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Evaluation of the Wellness and Health Innovation project
The Wellness and Health Innovation (WHI) project provides specialised support to Scottish companies that are developing innovative technology-enabled products, services or applications for the growing wellness and health market. The WHI project aims to develop a 'growth pipeline' of companies supplying the global W&H market and to create a 'community' of companies and partners working in this sector. The projects target companies: already supplying the wellness and health market; that have products or applications that could be developed for this market; and start-ups with business plans to target the wellness and health sector. The main areas of WHI support include market intelligence and analysis, product technology and innovation support and business development. The evaluation aimed to assess: the rationale for investment and fit with the policy environment; project objectives and targets achieved; project economic impact and value for money; wider project benefits, including contribution to the equity and equalities agendas; the usage, quality and demand of WHI services; management delivery, management information and performance measures; and project learning points.
The methodology consisted of: desk research; primary research with direct business beneficiaries using a telephone questionnaire of 104 direct beneficiaries out of 171 businesses (a response rate of 61 per cent); and consultations with 11 key stakeholders associated with the project.
The report finds that the WHI project has been managed well by Innovation Centres Scotland (ICS), the delivery agent, although the original rationale and focus of the project was ambiguous and lacked clarity. ICS is highly regarded by consultees and 71 out of 104 direct beneficiaries were 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with the service overall. The project has exceeded each of its targeted gross output measures and by the end of the project is expected to have supported 240 enterprises and 32 research networks and collaborations, engaged 35 partners and undertaken 42 events. Estimates of impact are uncertain, as so much of the impact will be in the future. The report suggests that net employment impacts for Scotland have been approximately 7.7 FTEs to date (2010-11), with an estimate of around 22 FTEs in the next few years, and the cumulative net GVA impact is estimated to have been approximately £0.5 million to date and is projected to rise to £7.7 million. The value for money of the WHI intervention remains unclear. However, if a few of the intensively supported companies achieve the ambitious growth targets, then this will pay back SE's investment many times over.
In terms of key transferable learning points, the report finds that: sector-specific interventions should have a much clearer definition of the sector from the approval stage; interventions need a much more robust rationale than was articulated for the WHI project; and contracting out service delivery to a third party can provide a high level of service and management and can feel more responsive and less bureaucratic to clients. The report suggests that the 'assisted living' market has both a clearly-defined focus and a promising future potential, given 'austerity' pressures to reduce costs associated with care and the advent of large-scale initiatives such as Delivery of Assisted Living Lifestyles at Scale (DALLAS). The report recommends that SE should undertake a review of the opportunities and issues associated with the 'assisted living' market, and identify and appraise options for continued or new intervention focused on that sub-set of the wellness and health sector. In light of the review, SE should then decide whether any interventions in the assisted living arena are best delivered through a continuation of the WHI project or through a new approach. The most promising client prospects emerging from the WHI 'growth pipeline' should be identified and support for them should continue through mainstream SE support mechanisms. The report concludes that SE should disseminate the sector and company knowledge gained through the WHI project more widely through SE and Scottish Development International (SDI), to ensure that this knowledge is not lost if funding for the WHI project is stopped.
Full report (2 MB, pdf)
|Consultant||SQW; IBP Strategy and Research|
|Theme/Sector||Supporting key sectors, Business infrastructure, Digital markets and enabling technologies, Innovation, Business innovation, Life Sciences, Sectors|