iNec – Innovation through expert-communities in the time of demographic change
The aim of the project „iNec – Innovation through expert-communities in the time of demographic change“ was to build a new personal development concept via the social interaction in „ virtual communities“.
Innovations arise out of personal networking to quite a considerable extent. Thereby, experiences, ideas and knowledge are shared and discussed. New ideas for solutions are connected constantly. The whole process happens intentionally as well as unknowingly. However, the long-term personal networking and the continuous exchange between the employees is diminishing due to discontinuous history of employment like people who change their career. This leads to a considerable loss of experience and weakens the innovative capability of many companies. Due to many retirements of demographically strong age-groups this trend will get worse.
The aim of the project „iNec – Innovation through expert-communities in the time of demographic change“ was to build a new personal development concept via the social interaction in „ virtual communities“. On one hand, such a community can bring forward innovative ideas by giving the employees the possibility to connect. On the other hand social bonds between experts can be promoted in the long-term. Therewith, a loss of experience and knowledge caused by changing history of employment as well as demographic changes arises and major contribution to a cross-generational dialog is made. Simultaneously, the innovative capacity of a company is sustainable augmented. As a result of the joint project iNec a model of relevant success indicators should be available, based on which a second (design) model should be developed which should be transferable to other areas of application. This should be tested and fully implemented as a demonstrator.
While developing this concept the knowledge and experience transfer among employees of a company should be supported in a close cooperation between the research- and the industry partners. To implement that networking and for creating a basis of the exchange of experience, mutual learning, knowledge-creation and cooperation, an IT platform as a management tool and an intra-corporate coordinator were used. Within this IT platform real-time communication was enabled via micro blogging, the creation of innovation forums and expert profiles or virtual “knowledge factories”. The employees were addressed personally to participate the community. It was essential to include the employees that are retiring soon, temporarily not working there, separated geographically or leaving the company for good. To ensure that many people participate actively, incentive systems were tested at the same time. Also an innovative control- and a role system were developed and implemented exemplarily, to assure that the activities in the community are actually promoting the innovations of the company.