Arnaud Duban (Luxinnovation):Developing a strategy to bounce back and move forward
With Fit 4 Resilience, companies now have a strategic programme to help them emerge from the current crisis and reposition themselves. Arnaud Duban, Head of SME Performance at Luxinnovation, gives further insights.
Can you describe the main features of the Fit 4 Resilience programme managed by Luxinnovation?
Fit 4 Resilience aims at helping companies get through the crisis and reposition themselves. The programme has been developed at the initiative of the Ministry of the Economy and Luxinnovation. It will run until 31 December 2021, with the support of consultants directly accredited by the national innovation agency. The list of consultants and their areas of expertise is available on fit4resilience.lu. The idea is to use a 360° diagnosis carried out within the company in order to accurately analyse the impact of the COVID crisis. The aim is to identify both internal factors (company processes, relations between departments, digitisation processes, etc.) and external factors (market trends, competition, products, supply channels, logistics, distribution, etc.).
Depending on the size and complexity of each company, this phase can last between 5 and 25 days. Eligible companies are then reimbursed 50% of the consultancy costs by the Ministry of the Economy. This phase is essential for a proper understanding of the situation and the development of a strategy to bounce back and move forward. The objective is to put in place a roadmap for the short and medium term. Beyond the purely operational aspects, it is also a question of integrating reflections around the circular economy, more regional value chains and especially digitisation.
Digitisation, in fact, is a means of mitigating risks and becoming more resilient. Do you agree with this statement?
Of course I do! Within of just a few weeks, companies were subjected to upheavals of a magnitude that has rarely been experienced in such a short period of time and that are likely to last. According to the experts, some companies implemented digital transformation processes in three months that would normally have taken between three and five years. Digitisation not only makes the daily lives of companies and their employees easier, but also leads to substantial savings. And all operational aspects can be concerned: improving customer relations, automating production management, modernising and digitising processes, moving towards more sustainable and circular approaches... Clearly, the organisations that launch digital transformation processes or accelerate processes that are already underway will be the ones that will best emerge from this crisis. However, it is important that this transformation is also seen from a cultural point of view. Organisational changes have to be taken into account, including in the way in which data, which is an indispensable raw material, is used and exploited.
Could you give us some examples of the support provided to Luxembourg companies and of other relevant innovation programmes?
Companies can innovate in many different fields. I can mention digitisation again, for example: innovation can consist of the collection and management of data that can be used to develop new services. You don't have to be Amazon to develop a 'track and trace' system for orders, for instance. Similarly, in the circular economy, innovation can mean investing in technical solutions that reduce the environmental impact of an activity. This may, for example, involve replacing or eliminating plastics in packaging, which often requires development and fine-tuning efforts.
In addition to Fit 4 Resilience, an aid scheme for investment projects in the COVID-19 era has been set up as part of the vast ‘Neistart Lëtzebuerg" economic plan. Its objective is to encourage companies that have suffered a drop in turnover to make investments that would have been cancelled or postponed due to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. The investments concerned relate to development projects, process and organisational innovation projects, as well as energy efficiency projects or projects that exceed standards.
Head of SME Performance
Citatio: Fit 4 Resilience aims at helping companies get through the crisis and reposition themselves.
Arnaud Duban, Head of SME Performance, Luxinnovation