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COVID-19 - How does the Alpine Space programme address it

The unprecedented times we are currently experiencing disrupted our lives but also provided us with a new perspective on the surrounding world. Interreg Alpine Space project partners are of course affected by the movement restrictions and we are supporting them by showing an increased flexibility on management issues and providing tips of how to make the most of their online communication. Besides, far from only undergoing the current circumstances, Interreg Alpine Space projects are once again revealing their added value and offer inspiring examples of how to address the various consequences of the pandemic.

On this page, you will find:

  • Stories of how Interreg Alpine Space projects tackle the pandemic effects
  • Further resources to discover how the Interreg community and Alpine Space projects are addressing COVID-19 consequences
  • Tips to adapt project communication
  • Information on how to deal with consequences on your project

How Interreg Alpine Space projects tackle the effects of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic strongly impacts our societies and their functioning and will have lasting consequences in various fields, from concerns about health systems to the need for recovery of the economy, and social and environmental consequences. The diversity and territorial relevance of Interreg Alpine Space projects make them all the more opportune to provide solutions to the various challenges created by the pandemic. Many of our projects can already provide a useful contribution to mitigating the consequences of COVID-19, by developing new and innovative approaches helping to shape tomorrow's society.

Read below some inspiring examples as well as two longer interviews on what our projects are doing to tackle the pandemic consequences.

CARE4TECH: innovating for a better health

Telemedicine and virtual care became essential in attending patients while avoiding the spread of the epidemic. The tools and networks created by the CARE4TECH project support the swift development of smart health solutions. The Living and Innovations Labs enable a fast innovation process in complex situations (e.g. www.prolida.at), whereas the CARE4TECH Knowledge Atlas provides a basis for a fast and transnational co-development of technologies and services, together with relevant SMEs and industry partners.

SmartVillages: engaging mountain communities

Smart solutions for rural and mountainous areas are also a means to contribute to recovery from the pandemic. In the municipality of Kungota (SI), 5,000 citizens can now benefit from a network of free public WLAN/WiFi points to promote their services online and advertise local products through a dedicated mobile application. This new tool was developed by the project SmartVillages, which engages mountain communities to find original ways to improve their economic, social and environmental wellbeing.

Listen to the new Interreg podcast This is Europe to learn more about this project!

BE-READI ALPS: a second life for SMEs

In the current situation, many companies are facing profound structural changes. BE-READI ALPS offers solutions as the core goal of the project is to support SMEs in launching "second life" projects. The BE-READI Points are available to accompany entrepreneurs to check the feasibility of their projects, to establish new partnerships and to learn new ways to relaunch business valorising digital tools. If you are interested, stay tuned here: www.linkedin.com/company/be-readi-alps

CIRCULAR4.0: circular economy for recovery

The project CIRCULAR4.0 presents a valuable opportunity for the Alpine Space and its enterprises in the recovery phase from the pandemic. The project indeed encourages SMEs to innovate and to grow by using more digital tools in order to adopt circular economy business models. It also allows facing environmental challenges, as it develops a set of tools to create circular design models, optimal use models, value recovery models that help the transition to a more sustainable manufacturing.

CO.N.S.E.N.SO: the power of communities

Interview of Silvia Rizzi, Direzione Sanità –  Regione Piemonte (IT)
Project manager of CO.N.S.E.N.SO - COmmunity Nurse Supporting Elderly iN a changing SOciety

Why is decentralised care important and how does it benefit the Alpine Space communities?

The added value of Consenso model with existing working methods is in the form of "care" delivered to citizens, visiting both people with and without evident problems. In this way, Family and Community nurses switch from waiting to making initiatives – pro-active health care  – through interventions focused on prevention and detection of unexpressed desires and social needs.

This is a way to control actively the territories by contacting people, establishing trustful relationships and personalizing intervention. Older people and their family become the center of care by providing them timely all the necessary care and attention. In doing so, the health care system reduces costs due to avoidable hospitalization and guarantee a better quality of life, implementing healthy and active ageing.

What are the key features and added value of the model of care developed by CONSENSO?

The Consenso model offers a way of taking care of older people by applying new strategies to avoid disability and loss of independence and by working on prevention and on integrating the social and health care with the resources of families and communities. The Consenso project tested an innovative learning path enabling nurses to think critically and creatively, to act proactively, to personalize the care, empower our citizens and help them to stay at home as long as possible. This is possible also thanks to an identification of the needs of the population and the enhancement of the social network around the person.

The last, but not the least, achievement of the Consenso model is the capacity of boosting resources and networks already active on the territory in order to made them more cohesive and powerful.

How could the model developed by CONSENSO represent a response to curbing the covid-19 pandemic and provide health assistance to people without congesting hospitals?

The Consenso model offers a way of taking care of older people by applying new strategies to avoid disability and loss of independence and by working on prevention and on integrating the social and health care with the resources of families and communities. The Consenso project tested an innovative learning path enabling nurses to think critically and creatively, to act proactively, to personalize the care, empower our citizens and help them to stay at home as long as possible. This is possible also thanks to an identification of the needs of the population and the enhancement of the social network around the person.

The last, but not the least, achievement of the Consenso model is the capacity of boosting resources and networks already active on the territory in order to made them more cohesive and powerful.

Can you tell us more on how the achievements of CONSENSO could be taken over at the local/regional/national level?

