INOCAST project aims at addressing the need of Central Asian universities to develop a sustainable, built on experience and user-centered infrastructure for catalyzing innovation in the knowledge triangle.
The main output of the project is expected to be the creation of fully operational Innovation Labs able to stimulate the commercialization of public research in a cost-efficient manner, responding to user needs and being context appropriate while building in previous experience and incorporating best practices into the design of products, processes and services. The Innolabs are envisaged to be viable in the long term and its structure and fucntioning principles replicable and customizable in other institutions, faciliating also the upbringing of an innovation and entrepreneurship culture.
As successful innovation calatalyzators rely not only on local wealth but are well connected to the world, INOCAST will set up an Innovation Network comprising stakeholders in the Knowledge Triangle as a supra-regional platform for exchange of experiences and the development of a sustainable scheme for enhancing innovation and public-private partnerships in Central Asia, supporting a "Think global, act local" approach in which small scale innovations are supported and networked for better up-scaling. In parallel, and in order to increase the absorptive capacities of the Partner Countries institutions staff, INOCAST project will design and implement a training program for strengthening of managerial, strategic and technical capacities of personnel of the 14 Central Asian partner Universities.
The successful establishment and operation of well structured, interconnected and properly disseminated Innovation Labs is envisaged to serve as a role model and stimulate structural and management reforms in other Central Asian higher education institutions, based on the citizen-centered and user-driven innovation concept of the INOCAST approach.
INOCAST specific objectives:
- Creation of an Innovation Network comprising stakeholders in the Knowledge Triangle (Research, Business and Education) as a supra-regional platform for exchange of experiences and the development of a sustainable scheme for enhancing innovation and public-private partnerships in Central Asia, supporting a "Think global, act local" approach in which small scale innovations are supported and networked for better up-scaling;
- The definition, infrastructural establishment and operation of 14 Innovation Laboratories (Innolabs) at 14 Central Asian Universities, establishing spaces for experimentation, product and service development in focus areas to be determined, and community engagement by fostering entrepreneurship and innovation culture;
- Strengthening of managerial, strategic and technical capacities of personnel of the 14 Central Asian partner Universities for the maximization of innolabs as sustainable, user centered, built on experience and scalable innovation catalyzators.
By assembling the project structure around the design, implementation and operation of Innovation Labs, INOCAST project intends to bring in a fundamental innovative change at institutional level of participating institutions, and in a broader scale in the whole of the Central Asian knowledge triangle. INOCAST project will distillate the essence of Innolabs to provide more than an approach to innovation, a new blueprint for innovation. INOCAST Innolabs guiding principles will be: user centered and equity focused (respond to user needs and be context appropriate); Built on previous experience; sustainable in the long term; Open, inclusive, and multi-stakeholder; pluri-disciplinary; scalable, replicable and customizable in other institutions-regions-countries.
A successful implementation of the Innolabs, linked to an enhanced capability building (by strengthening the managerial, strategic and technical skills of the 14 PC institutions staff) and a solid networking and communication strategy aimed at creating a Innovation Lab community and connecting it further to existing structures in a “think global, act local” approach, could bring in the PC institutions into the right track to couple academic research and knowledge production with an entrepreneurial spirit and a greater interdisciplinary focus on social and organizational practices and innovation end-users, fostering a clear organizational development and an innovation culture in staff, students and local environment.
There are 4 core target groups of the project:
• Management of the participating universities, that will be actively involved in shaping strategic directions;
• Academic & research and students community of the 14 PC institution;
• Local SMEs and stakeholders in the environment of the 14 Central Asian universities (G-local CIMs) as beneficiaries of networking activities and the implementation of Innolabs; Policy makers (the Innovation Support manual in CA will aim to support future innovation policy approaches).