Based on the economic history, Upper Austria developed to Austria’s No.1 industrial province. In order to deal ideally with the fields of competences and the economic crisis, strategic programs were created and already have a long history. #upperVISION2030 is the current strategic programme processed in Upper Austria. Specific fields of action, where the human and education are in the centre, are going to be implemented until 2030. One of these fields also handles with the Upper Austrian industry.
In times of the current crisis the Upper Austrian industry is affected. Especially the Upper Austrian automotive industry which serves as industry in transition case study in the underlying regional analysis. Together with the InnoCamp36 student team a shock plan for Upper Austria was elaborated in order to foster the location resilience and strengthen the business location.

Conclusions – goals for policy learning
For this part the methodology of the InnoCamp36 was used to get “fresh” ideas with the help of young minds and to become more resilient. The InnoCamp36 is an agile, competitive, innovation event created and organised by the Global Sales and Marketing degree programme at Campus Steyr of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. It brings together highly motivated students from different cultures and with a variety of talents and interests in order to solve future-oriented challenges proposed by companies.
In October 2020 Business Upper Austria has participated in this competition with the case of the project FOUNDATION posed to the students to create a shock plan for the Upper Austrian industry and recommendations for action. Our student team won the 2nd price.

Business Upper Austria Team at InnoCamp36 (credit: FH Steyr)

“Shock Plan” for Upper Austrian industry
In order to be resilient as a region for instance in times of crisis (e.g. COVID-19 crisis) a shock plan was designed. This shock plan is intended to be a kind of toolbox for regions, institutions as well as companies on how to survive in times of crisis and beyond.
The structure of the Upper Austrian shockplan is:
1.    Monitoring
2.    Digital Age
3.    Human-centered Technologies
4.    New Mobility

In order for Upper Austria to become more resilient at regional level, it is first of all good to know how resilient companies and SME’s in the region are. In order to strengthen the business region and all the parties that are involved with its economic performance for future times and especially upcoming challenges that cannot be foreseen, a clear set of ideas for improvement in the four areas digital age, sustainable solutions, human-centered technology and new mobility has been developed. This set enables Upper Austria to improve its actions in terms of both flexibility and long-term strategic planning, while keeping an eye on the growing importance of new technology trends.

Digital Age
Understanding the environment and the people
Companies need to take five critical actions, to adopt new digital platform-based business models and compete in the digital economy.
•    Educate and engage the board and leadership team
•    Adopt a ‘business model portfolio’ approach to growth strategy
•    Define a vision for growth by combining new with old business models
•    Upgrade the operating model based on a dynamic portfolio
•    Refresh your metrics
Understanding the own system: effectiveness-based business growth
According to evolutionary changes in the age of the digital economy, new business models cannot be anything but a constant search for providing better customer service, though not in the traditional, obvious way, but rather service that is openly flexible and user-friendly and possibly even co-designed by customers themselves.

Human-centered Technologies
•    Taking the know-how of Upper Austria in terms of technology and develop it further in order to gain national and international recognition as the region for human/machine competences to get in the technology pioneer position.
•    Creating awareness and acceptance of new digital technologies helps to implement innovations in companies in the first place. As it is internally accepted, it helps to enhance the company’s profile externally. Business processes of SMEs should be more digitalized. Hence, access to several IT-solutions such a Cloud services, collaborative platforms like Microsoft Teams or also video chat solutions should be given.
•     To act more flexible, a Rent and Lease model should be implemented for SMEs to create better access to new technologies which are more expensive when purchasing. This approach intends to support SMEs. Given the lower capacity and cost of capital compared to giant corporations, this approach would be a very good one.

New Mobility
New mobility models are necessary to be in line with the megatrends and to gain a competitive advantage. To master the new challenges of those days and also the future resilience is essential for all companies.

Read the Analysis here