Collaboration, business, and the consumer in focus

Date: 3 January 2017

The INCluSilver panel of experts met for a collective session a few months ago with the purpose of developing a set of competencies key for SMEs’ innovation efforts in the context of personalised nutrition.

The 19 experts agreed on seven competencies vital for small and medium sized companies to either possess or be aware of if these companies are to be successful and innovative in the context of developing personalised nutrition products or services for older adults. The panel debated the competencies in groups of four and each group selected five competencies.

Collaboration competency, business competency, and consumer understanding were highlighted by all four groups. The experts noted that it would be crucial for the success of the projects that the partners identify, reach out to, and collaborate with experts who possess competencies that they don’t possess themselves. Especially if they are missing a number of the seven highlighted competencies.

The business competency was described as an over-arching competency by some and as a sub-competency by others. One expert depicted it as such:

Cross-cutting all competencies is a business competency. So you need to have a business competency within the general practitioner practice service, which, now in modern times, is the norm.”

The experts also agreed on the importance of engaging with and understanding the consumer. It is vital to ensure that the product addresses the needs of the consumer, especially if it requires behavioural change by the consumer. In relation to this, one of the experts stated the following:

So, are people ready to receive this information, are they ready to change their diet, or do they know how, or do they have the skills.

The need for a technological competency and understanding was also discussed by the experts. However, the experts linked this competency to two of the other seven competencies: consumer understanding and market analysis. In order to develop a successful piece of technology, it is crucial to identify whether it covers a gap in the market and whether it addresses an actual consumer need.

The last two of the seven competencies are the fundraising competency and the nutritional competency. The expert panel felt that in most cases SMEs need to have a certain level of understanding of the nutritional sciences themselves in order to develop personalised nutrition products.

Read more about the members of the panel of experts here.

Panel of experts meeting in Galway

Covering the agro-food, health, ICT, packaging, and creative industries sectors (part of five emerging industries comprised of Food, Personalised Medicine, Mobile Services, Mobility, and Creative)