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​One often overlooked section of a Horizon Europe proposal is the one about innovation management. Yet, it can give you an edge in your evaluation if done properly. Let’s review together how to proceed.

What is innovation management?

Innovation management can be described as structured and regularly practised ways of running organisational activities contributing to its innovativeness capacity and performance. It impacts both the organisational model of the project and its practices.

Who should be responsible for innovation management?

Although everyone in the project should take part, it is good practice to appoint to one person the role of exploitation and innovation management. This person would serve as a facilitator of discussion and decision-making regarding all innovation-related issues, especially intellectual property rights.

What is included in innovation management?

The innovation management policies of your project should consider the following activities:

  • New ideas generation and management,
  • Development of new projects,
  • Protection and exploitation of project’s results,
  • Market introduction strategy / business planning.

For new ideas generation and management, you can plan some brainstorming sessions as well as tools to collect ideas and nurture them. You can also plan technology and market reviews including patent searches to feed the idea funnel with inspiration or keep the consortium aware of the latest developments in your environment.

The development of new projects should be based on the outcomes of your current project or through the results of the technology / patent / market searches. For this as well you can plan some specific sessions to discuss project ideas.

The protection and exploitation of the project’s results should be defined as precisely as possible in the proposal but above all in the consortium agreement. There should be no room for hesitation or confusion regarding intellectual property rights. You can learn more on our IP article.

Finally, it is good practice to already have an exploitation strategy at the proposal stage to deal with the market introduction. Of course, innovation actions need it more than research and innovation actions but, in any case, it is good to have a draft go-to-market strategy in your proposal.

In all cases, plan some time and resources to run all these activities.

What about the contribution to external actors?

Your project may have some open access or open source parts in it, therefore you would need to involve external actors in the innovation process. That for, you can plan some workshops, hackatons or user studues to either generate new product ideas from your developed technology (co-development) or to collect user insights.

You can also include some end-users in your advisory board, who would have the role to provide the consortium with a vision of how your technology can solve their problems.

Finally, do not forget that your communication plan can work in synergy with your innovation strategy by promoting your project’s results to targeted audiences and possibly generating some interest or even leads for your technology.

How to write the risk management section in a Horizon Europe proposal

You need to provide a risk analysis in your Horizon Europe proposal. Let’s review together what it must include.

What is a risk?

A risk is a measure of the probability and consequence of not achieving a project goal. It means a risk is negative by nature and is uncertain and unexpected. It is therefore important to understand its causes and consequence to put risk management procedures in place. Risk management is the process of identifying in advance, evaluating the probability and severity and controlling risks by implementing mitigation measures.

What are the typical project risks?

Generally, the risks that can occur in a project are related with:

  • Scheduling
  • Unclear roles and responsibilities
  • Financing
  • Use of resources
  • Technology
  • Deliverable quality
  • Partner commitment
  • Unclear goals
  • Customer or user
  • Supplier or subcontractor
  • Decision making
  • Communication and transfer of information
  • Regulations

How to build a risk management strategy?

At the proposal stage, you are supposed to pre-identify potential risks and evaluating their probability and severity (their impact) with a scale from very unlikely / insignificant impact to very likely / catastrophic impact. To identify potential risks, refer to previous projects and brainstorm risk lists based on what may go wrong or what is uncertain with the project.

For each risk, provide details on what may cause it, its trigger or reasons for occurring. Then, for each risk, you have to provide some mitigation measures that includes the roles and responsibilities of each partner, the budget and schedule of risk management actions, and a definition of the risk communication and consequences.

Put all this information in the risk table provided in the Horizon Europe proposal template.

Once the project starts, you have to continuously update the risk list and risk management plans and obviously proactively monitor the occurrence of any risk.