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Testing the international networks pilot at Hanze

Within the Opening Up project, the Hanze University Groningen is developing the “INNL social network map” ( This International Social Network Map is conceived as a SME Internationalisation support service and is close to launch. Users will be able to quickly find business contacts in other parts of the world via a network of trusted business partners. Users information can be based on their LinkedIn profiles, but adds this layer of a trusted network. The platform wants to facilitate collaborations in internationalization processes between businesses, higher education and research institutes and local governments of the region using social media. INNL also collects generalised data for research purposes.

Meanwhile the site is ready to an extent that it can be tested. An alpha test was conducted with 15 employees of the Hanze. An instruction related to searching and adding data was prepared and sent out to a selected group of IBS teachers and presented to the people involved with the OpeningUp project within the Hanze. As a whole people are positive about the added value on showing, sharing and searching international contacts. Less positive was the searching in terms of ease and usefulness. Most of these remarks can be related to the fact that there is still very little data in the database, but there are also relevant remarks for improving the usability. Interesting suggestions were made to integrate more with existing social media platforms and add more searchable items. It will be investigated if this is feasible. The findings will be used to improve the site and we will bring it to the beta test around the second week in October.


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