Northern Connections

Toolbox 2.0 - Innovative Support Measures

13 August 2019 - Published by Anne Katrine Arentsen
The newest Toolbox 2.0 about Northern Connections Living Lab Events have been launched, and it is a handbook for matchmakers that consists of methods and tools for how to successfully build bridge for both clusters and networks.

The Toolbox
The Toolbox is aimed towards experienced matchmakers as well as someone planning their first matchmaking event, initiating and facilitating innovative collaborations among SMEs and the public sector through the Living Lab Event concept developed in the Northern Connections.

In the first part of the catalogue the individual tools are described, followed by a description of on how these were utilised through the coordination process; before, during and after the two Living Lab Events held in Esbjerg (DK) and Gothenburg (SE). The descriptions focus on the thematic challenges defined by the Living Lab owners, in collaboration with local cluster representatives from the Northern Connections partnership. 

Matchmaking is an umbrella which covers the actual match, whereby two or more parties who need each other’s expertise are brought together to build up relationships. These relationships are important in order to gain knowledge, understanding and trust in the process of exchanging challenges, solutions, business ideas etc.

Matchmaking can take place at many levels and with many methods and includes the processes which constantly arise during interaction among people. However, there is often a need to make it more organised and structured.

What defines a good match is individual, as it is based on the specific task and on the resources, that are available. For each service supplied, it is important how the matchmaker plans, carries out and follows up on the activity.

Why tools for the matchmaking process
The toolbox offers a collection of practical tools to be used when planning and conducting matchmaking events, where Northern Connections are aiming at unlocking the potential for transregional and transnational collaboration and extended innovation and business opportunities. By using the different tools, the potential for an actual success in the matchmaking process is greatly enhanced.

All involved stakeholders as companies - SME´s and larger enterprises - and knowledge institutions should benefit from participating, and they must be able to see the immediate value of the input.

The tools collected in the toolbox are supposed to be a support in creating the right framework and combine structure with creativity and give the matchmaking a multifaceted approach. Matchmaking can at one point be between buyer and supplier but also in identifying areas of collaboration between stakeholders within the same area of interest.

Having tried out all the tools presented at various events arranged within the project, the experience of how the different tools work and how to optimise the outcome is well documented. Often success depends on a combination of the different tools and the dedication of the matchmakers.

The tools are not unique in any way and probably used at many occasions without being named as a specific tool. By packaging the activities as tools with an easy to understand description it will contribute to future matchmakers and event planners in their planning process, helping them to more actively and in a more consistent manner strive towards a successful matchmaking event.

Some of the tools invite/initiate a mandatory follow up. What actually happened after the Innovator matchmaking workshop? Did the participants continue the dialogue and make the contacts they committed themselves to? This gives the matchmakers the possibility to prolong the dialogue with the potential of a higher hit rate. By following up on whether your participants met potential partners or/and whether they need further matchmaking efforts or follow-up meetings to get the collaboration started you will find out whether a match has been made and whether it can become a success story. Such success can help to emphasise the difference that your network can make.

In collaboration with Cluster Excellence Denmark 
The catalogue has been developed with inspiration from, and in collaboration, with Cluster Excellence Denmark. If you are interested in learning more about a method or tool, we invite you to contact the partnership behind the Northern Connections Interreg project. 

Find the Toolbox 2.0 HERE!