The reason behind the research
The SIA (Foundation Innovation Alliance) –RAAK (Regional Attention and Action for Knowledge circulation) –SME (Small & medium enterprises) program ‘Open Minds Open Sources’ is established on the basis of questions of a specific group inside the SME as a part of the creative industries: the independent designer, independent of contract situations designing his own product designs and bringing them to market. They are a type of designer that deal mainly with consumer products that are highly related to lifestyle, such as interior products (furniture, lighting, interior textiles, crockery, etc.) and fashion accessories (bags, hats, shoes, etc.). For these designers the cultural innovation plays an important role. In collaboration with OPA (Design Platform Arnhem) and Syntens (public intermediary to support SME with innovation advise), ARCCI provides an analysis of specific questions based on a series of conversations with the SME designers in the region.
Main finding was that designers would like to have more knowledge and access to the (regional) manufacturing opportunities that join or form the base line for their design concepts. Moreover, designers are in need of the concrete cooperation with companies to create a space for developing innovations that can be successful in the long terms. Designers are also interested to cooperate with companies that in addition to the manufacturing conditions can also provide knowledge to the market (target groups, marketing).
Based on these findings, the three objectives have been formulated within the program:
1. Improving the possibilities for (future) designers to orientate themselves to the regional knowledge and opportunities for materials processing production (orientation);
2. Creation of an innovative partnership between (future) designers and manufacturers of the consumer products in the context of a cultural or commercial market (experimental space);
3. Preservation of the knowledge obtained in 1 and 2 (ARCCI lab).
To address the questions, there has been estabilished a consortium consisting of: Design Platform Arnhem, Syntens, ARCCI and four SMEs who have extensive experience with the outlined issues between designers and manufacturers (Erik-Jan Kwakkel, Weltevree, Designer Association, ARCO).
The program is led by Ewan Lentjes, Jeroen van den Eijnde and Inez Kohlmann and starts from February 2010 until February 2012. The program aims at the following results:
• Identification and linking of the networks of designers and manufacturers;
• Cooperation between designers and manufacturers to identify the possibilities and difficulties in order to come jointly (process, product and market) with innovations;
• Structural spill after the program in which innovative collaboration between designers and manufacturers is further developed through collaboration with a party that can offer them an interesting context;
• Understanding of successful cooperation between designers and manufacturers;
• Develop a website with an extensive database of manufacturers that are relevant to the type of designer participating in this program;
• Research and implementation plan for a sustainable ARCCI lab that stimulates the collaboration between designers and manufacturers.
Foundation Innovation Alliance (SIA)
This project was made possible by the subsidy regulation of RAAK (Regional Attention and Action for Knowledge circulation) managed by the Foundation Innovation Alliance (SIA). SIA promotes the knowledge circulation, particularly between educational institutes, SMEs and public institutions. The aim is to increase the innovative capacity of SMEs and public sector. One of the means is the subsidy regulation RAAK (Regional Attention and Action for Knowledge Circulation). SIA is an association of SME Netherlands, VNO-NCW (Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers), the HBO-raad (Netherlands Association for Universities of Applied Sciences), TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research), Novay and Syntens (public intermediary to support SME with innovation advise).