Horizon 2020

Ensuring Use-It-Wisely Research Benefits European Citizens

Enna Palander-Palonen is a Project Manager at Hermia Business Development Ltd. Enna has a Master’s in Business Administration and has been working with start-up companies and European funded research projects for over 10 years. She is focused on the exploitation of Use-It-Wisely’s results to ensure that European citizens benefits from the project’s insights.

Use-It-Wisely partners attended the project’s 9th plenary meeting in Helsinki between the 14 and 16th of September 2015. How European citizens will benefit from Use-It-Wisely’s research and results after the project’s lifetime was a priority discussion point at the meeting. Use-It-Wisely will take a two-pronged approach to this:

  1. Development of a self-sustaining online platform where those in fields relating to Use-It-Wisely research may share insights, challenges and issues.
  2. Development of a Community of Practice composed of thought leaders from academia and industry who will provide information and discussion topics to the platform.

The Platform, Community of Practice and Project Exploitation
In Helsinki, project partners participated in workshops to establish who the target users for the platform were and what benefits the platform could offer them. In reality, the Use-It-Wisely consortium mirrors the target audience for the platform as it is composed of academic institutions and commercial organisations all working in Use-It-Wisely research industries.
Exploitation is an important element of any European research project, including Use-It-Wisely. It creates a multiplier effect on the results of a project; not only do Use-It-Wisely partners benefit from the results, but they give added value to other European organisations. Both the platform and the Community of Practice will be the principal exploitation outputs of Use-It-Wisely.
All project partners will be responsible for recruiting potential members to the Community of Practice; however, University of Nottingham, VTT, Carr Communications and Hermia Business Development will be predominantly responsible for building the platform and the community around it.

However, there are a number of key challenges facing the development and establishment of the platform. Users will come from different industries, at different levels in the organisations and with different perspectives on best practices. To engage each user and to ensure their needs are satisfied with what the platform has to offer will be a significant hurdle. The platform will need to provide individual users with relevant and up-to-date information which is useful for their position and industry.

Use-It-Wisely is in its final year of funding, therefore the platform must be a self-sustaining entity which will exist beyond the project’s lifetime. A business model will need to be developed to ensure the platform is long-lasting. In Finland, a strategy such as this has been developed for other companies which are based on a community of users. It will be important to gain insights into best practices in community development from these examples and to discover what has worked in the past and why exactly it has worked.

Other European organisations are constantly looking for more efficient ways to upgrade the business itself or its products. As many businesses struggle with this upgrade process, the platform would be of significant benefit to any business interested in developing a new business model or new processes

Future Directions
While the concept behind both the Community of Practice and the platform is ambitious, our next steps to develop both are clearly laid out. We are researching the functionalities and requirements for the platform to ensure it is relevant and engaging. We are establishing a stakeholder list of potential members of the Community of Practice and the key messages we need to send to these potential members. We are now researching possibilities for the platform, including functionalities and design. The next year for Use-It-Wisely partners will be a challenging one, but we are refreshed following a successful plenary meeting. The platform and the Community around it will ensure Use-It-Wisely has long lasting benefits to the European community; therefore it is something we are determined to achieve.

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