The first six months of the project have been characterised by intense work to set the premises of the ITRS platform. Among others, the Deliverable 1.3 has contributed to the analysis of the current state-of-play and co-definition of the key foundations of InnoRate, defining the needs and preferences of InnoRate end-users.
The InnoRate project aims to deploy a service platform across the EU to support and improve the decision-making processes of investors and lenders for financing innovative SMEs with high growth potential. To realise this ambition and maximise the platform’s innovative potential, Task 1.3 has been designed to perform an analysis of stakeholders’ requirements, from this early stage of the project. Placing the final user at the centre of our design process and capitalizing on the collected insights, is fundamental to ensure increased productivity, enhanced quality of work and improved user satisfaction.
With that in mind and to appropriately account for the complex sectors and environments in which our users operate, several research methods were combined, involving both qualitative and quantitative data.
As a first step, a targeted desk research was performed reviewing relevant studies, reports and papers with the scope of collecting meaningful insights into the financing patterns, needs and barriers of innovative tech-driven SMEs. In particular, attention has mainly been placed on shedding light on the perspectives and expectations of both main actors, namely disruptive innovators and investors.
On the basis of the literature’s key findings, semi-structured interviews were designed, to receive new insights deriving from direct experience of the most relevant stakeholders. During the interview process, 35 stakeholders, belonging to the categories of innovative SMEs, investors/lenders and innovation intermediaries were interviewed by the partners. The focus of the interviews was mainly posed on the preferences, expectations and readiness of end-users with regard to technology rating systems.
The findings from the desk research and interviews finally signalled out key issues and dimensions that were further explored by means of an online multi-component survey. The survey was developed on the Sawtooth software and circulated among the consortium’s network. This last step, allowed InnoRate to dig deeper into the end-users’ opinions, preferences and expectations, offering a clear identification of the most and least favoured characteristics and services that the ITRS set up should provide.
The active participation of a large number of stakeholders and future users of the InnoRate platform have effectively contributed to the findings of task 1.3, helping us to shed light on the preferences and needs of the InnoRate end-users. Following the analysis carried out during the three phases of the research, a set of top-level findings and recommendations were developed that stand to inform the InnoRate future activities. The task has been completed at the end of June (M6), with the submission of D1.3 – “Users’ needs analysis and profiles”. The gathered insights will now set the basis for the next project’s steps!