AcumenIST supports both the private and the public sector with timely technology-specific expertise that enables its clients to draw the maximum benefits from science- and technology-based innovations, whilst minimising and managing their potential risks.

... for SMEs & Large Industry

Emerging technologies present opportunities and challenges to both small and large companies. Staying abreast of every the developments in science and technology, however, is not something that every company is doing on a routine, in-house basis – not should it be!

Disruptive technologies is a misnomer. What it is, is trivial technology that screws up your business model.

[Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel]

AcumenIST offers companies technology analysis services for specific short term (or one-off) modernisation requirements, as well as ongoing  long-term innovation programmes that may necessitate the elaboration and implementation of new business plans, strategic R&D collaborations, or similar foundational elements.

Extended technology scouting projects benefit from AcumenIST’s experience in Project Development and Project Management, especially when multi-actor Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) are required.

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... for Policy Makers

… and for all those, who assess policies or technologies with regard to their socioeconomic impact, in support of governance models that are based on reliable, robust indicators and inclusive models.

Technology and Policy Assessment based on evidence, not assumptions!

AcumenIST offers a number of proven and bespoke approaches to conduct both ex ante and ex post impact assessments of policies, policy initiatives (such as investment programmes) and specific small- or large-scale innovations.

The likely economic, societal and environmental effects of new and emerging technologies are evaluated through established, stress-tested methodologies that allow the inclusion of laypeople, special interest groups and expert scientists and lawmakers in discussion fora that are designed according to individual requirements.

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Established Technology & Policy Assessment

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Emerging Technologies & their Policies

Established Technologies & Policies

Today’s complex technologies follow an innovation logic of the so-called  ‘hourglass model’; the model illustrates the multidisciplinarity of the expertise and skills that define a technology and wide of economic sectors, in which the technology is applied.

Underappreciation of the expanse of a technology’s hourglass and outdated input indicators (i.e. education and research disciplines) or output indicators (i.e. industrial and economic sectors and markets) can generate significant errors in an assessment exercise and lead to severely misguided policies.

Emerging Technologies and their Policies

Traditional technology foresight methods often underestimate considerations of the roles that individuals and societies play during the research and development of new technologies; at times, when human beings are no longer just users, but part of the technology itself, however, the dynamics of these roles must be included in the assessment of technologies and their policies.

We are no longer just users of a technology; we are part of the technology itself.

AcumenIST therefore developed a bespoke Technology Foresight approach, based on the proven ‘Scientific Foresight’ methodology of the European Parliament Research Services (EPRS), extended with established concepts from Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and from Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), and stress-tested during two extended workshops with international policy makers.[1] [2] [3]

The resulting methodology consists of a tiered approach that combines Technology Foresight (Tier 1) with Policy Assessment (Tier 2); both tiers can also be conducted independently from each other.

Illustration of the AcumenIST advanced approach to Technology Foresight: the two tiers of Technology Foresight (Tier 1) and Policy Assessment (Tier 2) can also be conducted independently.
Illustration of the AcumenIST enhanced Technology Foresight methodology: the two tiers of Technology Foresight (Tier 1) and Policy Assessment (Tier 2) can be conducted independently. [Source: https://www.innovationpolicyplatform.org/project-harnessing-convergence-next-production-revolution-oecd-bnct]

Tier 1: The Technology Foresight exercise combines elements of ‘Scientific Foresight’ (EPRS)[1] and technology assessment in ‘Co-operative Discourse’-sessions that are organised in the form of ‘Scenario Workshops’;[2] mixed groups of experts and lay-people are encouraged to talk about their hopes and fears in view of a future, when a specific technology is fully implemented.

Tier-connection: A Policy Backcasting exercise provides a connection between the two tiers of the AcumenIST advanced Technology Foresight approach.[4]

Tier 2: A detailed Policy Assessment is conducted with a view to evaluating if a specific policy (or a generic policy family) is adequate, or if adaptations are likely to be required, or if a new policy needs to be developed, in order to provide the best governance for the innovation in question.

 


[1] Van Woensel, L. and D. Vrščaj (2015), Towards Scientific Foresight in the European Parliamenthttp://dx.doi.org/10.2861/367909

[2] Decker, M. and M. Ladikas (2004), Bridges between Science, Society and Policy: Technology Assessment – Methods and Impacts.

