In March 2014 the EBC Foundation was selected as an EIP-Water Action Group (AG125). European Innovation Partnerships (EIP's) are initiated and developed by the European Commission under de Innovation Union strategy. The aim of the EIP’s is to promote and support innovation in the European Union by connecting partners in the whole innovation chain.
Benchmarking is much more than just a performance assessment; it is the key to continuous improvement. However the step to concrete performance improvement is sometimes difficult. The main aim of the Action Group is to focus on this particular step. It will act as a think-tank to discuss and support the transition from benchmarking as mainly diagnosis and performance evaluation, to a more performance improvement approach. As such it will explore the future of benchmarking in Europe*. The Action Group supports the EIP-Water activities under priority area ‘Decision support systems and monitoring’.
Benchmarking can often be separated in two stages: performance assessment and performance improvement. These two stages are also incorporated in EBC’s annual benchmarking exercise, which consists of seven consecutive steps (step 1 to 4 mainly focus on performance assessment and step 5 and 6 on performance improvement).
However, the feeling exists regarding benchmarking in general, that the performance improvement based on benchmarking results should become more incorporated in daily practices. It could for instance, become part of the normal business cycles. As such it can contribute to the utilities performances in a wider sense, respecting the plan-do-check-act principles of checks and balances in business administration.
The Action Group will mainly focus on this performance improvement stage and possibly add another step to EBC’s annual benchmarking exercise. It will act as a think-tank to further discuss and develop on how to formalize, facilitate and support the performance improvement stage.
To do so the group intends to meet at least twice a year in person. In 2016, one of these meetings will coincide with the annual EIP-Water conference.
* During the first two meetings of the Action Group it was stressed that the future of benchmarking is the crucial issue to cover. Therefore also the name of the Action Group was changed from ‘EBCF - European Benchmark Cooperation Foundation’ to ‘Benchmarking of the Future’.
With the status of EIP Water Action Group member, EBC and its partners can use the EIP Water-label in the communications and benefit from a better starting position when applying for external funding of benchmarking activities.
Next to the EBC Foundation, the Action Group consists of a diverse group of members from all over Europe. Representatives of the following organizations are yet participating in the group:
Peter Dane of the EBC Foundation is chairing the meetings with the support of Pol van den Bergen (Prisma and Associates, Action Group Secretariat).
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