Before starting with the essence we need to stress the importance of being concise and to the point. Word limits do apply and are controlled by the web-based submission platform. This means that all the points below need to be covered, but within the limits set out.
First the applicant organisation and all partners involved in the proposal must possess the operational capacity to carry out the project. This has to be communicated in the proposal in effective way, not merely statements, but providing facts clues and signals.
For a successful project the applicant should demonstrate and provide convincing description of substantial demand and customer willingness to pay for the innovation. Demand generated by new ideas, with the potential to create new markets, is particularly appreciated in the assessment process.
In order to support the above a credible and convincing description of targeted users of the innovation must be presented together with how their needs have been addressed, why the users or customers identified will want to use or buy the product, service or business model, all this compared against what is currently available if anything at all.
Another must have is a realistic and relevant analysis of market conditions and growth-rate, competitors and competitive offerings, key stakeholders, clear identification of opportunities for market introduction, market creation or disruption.
All of the above should be featured against the backdrop of a realistic and relevant description of how the innovation has the potential to scale-up the applicant organisation and its business. This should be ideally supported by a well-versed and argumented business plan with a clear timeline, and complemented, where possible, by a track-record that includes financial data. The proposal should be aligned with the overall strategy of applicant and other participants. The commitment of the team should be demonstrated with clues, signals and where possible facts. Highly appreciated are proven commercial and management experience, including understanding of the financial and organisational requirements for successful execution and scaling up of project and business. This analysis should be realistic and where necessary third parties needed should be brought in to make increase the realism of execution.
A key part of a successful proposal is a realistic and relevant strategic plan for commercialisation, including approximate time-to market or deployment. Activities to be undertaken after the project to make it long-term sustainable should also be discussed in support of the overall go to market strategy.
European and global dimension of innovation should be considered, analysed, discussed and well versed in the proposal especially with respect to both commercialisation and assessment of competitors and competitive offerings.
In order to increase the realism and long-term sustainability of innovation, the proposal should ensure the freedom to operate the innovation, communicate a well-developed knowledge-protection strategy, including current patent protection filing status, know-how ownership and licensing issues should be communicated in the proposal. Regulatory and standards requirements should be clearly addressed as these often turn to be a make it or brake it mile-stone in any project.
Statistics show that high-risk/high-potential innovation idea projects that have something unique that nobody else has usually score highest. Ideally your innovation embodiment into a product or projection into service-rendering process should be better and significantly different to any alternative. Game-changing ideas or breakthrough innovations are particularly highly valued. This high degree of novelty comes with a high chance of either success or failure and there is no downside in clearly stating that. On the contrary this is exactly the type of projects that get support from the programme.
Realistic description of the current stage of development and clear outline of the steps planned to take this innovation to market are not only necessary for probability of success and realism of overall plan, but demonstrate in an objective way the level of experience and maturity of the key execution people, especially top management of project.
Characteristics that score high for the proposal include highly innovative solution that goes beyond the state of the art in comparison with existing ones, including on the basis of costs, ease of use and other relevant features as including climate impact, the gender dimension or any other benefits for society.
The proposal should also communicate a very good understanding of both risks and opportunities related to successful market introduction of the innovation from both a technical and commercial points of view. Documentation on the technological, practical and economic feasibility of the innovation must be provided in support of any claims or statements.
The proposal should also make sure that its objectives as well as its approach and activities are consistent with the expected impact in terms of commercialisation or deployment resulting in company growth. Project outcome should also relate to measurement indicators and criteria for success.
Availability of resources required including human, facilities, networks, to develop project activities in the most suitable conditions are also taken into account by evaluators.
Realistic timeframe and comprehensive description of implementation including work-packages, major deliverables and milestones coupled with risk management aspects are a key feature of successful projects and these should also take the applicant’s innovation ambitions and objectives into account.
Finally all of the above points made should be addressed in a mutually compatible and reinforcing way with any conflicts between them eliminated or explained.