Interview with Paula Galvão

What role do you think open innovation does play in today’s world?


The concept of open innovation means that a company finds both internal and external paths to market by exchanging ideas, knowledge and information with other companies. It consequently creates new forms of collaborations to reduce financial risk and allows companies to achieve a competitive advantage. Companies need to innovate in a faster and in a more effective way, whereas usually, they don’t have all the internal competences. Some technologies are more complex to be developed, so both big corporations and SMEs may need complementary expertise.

Over the last decade, we have seen many companies, especially SMEs, embracing the open innovation challenges. It helps them to enter the market with their competitive products faster, in less expensive and a more effective and efficient way. Open Innovation will also enable them to bring differentiated products to the market when compared with its competitors.


Open innovation is the key concept of PITCCH, what is the vision and objectives of this project?


This project has started as a call for proposals from the European Commission whose main goal was to create an open innovation network based on Advanced technologies. The INL is focused on nanotechnology and strives for developing products for industry, so we thought that this topic fits entirely with the DNA of INL as a provider of added value solutions for our industrial clients. Advanced technologies and Key enabling technologies are crucial to promote industrial competitiveness for companies. We are aiming to match SMEs as technology providers for big corporations. Within the PITCCH project, we thrive to establish a network where SMEs and big corporations can work together and create competitive products.



What is the target audience of the PITCCH project?  What are the entry criteria for companies to launch challenges and respond to them?


The main target stakeholders of all the initiatives that we are developing in the PITCCH project are SMEs and big corporations. The core of our project is the intermediary organisations that support the establishment of fruitful collaborations between SMEs and big corporations. These entities are technology centres. We are planning to have a network of European technology centres providing support and brokerage services to SMEs and big corporations while they develop a collaborative project. SMEs and big corporations are mediated by technological partners that know and are aware of state-of-the-art solutions of the subject matter that we are dealing with. These technology centres also have business experts and IP experts. This way SMEs are provided with added value services, both technical and business-oriented,  during their collaborative project with big corporations. We see it as the main difference in comparison to other open innovation platforms and projects. PITCCH experts are the neutral partners who mediate the collaborations and discussions between two parties. When we talk about open innovation, IP issues always come up and it’s important to have legal internal experts that SMEs can count on. 


What makes PITCCH stand out from other open innovation platforms?


The main differentiation factor here is the support of technology centres. Usually, open innovation platforms don’t have such customised support for technology providers and solution seekers. With the support of the technology centres, we can spot or help big corporations to better identify technology providers and solutions that meet their needs.


What are the benefits for both SMEs, Startups and big corporations?


Nowadays, we have a lot of SMEs that are technologically progressive and offer interesting solutions and technologies to big companies. Very often they don’t have access to the big corporations’ needs. Also, SME’s are sometimes reluctant to embrace collaboration when it comes to technology transfer or technology development. There are many reasons such as IP, lack of trust, dimension and capability issues. These collaborations and negotiations can become easier, more facilitated and assured with the support of PITCCH. By facilitating projects on the European level PITCCH contributes towards the European industry competitiveness as a whole.


What does this project mean for the innovation process at the European level?


A network of highly-qualified technology centres that can moderate and facilitate collaborations,  understand the needs of SMEs and help to spot high-tech SMEs will increase the competitive advantage of European companies and European economy in a mid-term. PITCCH is not only an ICT-based neggtwork, it is a one-to-one network and a customised network that contributes to a European wide-scale level and creates conditions to speed up the innovation development in Europe.

It allows to shorten time-to-market, share risks, reduce cost in investments and accelerates the innovation process. This is what we need in Europe. We are aiming at having technology centres throughout Europe, which will help to reach out to the best SMEs and provide one-to-one support for them. 

The cultural, regional aspects and location also play an important role in developing mutually beneficial collaborations. These cooperations will bring change to innovation development and industry competitiveness at the European level.



Don’t forget to join the PITCCH Corporate Challenges Launch Event HERE!


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