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The THINGS + project, funded by the Interreg Central Europe program, aims to strengthen the skills of small and medium-sized enterprise entrepreneurs in managing service innovation. By enriching its offer of additional services, in fact, SMEs could increase the value offered to their customers and thus improve their position on the market.

In fact, the central European industries, particularly SMEs, are still concentrated above all on the production and sale of products. Despite investments in innovative technologies, the competitiveness of these companies is seriously threatened by the massification and low-cost competition from companies in non-EU countries.

The sharp differentiation between products and services has been replaced by a continuum between products and services. This is why service innovation can be a factor that directly and positively affects the economic growth and social well-being of the regions involved, especially in areas with below-average economic performance.

The main result of the project is a new methodology aimed at improving the skills of entrepreneurs in introducing innovative services into their traditional manufacturing companies. Through the introduction of "servitization" thanks to an adequate investment in human capital, manufacturing companies will be able to meet the challenges of an ever-changing market and may be "regional innovation engines", without the need for high economic investments.

The process of "servitization" of enterprises is a trend already in place in the most developed European regions and can be accelerated in Central Europe thanks to the skills development actions envisaged by THINGS +. The transnational approach will help regions to understand the potential impact of service innovation as a "driver" for industrial transformation and competitiveness, and to adapt their service innovation policies, integrating them into the general innovation policies.


  • Friuli Innovazione Research and Technology Transfer Centre, Italy (lead partner)
  • Science and Technology Park of University of Rijeka, Croatia
  • Bautzen Innovation Centre, Germany
  • Technology Park Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • BizGarden, Czech Republic
  • Slovak Business Agency, Slovakia
  • Lodzkie Region, Poland
  • Veneto Region, Italy
  • Innovation & Technology Transfer Salzburg, Austria
  • Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County Development Agency, Hungary


Definition of a transnational methodology for service innovation: creation of coherent, solid and operational methodologies for improving the skills of entrepreneurs in the development and introduction of innovative services related to products.
Specialization in services for companies with high added value in Central Europe: the aim is to train the staff of the partners on the learning system related to service innovation, so that they can then transfer it to the entrepreneurs and / or employees of SMEs in the course of training workshops organized at local level.
Adoption of innovative servants in the Central European manufacturing industry: after the training course, entrepreneurs will be supported in the application and testing of the service innovation methodology (action-pilot), with the aim of revising and improve the application tools of the methodology.
Recommendations for a policy of inclusion of service innovation in Central Europe: a coherent and comprehensive set of recommendations will be developed to define an integrated policy framework for service innovation.

Start date: 1st of June 2017

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