What is VISIT?

The context and focus of VISIT are to develop existing & new innovative services with SMEs on Nauvo-Korppoo, Fehmarn, Vis, Öland and Paxi-Corfu islands to boost local regions. Higher Education staff & students develop their knowledge & skills in different geographical regions, entrepreneurship, cultures & transversal skills, forming a sustainable network with SMEs for future cooperation. The background lies in the joint need to develop services on European islands with higher education.

VISIT’s objectives are to form an international strategic partnership to develop new services with Higher Education Institutes and islands; train students & SMEs on islands to develop services; enhance entrepreneurial skills of all; develop an online community with self-study module for SMEs and students; develop services in Higher Education Institute courses with SMEs via online community in the future, and provide internships for students on islands. VISIT supports cultural competences & social inclusion. The project is international due to international island tourism development, combined competences of partners as added value & demand of international collaboration between islands (ESPON).

The project involves five HEIs: Laurea UAS Finland, Kiel UAS Germany, University of Ioannina Greece, Linneaus University Sweden and VERN UAS, Croatia. The five islands are associated partners. The Higher Education Institutes provide versatile expertise, including Service Innovation and Design, Business& Multimedia Marketing, ICT, Tourism & Hospitality Management, Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Technology in Tourism, Sustainable Tourism, geographical specific knowledge in tourism and business.

The project will design and innovate new services for SMEs on the islands with students. Students will go on internships on islands to cooperate with the entrepreneurs to implement developed services. These activities create different documents e.g. Service Logic Business Model Canvases and VISIT Model for integration of innovative tourism services at local SMEs. The project designs innovative business case study guidelines to develop 20 service logic business model canvases (publication). The project develops VISIT training, learning & internship blended material for ISPs. Partners develop with islands an online community (self-study material, interactive cooperation, a learning environment for HEIs and SMEs). The activities are analyzed and results researched to define sustainability and transferability, published in VISIT Handbook to promote transfer& exploitation of results. The multiplier event is organized at ITB to share the results with stakeholders. The online community brings innovativeness to the front with future cooperation possibilities both in services development and studies, based on experiences & results from the project. This project combines HEI students & staff, and local organizations on islands to work together & create new, innovative services with Service Innovation and Design methods.

The methodology for project implementation is based on LFA (logical framework approach). Goal, objectives, activities, results and indicators linked in one framework, leading to expected outcomes. All activities are designed to achieve main objectives, and indicators used to measure results systematically.

Project results are: online community for insular entrepreneurs & HEIs (VISIT Online Community Intranet); internships for 20 students during the project, and more on a regular basis after the project; VISIT Model for integration of innovative tourism services at local companies; Business Model Case Study Guidelines; Collection of VISIT Case studies/Business Plans (20 innovative business plans/SLBMC based on the project work and BCMs); VISIT Training, Learning and Internship blended material (Technical & soft skills for students to bring to companies and learning outcomes they should receive from internships); VISIT Online Self-study module with relevant terminology for innovative services, course material; VISIT Handbook of project results & how to be transferred to other territories & HEIs; 50 new service ideas on the islands; trained students in ISPs (100); new high quality skills for professional use, civic & intercultural competences, design skills, entrepreneurial skills; one multiplier event.

The long-term benefits of the project include strengthening the islands’ economy, generating new jobs, steady income, increasing sustainable tourism activities, international networking with other islands in online community, new projects, cooperation with partners to develop more services and businesses with the islands.