EXXTRA "Open Innovation Workshop" case study for transnational long online formats

Submitted by Veronica Elena Bocci on 22 October 2020

Cluster Excellence Denmark has selected the EXXTRA "Open Innovation Workshop" methodology as one of the 14 case studies for its brand-new e-book on "Digitalisation of Cluster services and activities - Rethinking the Power of Innovation": a great contribution to rethinking how clusters can effectively operate and deliver impact in the digitalisation era driven by COVID-19.

The fundamental methodology of the Workshop was developed since the EXXTRA proposal in view of organising a series of physical "Learning & Sharing Focus Sessions" for the Partners, aimed to cover - in each session - a specific cluster service in order to help its professionalisation through in-depth cross-cluster sharing and learning from Partners' best practices. Self-analysis of what your best practices are and what to improve would not have been 'fair', for this we thoroughly prepared for the "Learning & Sharing Focus Sessions" launching a Satisfaction Survey among our clusters members, making a SWOT analysis based on the results, and directly involving our members in video-interviews to be presented during the Sessions to better highlight what members' perception is on some key services we deliver.

Then came the COVID-19, and instead of meeting in Copenhagen on May 25-26, we met online on the same days. The above methodology was necessarily fine-tuned to extract from the online format the best possible results against the project expectations. This way the "Open Innovation Workshop" method for long online formats was created and tested. Thorough preparation, alternating meeting formats (own presentations, video interviews to cluster members, open discussions 'out of comfort zone') and external inspiration were key to manage the online meetings and to deliver results useful to all participants. 

The key learnings to share with the Cluster community are therefore:

  • Virtual meetings are often intensive and the level of attention may falter at some point: varied formats are key to holding successful long workshops online with active participation
  • Thorough preparation is key to go into many challenges in depth into short time, to ensure active participation and to achieve the results you set for the meeting
  • At online meetings it is harder to go in depth with the theme and to network with each other compared to physical meetings, but when the online event extends for more than two days, you get a better understanding of the group of participants. This knowledge can be used and adapted to the next day. In our case there was a tight concept on the first day while the concept for day two was more informal. The different formats gave different dynamics.

On October 27-28 the EXXTRA Partners will replicate and consolidate the model to continue their path towards more professional cluster services and activities.

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