Which new services might we offer for Austrian SMEs in the manufacturing sector to help them master digitalization and incorporate new technologies?
The Austrian Trade Commission, Advantage Austria, is Austria’s official trade promotion agency with more than 100 offices around the world. In addition to supporting Austrian companies to internationalize, it is transforming itself into Austria’s Innovation Agency (see more information in the briefing documents).
With our San Francisco presence, Open Austria (a joint initiative of Advantage Austria and the Austrian Foreign Ministry), we connect Austrian companies with the innovation ecosystem of Silicon Valley and foster the technology and knowledge transfer between those regions.
Along those lines we frequently develop new products and services to serve our member companies even better – in particular small and medium sized (SME). SMEs make up more than 90% of the Austrian economy. The manufacturing category includes 25 000 SMEs that employ 320 000 people. These manufacturing SMEs are a key economic driver, yet they face pressure: Consumers are demanding innovative, individual, high-quality and nevertheless inexpensive products within shorter and shorter periods of time. These products have to be manufactured from increasingly scarce resources, with increased efficiency while being as sustainably as possible and meet highest quality standards to be globally competitive.
Digitalization offers the potential and turn these challenges into ever expanding opportunities. IoT, AI, machine learning and robots are some technologies that are changing manufacturing. We strive to assist Austrian SMEs to tackle digital disruption and benefit from new technologies. We invite you to shape our future role in guiding the digital transformation of Austrian SMEs. Which new services might we offer for Austrian SMEs in the manufacturing sector to help them master digitalization and incorporate new technologies?
To tackle our challenge we encourage you to take three steps. First, research the ecosystem of Silicon Valley and map out the key actors in the intersection of manufacturing and digital technology. Second, gather market insights through in depth analysis of relevant actors (SMEs, experts, service providers, innovators/startups, etc.), with interviews of potential partners, experts, SMEs or other ways to gather data. Third, develop concrete ideas for new services that we might offer to empower Austrian manufacturing SMEs to master digital transformation.
We hope to see innovative and useful services for SMEs. Show us how your service will work and point out why SMEs will want to use it. When you prototype your service, find ways to make the intangible service tangible. Some tips for prototyping new services are here and tools are here.
For Austrian-based winners: Present your solution to the Innovation Team of Advantage Austria in our headquarter in Vienna.
For US-based winners: Present your results to the Advantage Austria / Open Austria team in our Silicon Valley office in San Francisco.
For all winners: We will potentially offer further collaboration opportunities, for instance in the form of research projects.