Mafex will spearhead the European Project H2020 RailActivation

THE PROJECT’S MAIN AIM IS TO PROVIDE SUPPORT TO RAILWAY SMES IN THEIR TRANSFORMATION THROUGH THE CREATION AND ADOPTION OF OPEN INNOVATION STRATEGIES WITHIN ORGANISATIONS.

The project entitled RailActivation is framed within the H2020 invitation to bid and has as its main aim the creation and spearheading of an entrepreneurial and organisational scheme for the adoption of innovationbased strategies in the SME workplace, using the open innovation approach.

The future of our economy and society is closely linked to a model of techno-social organisation that is in tune with the needs that arise from data flows; gathering these via devices, ecosystems, infrastructures and connections of all types. The success of the new industrial revolution entails the use of the best technology available to the railway industry, placing special onus on the human factor.

With this aim, the RailActivation project will have a bearing on the development of new mechanisms and tools based on open innovation strategies that will lend support to the transformation of the railway industry from within towards the exterior. Open innovation is a paradigm that assumes that companies can benefit from external ideas / technologies (Outside-In) and valorise internal ideas / technologies (Inside-Out) to reduce the financial risks associated with innovation and rapidly obtain a competitive advantage. Open innovation entails boosting internal R&D and innovation through value chains based on the collaboration with the technological aspects on offer and demand within the network ecosystems and multiple collaboration efforts

RailActivation pursues the alignment of entrepreneurial and innovation strategies. Therefore, the initiative implies changes for the company, in the entrepreneurial structure, the management of human resources, relations between clients and suppliers, even, in the workplace itself. At the same time, it means an improvement in the daily working conditions that leads to increased productivity and business volumes, improving thus companies’ competitiveness, thereby driving entrepreneurial culture, through the open innovation approach.

European Project spearheaded in Spain by Mafex

RailActivation is a project coordinated by Mafex, with a European consortium comprised of the Tecnalia technological centre, the Italian Cluster Ditecfer, the German Cluster BTS and the Italian techological center QUINN. The project, whose execution commenced on September 1st, 2019, will run for 24 months, with the expectation that 20 railway SMEs benefit from the initiative.

Open innovation is increasingly recognised as a paradigm, not only for large-scale and hi-tech companies, but also other less intensive contexts involving technology, along with SMEs. The opening of the innovation processes has received major praise from professionals and academics alike. However, background research on open innovation, has focused mainly on large-scale hi-tech firms, along with certain studies that have analysed open innovation in the specific context of the SMEs, this being the sphere in which the large part of this methodology will delve deeper into through the RailActivation project.

This project means, therefore, progress in the backing MAFEX gives in terms of support to improved competitiveness in firms through the commissioning of collaborative actions and projects based on technological and non-technological innovation materials, as an example of entrepreneurial culture and working environments. RailActivation will allocate 75% of its budget to support the implementation of open innovation strategies in the selected SMEs, fostering the cooperation between European companies and similarly boosting the participation of SMEs in R&D financing programmes.