RailActivation project: the adoption of Workplace Innovation in the Rail Sector

  • GARAZI CARRANZA MAFEX- Spanish Railway Association
  • Giacomo Petrini Consorzio Quinn
  • Begoña Sanchez Tecnalia
  • Oihane De la Rua Mafex- Spanish Railway Association


The rail sector has a significant impact on European industry, hence it is important that it follows current innovative trends if it wants to stay competitive. To this end, the railway sector has to adapt to the new digital revolution that is sweeping the sector, but especially the small and medium-sized companies that are part of it, and Workplace Innovation will play a key role in this process. During the RailActivation project it has been seen that SMEs have difficulties when it comes to developing and applying innovation, but due to their size SMEs can gain the advantage of implementing innovation more quickly.

The RailActivation project aimed to help SMEs from the railway sector and provide solutions to the problems faced by companies when adapting to this new revolution, by creating an organisational mechanism that would help companies in the process of adopting Workplace Innovation. To address the aforementioned challenges, this paper develops the research model for the railway industry, based on the concept of Workplace Innovation and the needs of SMEs. In addition, a general overview of the Innovation Way methodology applied during the workshops of the RailActivation project is presented, as well as the general and specific results obtained in the companies where the Pilot Scheme was applied.

Author Biographies

Giacomo Petrini, Consorzio Quinn

Head of the Strategic Business Unit "University Education, Management Systems, Research Projects" at the university consortium QUINN. He has more than twenty years of experience in the design and management of transnational projects on issues of innovation, management models and assessment systems. In the last ten years he has developed several researches on the theme of technology transfer and on the adoption of 4.0 paradigms in SMEs.

Begoña Sanchez, Tecnalia

Senior Business Development Manager and part of the expert group on Policies for Innovation and Technology at TECNALIA. She conducts research on different aspects regarding innovation policies, systems and ecosystems linked to technology. During most recent years she has been focusing on reindustrialization through digital transformation e.g. in the context of Digital Innovation Hubs initiatives. Expert project manager in European funded research and structural fund projects regarding research and innovation systems and strategies, policy development, evaluation of public policies. Prior professional experience includes private consultancy firms, multinationals, a regional government delegation in Brussels and Spain. She has a Business Management Diploma from the I.E. Business School, a Diplôme d´Etudes Européennes from the Université Catholique de Louvain and a B.Sc. in Economics and Business (International Economics) from the University of Basque Country.

Oihane De la Rua, Mafex- Spanish Railway Association

Degree in Industrial Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering of Bilbao, and Master Degree in Management Engineering. R&D Project Engineer.