INNO-4-AGRIFOOD is an EU-funded project set on unlocking the innovation potential of the European agri & food ecosystem by fostering and facilitating online collaboration. The project is aimed at enhancing the service portfolio and skills of innovation intermediaries and SME support networks across Europe by providing them with a blend of demand-driven services and tools. In April 2017, the INNO-4-AGRIFOOD consortium has deployed one of its major value propositions by launching an e-training for innovation support consultants who want to improve their service portfolio targeting clients in agri & food.
The INNO-4-AGRIFOOD project is driven by a consortium of European organizations, coordinated by Q-PLAN INTERNATIONAL. In this respect, it should be noted that the development of the e-learning environment and the curriculum has been undertaken by Europa Media (i.e. technical development and administration) and the IMP³rove Academy (development of the curriculum), with the cooperation and support of all partners of the project. “Due to the large number of partners that were involved in the content development stage, we decided to have a co-creation workshop where we had a brainstorming session and determined what was needed to be taught in the modules. In addition to this we discussed on “how” to teach this content in the chapters. Our e-learning specialist was focused on implementing all contributions from the partners while taking into account all pedagogical possibilities”, says Frosina Ilievska, project manager at Europa Media.
Based on in-depth interviews with agri & food experts and a large scale survey among innovation intermediaries, INNO-4-AGRIFOOD revealed skill gaps among intermediaries, that pose a significant barrier to the effective delivery of innovation support services to SMEs within the agri & food ecosystem. In order to overcome this barrier, INNO-4-AGRIFOOD sought to develop a training curriculum which aims to provide an efficient and most importantly, demand-driven e-learning offer. The e-learning environment of the project includes self-learning tools, live webinars as well as a number of peer-learning opportunities such as chat rooms or case studies.
In the framework of developing its e-training, INNO-4-AGRIFOOD has followed four key principles, namely addressing the needs and demands of agri & food SMEs as well as innovation intermediaries; following a holistic, while at the same time pragmatic approach to collaborative innovation; combining theory and practice; and involving key stakeholders in a collaborative and interactive manner. The INNO-4-AGRIFOOD curriculum therefore provides the most adequate basis to develop practice-oriented, interactive e-learning material that covers all relevant content, as identified in the skills gaps analysis.