performed workshops on new paths for innovation in the digital age, IPR strategy, digitization, and sustainable economy. We also provide academic research.
We already get awarded for our endeavors: for example, the scholarly paper “Business Intelligence and Innovation: an European Digital Innovation Hub to increase System Interaction and Value Co-creation within and among Service Systems” received the best poster award of the ICORES conference; the scholarly paper entitled “Conceptualization of the dynamic entrepreneur for system innovation and resilience” was nominated as runners up paper at the CADE – Competitive Advantage in the Digital Economy Conference; the scholarly paper entitled “Science matters: how business and management studies can shape the understanding of resilience as a capability and support the management of crises” is the first listed contribution towards the VHB’s call for inspirations: “What contribution can business administration make to the successful resolution not only of company-specific crises, but also of larger crises in the corporate environment? What ways and answers does business studies have at hand to deal with crises and to use inherent opportunities? How do crises change research and teaching and what do we learn from them?”
Can you please provide a practical example of a case you supported?
Currently we are working with the Vorarlberg chamber of commerce and the youth organization of the Industry Association Vorarlberg on a project proposal about the Future of Work. The Chamber and the Industry Association represent thousands of organizations, entrepreneurs and managers within the region of Vorarlberg. The collaboration and cooperation with the Chamber and the Industry Association enable us to disseminate newest research results, knowledge and expertise directly to business and industry within the region of Vorarlberg.
What is your vision of DIHs development in Europe?
Innovation is no longer created in the silent chamber rather is an act of active participation of the heterogenous system stakeholders of an economy. We – as the provider of the Digital Innovation Hub on Business Intelligence – but also as researchers are demanded to take over the role of an orchestrator between these stakeholders. Our Hub is necessary to interconnect the (regional) stakeholders with stakeholders outside the region and build-up and create trust into interorganizational collaboration, co-creation and innovation engineering. Together, we are able to co-create and design and develop renewal, change and innovation.
What could be the added value of Pan-European collaboration?
Our approach towards Pan-European collaboration aims to keep the connection to the stakeholders outside our region. Knowledge and expertise is not a monopoly and need to be shared and communicated these stakeholders. The Pan-European collaboration enables us the transfer specific knowledge and expertise into and from the region. Personally, I cannot see a rivalry between European Regions and be-friended competition can enliven the collaboration between. But I can see an increased competition outside the regions – which we can only withstand as one and unity. The DIH on Business Intelligence & Innovation shall help to keep and strengthen the collaboration of the organizations within Vorarlberg and the regions within the European Union.
Did you receive any EU funds and, if so, how did you employ them?
Yes, we are receiving funds from the ERDF. The funds received are employed into the Digital Innovation Hub’s infrastructure, service portfolio and human resource. But also, we are using the funds for tailored matchmaking and knowledge dissemination events. For example, in spring we organized several events about: Together we are stronger – new paths for innovation in the digital age, The Perspective on Solutions to cope with the Digital Transformation: Digital Skills of the Future, The Future of Organizing: towards an Organizational Culture of Dynamic Entrepreneurs, Digital Skills and Innovation an so on.
Interview by Lucie Milcent, DIHNET