[3] https://www.innovationpolicyplatform.org/project-harnessing-convergence-next-production-revolution-oecd-bnct 

[4] “Backcasting is a planning method that starts with defining a desirable future and then works backwards to identify policies and programs that will connect that specified future to the present.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backcasting)

... for Research Consortia & Projects

Modern day innovations are dependent on support networks that provide a multitude of widely varying elements of individual input, in order to advance an idea into a novel product or service that eventually becomes firmly established in the market.

To turn a network of world-leading players in their own rights and fields into a well-tuned consortium that combines its strengths into a successful research project, however, excellent project planning and reliable project management skills are required.

AcumenIST offers over 15 years of experience in the initiation, development and successful management of research projects; in addition to participating in or coordinating over 20 public research projects (such as EU Framework Programme projects, or direct tenders backed by governments, societies, foundations or corporations), AcumenIST has obtained a unique track-record through the bespoke initialisation, development and management of bespoke Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP).

Through an open-minded and flexible approach, AcumenIST offers a wide-ranging set of both one-off and long-term support services to existing and future research projects:

AcumenIST Project Development

Annotated Flowchart describing AcumenIST's Project Development Services
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WHY? Each successful research project is born out of a specific need (i.e. a knowledge gap that is to be plugged by a research project tender, a business threat to a group of companies, a societal challenge that requires some novel solutions, etc.); regardless if the source and amount of funding is already guaranteed in the outline of a call for tender, or if  significant fund-raising is required to get the project off the ground, AcumenIST conducts a reliable project identification and provides an accurate description of critical issues and the specific expertise that is required.

HOW? While the project identification process (or the tender call text) readily provides the elements that a specific project must address, this step challenges the proposal leader to develop an outline that reflects a uniquely individual and compelling approach to address these elements: During the proposal development, AcumenIST coaches the proposal leader (i.e. a legal person that often later becomes the ‘coordinator’ of a project) to outline the interdependencies and workflows between the different project elements, as well as their financing and weighting; this dialogue will ultimately deliver a draft budget and timeline of the project, as well as an estimate of its major risks (and their mitigation approaches), and identify a number of key-roles and corresponding key-partners and the tasks they should fulfil in the proposal.

WHO? Empowered by a wide-ranging, international network in academia, industrial research, governmental laboratories, and non-governmental groups, AcumenIST orchestrates a consortium building exercise, gathering the best partnership for the research needs and funding conditions at hand; at this stage, key-partners should be chosen to take responsibilities for the detailed planning of specific key-tasks (including the suggestion of additional consortium partners). Transparent and timely communication with all partners will initiate a starting point for a reliable expectation management within the consortium and lay the foundations of the smooth running of the project.

WHAT? Through ongoing communication with and feedback from the consortium partners, a detailed project plan is elaborated; this must reflect both the individual contributions of the consortium partners, and the collaborative workflow within the project. At this stage, the typical AcumenIST project plan development yields the backbone and identity to the research project; it provides a sense of security that even the most risky and ambitious project can succeed, because of the robust scaffold of sound time- and budget-planning, rigorous checks and balances of the management process, realistic targets and diligent monitoring arrangements, as well as sober risk-mitigation and –management plans. Moreover the agreed project plan should become a go-to reference of the project delivery process.

WHEREFORE? The final project proposal accommodates all of the previous steps, with a view to describing a project that is uniquely suited to address the challenge at hand (i.e. by conducting state-of-the-art research with a well-tuned team of world-leading partners). AcumenIST fulfils this last step of the project development process by creating the relevant proposal material (i.e. either in the form of an application, or in the form of fund-raising material), highlighting how the project plans to answer the questions raised at the WHY?-stage through a bespoke research design that is bigger than the sum of its parts.  

AcumenIST Project Management

Illustration of AcumenIST's project management approach: the visible and the invisible part of the iceberg
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The visible part of a well-run research project must be backed by strong foundations of administration, financial management, legal support, and forward-thinking development work.

AcumenIST provides all of the necessary elements of a reliable project management, in order to strengthen the project’s back and to allow the research consortium partners to focus on their research at hand.