PRO WISSEN - Strategy and methods for a regionally embedded process of knowledge transfer aiming at introducing sustainable products and services in small and medium sized crafts enterprises
The development of sustainable products and services is an essential part of sustainable businesses. Austria is considered a model country in this field. Nevertheless an additional potential may be found in the introduction of sustainable products and services in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
Barriers to this introduction of sustainable products and services are the lack of theoretical knowledge and lack of practical know-how on the topic in SMEs: So besides the missing knowledge about technological solutions, also the way how to introduce these solutions in one's own enterprise is not known to many entrepreneurs. Nevertheless there are some outstanding entrepreneurs who gathered the necessary knowledge and experience by themselves and who are successfully implementing "sustainable entrepreneurship".
The basic assumption of PRO WISSEN is that SMEs may use a regional knowledge transfer process to benefit from the knowledge of pioneer entrepreneurs and to get support for the introduction of sustainable products or services.
The project PRO WISSEN focuses on the issue how the readiness of SME for innovation can be increased. The aim of the project is to build up management competencies at the SME level for the introduction of sustainable products and services. The project involves representatives of different sectors in order to make the results transferable. Special attention is paid to the participation of female entrepreneurs which will be at least 25 %.
Among SMEs, PRO WISSEN focuses on crafts enterprises: two pilot regions which which have already established networks of crafts enterprises and now intend to put an emphasis on sustainable product-service-systems serve as model regions. At the level of these regions, possibilities and framework conditions for such a regionally embedded process of knowledge transfer will be investigated.
As knowledge requires a commonly experienced practical background, common experiences for the participating SMEs will be offered in PRO WISSEN through the continuous involvement of the target groups. This comprises e.g. the organisation of workshops, where the project team and the regional key stakeholders jointly define the necessary framework conditions for a successful regional knowledge transfer process. Aspects of formal learning are integrated as well as aspects of informal learning and empowerment - strategies and methods designed to increase the self-determination and autonomy of entrepreneurs.
As main project output, a hand book on how to organise a regionally embedded knowledge transfer process - setting a focus on the introduction of sustainable products and services by SMEs - will be produced. The definition of success factors for such a process will help to make it measurable. Attached to the handbook will be a manual offering methods adapted to SMEs interested in the question.
Maga. Daniele Haiböck-Sinner
Institute for Sustainable Techniques and Systems
Project or cooperation partner
- Maga. Christine Bärnthaler, Bärnthaler Consulting
- Dr. Christian Krotscheck, NATAN - Technisches Büro für Verfahrenstechnik
- Christine Ax, MA, Fhochx - Institut für zukunftsfähiges Wirtschaften