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Digital processes for donating funds to innovation
A lot of things have to work smoothly when 80 case officers have 5,000 applications to assess and SEK 3 billion to distribute to initiatives promoting innovation. Platina’s efforts meant that Vinnova, Sweden’s innovation authority, was able to set up an entirely digital process that makes work more efficient as well.
Vinnova is a state administration authority and was founded in 2001. The job of this authority is to contribute to sustainable growth by improving opportunities for innovative companies. Much of this work involves providing funding to initiatives and projects that are required in order to develop new innovations.
Fewer Support Cases
IT support is receiving fewer cases and calls to deal with thanks to the digital support provided to applicants.
More time left over
Having fewer errors in the formalities for applications is also reducing the number of individual cases for lawyers, who can focus instead on complex issues and problems.
Using Platina as a basis and then adding custom functionality was the obvious choice to make.
5,000 applications – every year!
Every year, Vinnova invests around SEK 3 billion in promoting innovation. Most of this money is distributed via calls for applications which allow companies, public stakeholders and other organisations to apply for funding. This means around 5,000 applications are received each year, of which about 30 per cent – 1,500 applications – are granted funding every year.
You do not need to be Einstein to work out that the projects applying for funding are pretty complex. Infrastructure and the transfer of protected data are absolutely crucial. There are more than 80 case officers at Vinnova who work together with external assessors and experts to decide which projects ought to receive funding. At the hub of this solution is Platina by Formpipe, which handles all cases received (or, in this case, applications).
“Our managers want to develop and administer solutions of various types. Using Platina as a basis and then adding custom functionality was the obvious choice to make,” says Magdalena Jenkinson, business developer at Vinnova.
Key role for Platina
In the middle of all this, Platina is a key player. Vinnova has worked hard over the last few years to link a number of different technical solutions as they hunted for an efficient handling process. All data and information are visualised in various locations, but Platina holds most of the data.
Pool of assessors
This work began a decade ago, and forms a foundation to allow Vinnova to fulfil its purpose:
“To contribute to sustainable growth by improving opportunities for innovation. This is achieved mainly by providing funding to innovation projects and research needed in order to develop new solutions. We also make long-term investments in strong research and innovation environments. We encourage interaction between companies, universities and colleges, the public sector, civil society and other stakeholders. We also focus on reinforcing international cooperation.”
What was your objective when implementing this change?
“Our overall objective was to create an efficient, modern, digitised authority. We wanted to do away with unnecessary bottlenecks, manual errors and boring tasks, and we have largely been successful in this. By performing regular surveys and qualitative interviews with our customers, we are ensuring that things are proceeding in the right direction and that we have a firm foundation for our further development,” explains Magdalena.
Validations are one example of a proprietary function. Vinnova has defined limits for a maximum amount, start date and end date (to name but a few examples) for each call for applications. These are visualised by means of integrations, and an error message is displayed if an application is filled in that fails to match the criteria.
What enabled it?
As we said previously, amending and improving our processes is a never-ending task. New areas for development are constantly being considered in an organisation like Vinnova, where change is never far away.
“Quite a lot of effort will now be focused on making the entire process bilingual in order to open up the option to more organisations and provide more opportunities for innovation. The assessor portal is currently available in English, but we still have a bit left to migrate,” concludes Magdalena.