Piedmont Region investigated a sustainability framework for this project based on three relevant dimensions (i.e. health, organisation, and context), highlighting the necessary conditions for a continued provision of health services beyond project conclusion. Policy makers need clear information on the economic impact of extending this new intervention to the whole target population and on the required preconditions for its financial sustainability in terms of health outcomes. Nevertheless, a participatory process involving all relevant local stakeholders and organisations is crucial to extend current achievements beyond project conclusion. An extensive description of this study and the local stakeholders´ interactions to support the sustainability framework of CONSENO is published on International Journal of Health Planning and Management (Ippoliti et al., 2018).

Cited work: Ippoliti R., Allievi I., Falavigna G., (...), Rizzi S., Moda G. (2018). The sustainability of a community nurses programme aimed at supporting active ageing in mountain areas. International Journal of Health Planning and Management, Vol. 33(4): e1100-e1111.. DOI: 10.1002/hpm.2591.

DesAlps: Design Thinking to adapt to a new reality

3 questions to Fabiana Mei, Education and training specialist at t2i- technology transfer and innovation – Treviso (IT)
Project Manager of DesAlps - Design Thinking for a smart innovation ecosystem in Alpine Space
Picture ⒸprojectDesAlps

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are now faced with unprecedented challenges to keep up with their businesses. How can design thinking support them to reshape their business?

Design Thinking is a method that helps companies to adapt quickly to grasp emerging demands of individuals, creating valuable products and services for clients that are more and more demanding as they are connected to a globalized market with infinite choices. Now more than ever, we have realized that a sudden shift of scenario can cause chaos in thoughts of companies, while they need to act fast, in a very competitive setting, sometimes with scarce resources. Design thinking can train companies to build empathy with customer, experiment creativity and adaptability to anticipate market opportunities in fast-changing situations, in order to create product and services that users will love for their real value.

Can you tell us a success story of how design thinking helped this process?

A web agency (IT Power Net) that we flanked in a Design Thinking testing path in 2019, offers food for thought. The activity led them to follow their intuition and start a revision of their business model making a step forward and turn their job of standard web designers into digital voice assistants programmers. In the new reality we are living, contactless-modes are very quickly becoming essential in every product or service, as they are safer to use. The company decided to open their mind and anticipate the future, empathizing with new potential customers and grasping new business perspectives. Now they have the privilege to ride on the wave of this technological boom instead of blindly rushing into it like many others are trying to do.

Which of the tools you developed can be beneficial to challenged companies? How can they benefit from them?

Design Thinking is now our mindset when we help client companies to solve their problems. During the lockdown, we performed several webinars on this method, as we have been asked for a quick and effective way to face this unprecedent scenario. There are many helpful tools for this challenging period. I would like to mention the DesAlps Toolkit, templates and guidelines to go through a quick Design Thinking session to rethink your product/service, considering new and sustainable technologies. Or the Traffic Light Canvas, a wall map that we have just designed to help visualize the critical points in the interaction of customers with the service that a company offers (very useful for dealers in this period, as they have to rethink how to run their shops). Lastly, I would say the Design Thinking Recipe, the DesAlps Manifesto, which condenses in a poster 10 golden rules about what to know and what to do before starting an innovation process, in order to optimize time and resources. It is the sum of precious feedbacks and hints collected from trainers and experts during the entire project.

The Interreg contribution to mitigating the impact of COVID-19

The entire Interreg community is addressing COVID-19 consequences with new and innovative approaches. In cooperation with various Interreg and ENI programmes, Interact has identified a number of projects that help to tackle the diverse effects of the pandemic on different sectors of society, e.g. health, social services, emergency services and geriatrics, but also in the support to SMEs, to entrepreneurship and to employment. These projects can now be easily found in keep.eu using the keyword 'covid'.

Find out more here!

Tips to adapt project communication in times of COVID-19

Promoting project´s achievements in times of COVID-19

The current situation should not prevent projects to promote their results, on the contrary. Sustainable regional development projects with transnational partnerships propose solutions that are useful to face the consequences of this crisis in the Alpine territory. In the next weeks and months, projects may want to brainstorm to make these very aspects clear and visible in communication activities, while avoiding “COVID-washing” (i.e. any inappropriate reference to the current situation for promotion purposes).

Taking part in ongoing online campaigns

Many European campaigns and events are now going to take place mainly online. Have a look at the events and campaigns you were supposed to take part in and check if you can also take part online.

The #EUinmyregion campaign keeps on running in various ways, which can be a way to get an online visibility as well when you use the #Interreg30 on social media (more information on the campaign here).

Strengthening the online presence through the website

This is a good time to improve the look and content of website, which are more likely to be visited during the current period. Some tips on website management are available in pages 11 and 12 of the Interreg Alpine Space communication toolkit. We also prepared a document for inspiration, based on good practices for an attractive project website.

Running online events and webinars

With the current restrictions, many events have already been reorganised to take place online instead of in presence. Our colleagues of Interreg Europe organised a webinar to help organise online events. The recorded version is available here.

FAQ: consequences of the COVID-19 on projects

Because of the traveling and meeting restrictions, Interreg Alpine Space project are facing unexpected difficulties and delays that the programme is addressing by showing an increased flexibility. How to deal with cancellation costs? How to implement project activities despite the travelling and meeting restrictions? We are supporting projects to find answers to these questions and collecting them in a new section to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. Please find them here: www.alpine-space.eu/project-management/project-tools-resources/frequently-asked-questions

For any specific question, please get in touch with the JS team. We remain available for your support!