In May-June last year Experientia (in collaboration with Richard Eisermann of Prospect and Tjeu Arits of Arits Consulting) worked intensively with the City of Genk, Belgium, to set out the project vision and prepare all the application documents in order to gain Flemish Government/ERDF funding.
Meanwhile, the project was evaluated positively and yesterday it was officially launched.
From the launch press release:
Today, the Belgian Ministry of Economy formally inaugurated Humin, a programme developed for Flemish SMEs and startâ€ups that creates competitive advantage through people-centred innovation. Sponsored by Limburg/Genk, Design Region Kortrijk, and FlandersInShape, Humin puts design at the heart of every business, enabling Flemish managers to become more effective and more successful. The focus of the programme is on understanding the people who use an organisationâ€™s products and services, using design methods to translate these insights into tangible, bottom line benefits for business.
Over the next two years, Humin will have 1.4 million Euro available to connect businesses and designers, providing innovation tools and methods to SMEs and innovation training to designers. Through intensive workshops and oneâ€onâ€one interventions, designers will coach organisations in the skills necessary to identify opportunities for innovation within their businesses. They will then help their clients to develop these insights into new products and services through design. The goals of Humin will be to:
- Raise the entrepreneurship of 30 Flemish SMEs and startâ€ups through the use of people-centred design and innovation methodologies;
- Train 20 persons to become Design Coaches, the experts in people-centred design methods who will support the participating SMEs;
- Create a set of practical tools for both of the above groups that enable innovation and the application of design thinking to business problems;
- Improve the perception of entrepreneurship in Flanders, inspiring individuals and companies to try new methods of innovation;
- Strengthen the international reputation of Flanders as a region focused on innovation;
- Create a community of people-centred innovation practitioners that will prolong the impact of the project beyond its two year running life;
- Develop a body of knowledge (and a means of accessing it) that will provide a legacy for use by the region in the future.
With the generous support of Flanders and Europe, Humin offers an extraordinary opportunity and financial incentive to learn, practice and implement topâ€level innovation methods that will provide long lasting benefits to Flemish businesses. Any business or organisation that is trying to meet the challenges of today in more creative ways can sign up as a candidate for the programme. Any designer who feels he/she has the right mix of experience, business understanding and design skill to make a credible impression on managing directors of SMEs should put themselves forth for Humin. But capacity is limited to 30 â€˜business seatsâ€™ and 20 â€˜designer seatsâ€™, so please visit www.humin.be for more information and to register your interest today.
The project manager is Dany Snokx, who worked for 11 years at Philips Design in Eindhoven, and for past four years was engaged as creative director for Philips Lighting.
The bilingual (Dutch/English) humin.be website provides plenty of background information.