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Dynamising the business environment & accelerating innovation processes - EU|BIC BAEZ

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BIOK! LivingLab: innovative solutions that contributes to dynamizing the business environment and accelerating innovation processes, created by EU|BIC BAEZ*. 

’BIOK! is an open innovation meeting point that allows companies to connect startups and SMEs and provide them with a first market option, attracting them to the Bizkaia region in Spain. It operates with startups and SMEs that are technological and/or in specific fields of knowledge, National or International. Through this programme, qualified employment is created in the territory and the competitive positioning of reference companies and public administrations in Bizkaia is strengthened.’’

Laura Autor, Innovation Coordinator at EU|BIC BEAZ Bizkaia

The goal of BIOK! LivingLab is to create public-private market, with a double open innovation approach:  

  • On one hand, it allows the entities of the territory to address strategic challenges, encouraging development and testing of prototypes, and adressing other forms of collaboration between organizations, start-ups, and SMEs. 
  • On the other hand, it offers start-ups and SMEs access to the market through a first reference client, which enables them to develop innovations and test them in real environments, bringing new solutions to both private companies and public administrations.  

BIOK! LivingLab solves the lack of access to innovative solutions for public actors and corporates. The initiative was born to identify public-private challenges that act as catalysts to generate a market and bring clients closer to startups and SMEs.

It is a paradigm shift for an agency like Beaz, which has historically acted as a managing body for traditional tools to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the territory. Previously we were based on different types of instruments and subsidies, mostly public policies and the promotion of innovation from the supply side.

Beaz now complements its support tools for entrepreneurship and innovation from a demand-driven angle, promoting entrepreneurship and R&D&i in Bizkaia using the capacity of procurement from leading companies and public administrations in the territory.

The methodology designed by Beaz is composed of five stages that takes place during approximately 4 months. Once the start-up or SME with the best answer to the challenge has been selected, the organization that launches the challenge undertakes to execute the implementation of the project – including a pilot exercise for the co-creation of a solution in approximately 6 months: 

• Definition of the challenge and preparation of the documentation related to the open innovation call 

• Dissemination of the challenge among national and international media 

• Reception of proposals and pre-selection of the most suitable approaches 

• In factory innovation trip where interviews and contrast workshops are held to improve the pre-selected proposals 

• Final selection and start of pilot exercises after analysing the improved proposals received from the “In factory innovation trip”. The winning project receives an economic compensation of at least €15,000 

The most important lessons learnt from the implementation of BIOK! LivingLab are the following: 

• Challenges should be challenging to attract qualified start-ups and SMEs 

• Challenges should solve strategic Issues to get the teamwork involved  

• Challenges should be well-defined in order to be well-answered  

• Challenges should be well broadcasted to get as many solutions as we can 

The challenges launched through BIOK! LivingLab seek to promote open innovation exercises as a successful alternative to diversify and grow in any field: psychology, sports, health, water, agri-food, mobility, security, silver economy, among others.  

If we analyse the impact of BIOK! LivingLab, since 2017, 8 challenges by 9 reference local organizations (public and private) have been launched. The challenges have resulted in the participation of 91 companies, out of which 74 are national (Spanish) and 17 foreign, from 9 different countries. 

Following these collaborations, 7 pilot projects have been developed, co-created between the organizations behind the challenges and the problem-solving start-ups or SMEs. 

For more about BIOK! LivingLab challenges, please find a short video that shows the impact that BIOK! LivingLab can generate among the start-ups or SMEs ecosystem. 

*Beaz is the executive agency of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia. Its goal is to support enterprises and entrepreneurs in their efforts to create new projects, innovate and internationalise. This goal aligns with the Provincial Department of Economic and Territorial Development, with which Baez collaborates for the growth of economic activity and the creation of qualified jobs. Beaz oversees the management of BIC Bizkaia, which aims to be a national and international benchmark centre for innovation, growth and development of initiatives in the field of bio, micro and nanotechnology as well as advanced manufacturing and clean technologies. Likewise, it is also a reference regarding the creation and growth of start-up companies, know-how driven businesses and innovation projects of the hosted organizations. 

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