KNOW US - Co-generation of competitive knowledge among universities and SMEs


The project KNOW US plans to increase the competitiveness of SMEs in strategic field on the cross-border area between Italy and Slovenia, supporting the new knowledge generation, also in synergic collaboration with enterprises’ associations, science and technology parks, universities and local authorities, in order to start a way of innovation in sustainability.
For this goals the project will develop the following main activities: - planning and testing effective methods and coherent policy to support the development of strategic plans for business-cognitive "ideal-type", as companies representative of the involved sectors - plan and launch of an innovative cross-border business school to ensure the application of planned methodologies also at the end of the project.

The project KNOW US is expected to realize activities that are classified as:
- analytical and research
- plan activities of the same methodologies and prototyping
- development activities of Web tools for networking and support
- training for the dissemination and development of methodologies designed
- dissemination of results, reporting, meetings, workshops, conferences and publications.

The project will be carried out in 36 months and includes the following activities:

WP1 - Coordination and Management
- Activity 1.1: Activation and coordination of resources
- Activity 1.2: Programming, control and management of activities
- Activity 1.3: Monitoring progress of work and regular meetings

WP2 - Mapping the territory, knowledge and innovation of the cases
- Activity 2.1: Analysis and selection of key sectors
- Activity 2.2: Mapping of relevant knowledge possessed by research centres
- Activity 2.3: Survey paradigmatic cases of business innovation in sustainability

WP3 - Plan methodologies for SME competitiveness
- Activity 3.1: Definition of a pattern of cognitive-strategic audit
- Activity 3.2: Definition of a methodology for the construction of cognitive-strategic plans
- Activity 3.3: Definition of policy innovation

WP4 - Implementation of methodologies
- Activity 4.1: Identification of strategic groups and cognitive-assessment of their sustainability
- Activity 4.2: Elaboration and presentation of an SME evaluation reports
- Activity 4.3: Construction and discussion of strategic and cognitive maps
- Activity 4.4: Development of strategic plans for business-cognitive "ideal type"

WP5 – Innovative cross-border business school
- Activity 5.1: Plan of the innovative cross-border business school
- Activity 5.2: Starting of the innovative cross-border business school

WP6 - Communication Plan / evaluation and dissemination
- Activity 6.1: Evaluation of results
- Activity 6.2: Preparation of the communication plan
- Activity 6.3 Establishment of the communication tools and implementing the communication plan.

The most important achievements of the project KNOW US are:
- 1 set of methodological tools and processes useful also in other sectors and / or other geographical areas:
a) recognize the knowledge of the SMEs and how to manage it, and evaluate the consistency of those with the competitive mode,
b) build strategic cognitive maps at the level of individual companies, sectors and total area,
c) to develop joint projects for innovation in sustainability.

All this through the involvement of around 200 companies through a training program (1 for Slovenia, 1 for the Friuli Venezia Giulia and 1 for the Veneto),
- a web-based platform for social networking and e-learning for the networking of universities, centres of innovation, business associations and SMEs involved in the project
- 200 reports of strategic-assessment of cognitive knowledge among those on the 400 SMEs interviewed initially, then, 50-Strategy cognitive maps of the 100 SMEs visit to discuss in company reports,
- 5-cognitive maps for strategic policy areas and therefore the development of the same for 25 (thanks to the involvement of companies) of strategic plans for business-cognitive "ideal type"
- a strategic map for cognitive- the area as a whole and then for the same development of a strategic plan-cognitive
- a report of guidelines for policies to support innovation processes with a view to sustainable development by local governments;
- the start of a innovative cross-border business school and training of 50 young experts, this course aims to prepare and assist a select number of students (from University project partners) in various scientific disciplines (economics, engineering and humanities) for these projects during their internship (at the companies involved, as described in the previous WP) and elaboration of the thesis.

The results are expected to increase the competitiveness and sustainability of SMEs directly involved in the project but, more generally, including the 5 intervention areas, and then also to companies not directly involved in the project.
The main target group are: SMEs in the identified five areas, research institutions, innovation and higher education area, where the public can obtain guidelines for public policy 's innovation, the people involved in the project area and the recipient of occupational and environmental-economic impacts.

Project details

Scientific responsability: Stefano Zambon

Funding source: CBC Programme Italy-Slovenia

Call: Cross Border Cooperation Programme - Italy-Slovenia 2007-2013 - Public call for strategic projects no. 01/2009

Start date July 2010 - end date April 2015

Total cost: 2,652,443.07 €


  • Unità di Progetto Ricerca e Innovazione della Regione del Veneto, Italy
  • Consorzio per l'AREA di Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica di Trieste, Italy
  • Fakulteta za management - Univerza na Primorskem / Facoltà di Management - Università del Litorale, Slovenia
  • Univerza na Primorskem, Znanstveno - raziskovalno središče Koper - Università del Litorale, Centro di ricerche scientifiche di Capodistria, Slovenia
  • Dipartimento di Economia e Direzione Aziendale - Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, Italy
  • POLINS - Polo Innovazione Strategica Srl, Italy
  • Camera di Commercio, Industria, Artigianato, Agricultura di Venezia, Italy
  • Dipartimento di Ingegneria Elettrica, Gestionale e Meccanica - Università degli Studi di Udine, Italy
  • Polo Tecnologico di Pordenone S.C.p.A., Italy
  • Camera di Commercio, Industria, Artigianato e Agricoltura di Udine, Italy
  • UIP - Univerzitetni razvojni center in inkubator Primorske d.o.o. / Centro universitario per lo sviluppo e incubatore universitario del Litrorale S.r.l.
  • Gospodarska zbornica Slovenije - Območna zbornica Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Primorska gospodarska zbornica, Slovenia
  • Direzione generale attività produttive, commercio e turismo della Regione Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • Servizio istruzione, università e ricerca - Direzione centrale istruzione, università, ricerca, famiglia, associazionismo e cooperazione della Regione autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy