The research group INNOPRO from the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM), works in promoting and supporting Innovation Management, from the perspective of research, developing methodologies and tools to allow improvement of competitiveness and the efficiency of organisations.

We spoke with Doctor Antonio Hidalgo, Chair of Organisation of Companies and Doctor in Industrial Engineering, director of the research group INNOPRO. We wanted to know more about their research and their efforts in promoting innovation in the organisations.

P: Doctor Antonio Hidalgo, could you explain us how were the beginnings of your research group?

R: INNOPRO initiates its trajectory in the year 2006 as a Research Group recognised in the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM), as a consequence of the strategic aim imposed by this academic institution in the mission to achieve a greater quality research.

In this sense, INNOPRO gathers researchers from the Technical School of Industrial Engineers, Aeronautical and Telecommunication Engineers, in a common project that focussed on six lines of research, to tackle our central aim: the development of research oriented to the company and public administration in the field of innovation management.

P: How do you consider that companies should go for innovation?

R: To survive in an increasingly changeable environment, the companies should adapt and renew products and services and adjust and modify the ways in which they produce and deliver to the consumers. All of this is what we refer when we speak about Innovation management, it is a field of knowledge very useful in practical that facilitates companies to improve their positioning in the market and help to be competitive.

In this sense, INNOPRO supports innovation processes from a triple perspective: facilitator, bearer and innovation source.

P: Which research lines guide the scientific production of the group?

R: Nowadays the research lines developed by INNOPRO are seven:

P: In what consist each one of these and what kind of research projects do you develop?

R: The research line of Innovation is centred in the analysis, characterisation and improvement of innovation processes for the implementation of new technologies. The design of methodologies and technical management helps organisations to implement advanced systems to adapt to the changing surroundings.This type of research projects is developed at national and international level with the support of organisms such as the European Commission, the AECID, the National Plan of R&D, among others.

The research line centred in the field of Patent Rights covers subjects related with strategies, qualitative analyses of patents such as mechanism for business innovation, patent rights management associated to technological innovation activity and forecast models in patents matter. This line of research as a narrow collaboration with the Spanish Office of Patents and Marks (OEPM).

The research line of Technological Policies is focuses on the regional and national public sector, directing its efforts in the design and evaluation of public politics in the research field, technological development and innovation. Examples could be, for instance, the participation in the design of PROFIT program , the preparation of the Canary Plan of R&D and the collaboration in the study R&D Promotion Politics for the area of Technology Information Society with the aim of realising a detailed analysis of the different political programs and instruments used in Spain.

The research in Prospective and Technology Forecast realises analysis to support a business strategy, as well as analysis of technological, economic and social trends, construction of alternative stages, design of plans and forecast studies of technological convergence.

In the research line Systems and Technologies of Information supporting business management we conduct an analysis of the impact on strategy of the systems of information, the structure and the business culture. Study new trends in information technologies that give support business management. In this field loans special attention to the creation of technology models applied to the e-commerce.

The last, educational Innovation and e-learning, we realise research projects related with the use of platforms of e-training (LMS) in educational processes, the study of educational methodologies in different modalities of education (face-to-face, b-learning, e-learning) based in the business simulation and the impact of the simulators in the training efficiency.

P: You have a wide experience in scientific and technological cooperation with Latin America countries, tell us about it?

R: Yes, a good number of projects developed by INNOPRO are related with Latin America countries. We have collaborated by means of bilateral agreements and with financial support from entities such as the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID), the Centre for Industrial Technology Development (CDTI), the Spanish Office of Patents and Marks (OEPM) and the European Commission.

A sample of the main projects realised and linked with Latin America countries could be:

Our research group also have numerous publications related with Latin America and available on line, for example:

P: The strategy of INNOPRO is complemented by an interesting training offer, could you tell us some more?

R: Yes, we think that research in the university has to be always linked to quality training, therefore in INNOPRO we coordinate two specific training programs related with our thematic, that are:

  • Official Master in Economy and Innovation Management (MEGIN).
  • PhD in Economy and Innovation Management (DEGIN).

Those programs are in the frame of Bolonia agreements and are developed jointly by the Polytechnic, Autonomous and Complutense Universities of Madrid. They have a clear main aim: to contribute to the development of research and its practical application in companies and public organisms, in subjects related with technological innovation from an economic and business perspective.

Besides, these programs have a recognition of quality. In 2006 our programs achieved the Quotation of Quality by the Ministry of Education and Science. Recently, and in accordance with the new normative, the Ministry of Education has conceded us the Quotation of Excellence to the PhD Program DEGIN (Resolution of 6th of October, 2011).

Within this field of training-research, Prof. Antonio Hidalgo is member of the Scientific Committee for the European PhD program EDIM (European PhD in Industrial Management), that is a joint PhD program ERASMUS MUNDUS funded by the European Commission in the period 2011-2018. In this PhD program participate the following universities: Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH) of Stockholm (Sweden), Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI) of Milan (Italy) and the Polytechnical University of Madrid (UPM). More information on this program can be obtain in the site: www.kth.se/edim

P: In all of your performances, cooperation is a transversal value, which importance has in the development of the research group?

R: Cooperation has been always the base of the work of INNOPRO, both for our research projects as for our formative actions. We have very clear that without cooperating it is not possible to access to a critical mass of researchers and collaborators that allow the multidisciplinary research projects development.

The cooperation, both at research and training levels, it is done in three complementary axes:

  • Cooperation between researchers of the same university, but of different Schools of Engineering (Industrial, Telecommunication and Aeronautical).
  • Cooperation with researchers of other Spanish universities (Polytechnic University of Valencia, Autonomous University of Madrid, Universidad Complutense of Madrid, University of Vigo, etc) and consulting companies working in innovation subjects.
  • Cooperation with researchers of universities of third countries (University of Costa Rica, University of Manchester, Technical University of Lisbon, etc.), that allows a greater scope of the developed projects.

The last point, we should stand out the narrow collaboration with the Chair of Innovation and Business Development of the University of Costa Rica. Definitely is one of the main projects and collaboration of INNOPRO and deserves a special attention.

More information: INNOPRO

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