The DEVISE project is arriving to the end. After having exchanged good practices and experiences, inspired each other within the partnership and developed 10 Regional Action Plans, it's time to review the changes achieved in each of the policy instruments thanks to this project.

This week, we speak with Daniela Copaci, ERNACT Programme Manager and DEVISE Project Leader, to find out more about the progress made in the North West of Ireland.

What policy instrument were you addressing when the DEVISE project commenced? Why?

The initial policy instrument addressed was the Local Economic and Community Plan for County Donegal (Donegal Digital Action Plan). With a significant contribution of the Donegal Digital Working Group, we developed the IaaS – Innovation as a Service action, which contributes to the objective of the policy instrument since it creates a collaborative environment to transfer technologies from existing research capacity to support the digital transformation of companies.

What has specifically changed in your policies and your region thanks to the project?

The IaaS has been funded by Enterprise Ireland through the Border Enterprise Development Fund, so we included it as new policy instrument addressed. The unique approach of the IaaS is to use sophisticated digital collaboration services to better network and connect the Border region’s growing network of innovation hubs to technology providers (universities and institutes of technology) across the Border and West regions.

Which good practices have inspired these changes?

The main inspiration came from three good practices from Belgium, France and Finland. We received valuable input for carrying out the delivery and testing of the service to introduce disruptive digital technologies into the operations of the companies. We also got inspired by the way of making the technologies and infrastructure available for companies to get to learn more of digital manufacturing and industrial internet and Internet of Things, to implement company demand-driven pilots.

DEVISE also provided us with a methodology for assessing the current situation regarding the digital transformation of SMEs and ways of connecting the digital suppliers with companies as potential users of their services.

Would you like to highlight any other improvements?

Besides the increase of the uptake of disruptive technology solutions by SMEs in the Border region, IaaS action implementation will enhance the capacity of the 12 local digital hubs to service SMEs in their catchment area enhancing their sustainability, reputation, range and quality of services. The project will also improve the capacity and responsiveness of at least 14 knowledge providers (institutes of technology, universities and the private sector) to supply high tech solutions to SMEs by stimulating demand, raising awareness of their offerings and, crucially, putting new systems and processes in place to facilitate effective collaboration with the hubs and SMEs.