The term “hub” has several meanings, such as open interaction and collaboration, and it is often used as a brand more than a simple noun. However, do you really know what a technology innovation hub is? Is it just a trend meaning “incubators”, “science parks” or “training facilities”?
Let’s see what an innovation hub truly is.
AN INNOVATION HUB IS A COMMUNITY
Innovation hubs are meeting points for a community. They consist of people sharing an identity and having a sense of belonging and participation as a community, in which people are inspired and motivated around the common cause of the hub.
INNOVATION HUBS ARE SELF-ORGANISING AND ADAPTIVE
Innovation hubs emerge from the initiative of innovators and entrepreneurs that constantly adapt them to changing community needs. Therefore, hub managers usually see themselves less as leaders and more as facilitators. While sponsors are usually needed to fund hubs, they are only seen as supporters that organise an agenda based on the needs of the community.
The innovation hubs can be more or less selective in terms of which causes they want to support, but the truth is that the entrepreneurial world strongly influences that choice.
NRRP AND INNOVATION HUB: INVESTMENT IN TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER
Aware of the fragmentation of the system, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan has earmarked a sum of EUR 350 million for the entire 2021-2026 period with the aim of strengthening and reorganising this ecosystem.
The theme of technology transfer is fundamental for the completion and success of those growth and transformation paths enabled by digital technologies. In other words, the ‘public sector’ must provide the necessary resources to support those infrastructures – research centres, but not only – that are able to make know-how and skills available to those (many) small businesses that are unable to develop them at home.
With the Industry 4.0 plan, then Enterprise 4.0 and now Transition 4.0, the main players in this game are the eight Competence Centres, which are public-private partnerships that provide guidance, training and support (including financial support, on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Development) for innovation projects. Then there are the Digital Innovation Hubs, a galaxy of which various constellations are part: those of Confindustria, Confartigianato, CNA, Compagnia delle Opere, Confcommercio EDI, etc. And finally there are the Points of Expertise, which are the main centres of the Digital Innovation Hub. And finally, there are the Digital Enterprise Points of the Chambers of Commerce, which operate mainly in guidance.
The overall objective is to “support, also through a process of reorganisation and rationalisation, a network of 60 centres” including Competence Centres, Digital Innovation Hubs and Digital Innovation Points “in charge of project development, the provision of advanced technological services to businesses and innovative and qualifying technology transfer services”.
THE HETEROGENEOUS KNOWLEDGE OF INNOVATION HUBS
Hubs aim at bringing together people with different backgrounds. In this scenario, creativity and brainstorming create a structure in which individuals interact with others. In fact, hubs invite people to step out of the routine and openly interact new contacts and stakeholders with a view to networking.. Within the community everyone is encouraged to engage with everyone else, which is the most challenging aspect of the hubs.
CAUSES SUPPORTED BY INNOVATION HUBS
Hubs are different from those organisational models that only provide business support without a traditional incubator. They have an active role in the innovation eco-systems, combining structured organisational models and support programmes.
JO EDUCATION AND THE INNOVATION HUB CATANIA
JO Education is the founder of Innovation Hub Catania – IHCT and promotes new technologies among people through the organisation of workshops and brainstorming sessions. Our innovation hub gives people a chance to share any new progress in the technological world and helps businesses and start-ups to grow.
Encouraging an ecosystem focused on digital transformation and on the evolution towards smart cities is the mission that JO Education aims to follow, building a bridge between business, society and research through the IHCT.
An example of this is the digital events promoted by the Innovation Hub Catania, conceived according to this philosophy. The digital events are therefore the first step in a process of informal aggregation of talents, with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of digital transformation and expanding the community of innovators. Among its objectives, therefore, is to encourage the alliance between technological innovation and the world of work, to train new skills and involve research centres, local authorities, start-up incubators, investors, industrial players and universities in these activities.
The IHCT ecosystem therefore helps accelerating the various aspects of innovation and new technologies, so that also young people have the opportunity to do something great for the society in which they live.
The innovation hub based in Catania is part of a group of companies founded in 1998 (JO Group) with core business in digital transformation and EU project consulting.