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TIP: Process


The issue at stake

One issue that SMEs have to face with their customers is their low acceptance of uncertainty, especially when SMEs create a breakthrough in innovation.

The perception of SMEs low credibility and lack of technique to turn the innovative idea into a robust business case, often means that customers are not prepared to risk expense.

The solution

SMEs need to effectively engage their customers in the breakthrough innovation stage and overcome their customer's low acceptability of uncertainty.

Top down Innovation Planning (TIP) has been especially designed to help SMEs in the plastics sector to innovate in collaboration with customers.

The TIP Support

Top down Innovation Planning (TIP) is supported by the European Commission under the Innovation & SMEs Programme of the 5th Framework Programme for Research and Development.

The TIP project is designed to help SMEs innovate thanks to the support and interface of the project consortium and the use of innovation planning tools specially designed for SMEs of the plastics industry.

What's in the TIP Process for you?

TIP is primarily about helping Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs):

•  Improve competitiveness
•  Innovate in collaboration with customer needs
•  Add value to their business
•  Keep their customers satisfied
•  Find new opportunities

The prime targets are plastics SMEs willing to diversify or add value to their business to maintain and develop their customer relationship.

The TIP process will help you structure your innovation process in partnership with your customers to ensure the success of your breakthrough innovation.

You can decide to follow the process online, as a self-help toolkit or offline and get, the support of an Innovation Facilitator.

What is TIP?

TIP , and its sister project BIP , are European Commission funded projects designed to help all European plastics SMEs innovate thanks to the interface and support of Innovation Facilitators and the use of innovation planning tools specially designed for SMEs in the plastics industry.
The whole online process will be facilitated free of charge to the SMEs.

The TIP project is focussed on the use of already strong customer relationships to allow SMEs to broaden the scope of their competencies to answer the identified needs of their customers. Innovative SMEs often find themselves in the position of not being able to react to market trends, customer needs, upcoming changes in legislature, standards or technologies as well as in competition by developing innovative products using a defined innovation strategy and a well structured innovation process. An answer to this is to support the SMEs in the approach of a suitable innovation methodology to enhance the development of innovative products and the implementation of new technologies. The purpose of the TIP project is to provide this support by an assessment and benchmark of their innovation capabilities and assisting SMEs in improving their innovation process and activities

The BIP Project is the partner project to TIP, and it is primarily about helping SMEs attract new customers for their existing innovative technology. The purpose of the BIP project is to provide this support, assisting SMEs in finding and building effective partnerships with customers, so that these SMEs can fully exploit the technologies that they possess.

Customers and innovation

In the last few years some companies have come to understand that they only exist because their customers buy their services or products. Until 10 or 15 years ago, demand was so high and unquestioned that most products and services providers didn't seriously think of paying attention to their customers' opinion. Customers were not involved in the process. It was assumed they would be "grateful" for the products produced for them.

In the global market, with fierce competition from the Far East on quality and costs, it is essential for companies to build and maintain solid, strategic customer relationships. It's therefore critical to listen to the customer, and make sure that their demands, expectations, requirements and wishes are reflected in the product offered. Listening to the customer is a key part of the product development process.

The TIP Process is primarily about helping SMEs maximise their strong customer relationships to develop new competencies to answer identified unanswered needs of their customers.

Through the TIP process, SMEs will be able to identify new technologies, identify and satisfy their customers' needs, develop/adapt relevant technologies, diversify their offer and thus maintain their added value: customer relationships.

Project scope:

The TIP project aims at increasing innovation activities within the polymer industry by facilitating collaborations along the value chain.

Project partners (Small and Medium sized companies, Original Equipment Manufacturer, Research & Technology Organisations and innovation specialists) will more specifically supply their knowledge of the automotive, electronic and healthcare sectors. However the results of the project will not be limited to these sectors.

The TIP methodology is addressed to companies wishing to reinforce their existing customer base through the development of innovative products or technologies to broaden the scope of their competencies.

The TIP process offers a really flexible approach to SMEs. Depending on their needs, whether they require the full TIP support or parts of it, the process has been explicitly designed in a modular fashion so that it is easier for SMEs to spend more time in particularly relevant modules and move more quickly through less relevant ones. It is important that the SME completes all the modules in the process. Each module is designed to build on the output from the previous one working towards the successful innovation output, and also each module acts as a gate to check progress and to provide a performance measurement for the process itself.


The TIP process is still being finalised and will soon be accessible online from this website. We would like to thank you for your patience. In the meantime, if you have any queries about the project or if you are interested in testing the tool, please email help@tip-eu.org

TIP also has a sister project, BIP - Bottom Up Innovation Planning focusing on companies with existing innovative technology competences but lacking a solid customer base. The combination of both approaches enables the coverage of the overall innovation aspects.  

Aims and objectives:

TIP will help SMEs.

•  Improve their innovation capability and activity by creating a self-help methodology, based on investigated success factors within the polymer sector

•  Investigate technology and market trends, needs and requirements - company or branch specific - of OEM to help SME better understand their customers

•  Partner and collaborate with OEM

•  Foster the use of their creative and high-technological potential within OEM to get innovative products and active development partner

•  Access the TIP networking and information community Platform related to innovation and technology transfer for polymer industry

TIP specifically targets the early stage of innovation process

The process covers the first phase of the innovation process and can be divided roughly into these four phases. This process is located before the development, demonstration and market launch of a new product.

Access the TIP Process (this part of the website is not available as yet, thank you for your patience). If you'd like to be informed when the website is available please email help@tip-eu.org