The Technological Institute for Children’s Products & Leisure (AIJU) launches platform ISIP, which allows SMEs in this sector to create innovation plans.
Within the frame of Lifelong Learning Programme, subprogramme Leonardo da Vinci, the project “Innovation strategic initiatives platform for SME in children’s product industries (ISIP)” has been developed, funded by the European Commission. As a result, last October 23, PLATFORM ISIP was presented.
PLATFORM ISIP is an online tool mainly intended for SMEs in the sector of children’s products and leisure (toys, fashion, child care articles…). This tool gives, both training on the development of innovation plans, and the opportunity to prepare these plans given the specific characteristics of each company.
A series of characteristics give PLATFORM ISIP its nature:
- The platform is multilingual (English, Spanish, French, Italian and Czech) in order to facilitate its use around Europe.
- It is not only a training tool, but an instrument to develop plans in a structured a simple way. This task is easier thanks to the templates that allow the user to gather data and print the innovation plan once prepared.
- During the process of the plan, the platform gives the company the possibility to follow up and be advise online at all times by professionals specialised in this subject.
- Moreover, ISIP includes two tools aiming to facilitate the internal analysis of the company and surroundings:
- Online questionnaire to analyse the company’s innovation system.
- Competitive intelligence system that provides information about key questions about the surroundings of the company.
The aim of this project is contributing to the improvement of levels of competitiveness of a sector that currently gather 10 000 companies in Europe, devoted to the manufacture of children’s and leisure products. 95% of these companies are SMEs and employ more than 250 000 people directly. Globalisation process, like the reduction of prices due to the pressure of countries with cheap workforce and the relocation of production centres, among others, have debilitated the European leadership of these sectors for the last decades; but the reduction of costs, for example by the introductions of new production technologies, has proven to be not enough and not sustainable at all if it does not come with a greater differentiation of products and strategies of continuous innovation. In spite that fashion and cost have traditionally been the main boosters for the purchase of this kind of products, it is essential to find new strategies in order to keep and improve competitiveness.
PLATFORM ISIP is a very useful tool to help SMEs face these challenges and find the path to open the gate to new markets. Using it helps boost companies’ culture, essential in order to keep a constant pace of innovation within the company. The application of this tool helps identify and implement projects not only focused on the development of new products and/or processes, but new marketing and commercialisation methods and new company models.
This innovative initiative has been led by AIJU and gets in contact different companies with experience and knowledge in the industry of children’s products and leisure from different European countries: European Children’s Fashion Association (Spain), Instituto de Economía Pública, S.L. (Spain), Tele Regions Network (belgium), Czech Association for Toy and Play (Czech Republic) y Grifo Multimedia SRL (Italy).