Shared spaces and co-creation: the new MMP

As the site of Eindhoven Engine’s co-location, MMP (previously MultiMediaPaviljoen) plays a key role in Kadans Science Partner’s mission of creating and supporting innovation ecosystems. Kadans Commercial Manager Pim van Os and Eindhoven Engine Managing Director Katja Pahnke discuss how recent renovations help realize this vision.

A mix of old and new

MMP, a multi-tenant office used mainly by TU Eindhoven initiatives, was purchased by Kadans in 2019. Plans for renovation began immediately, as Pim explains.

“It was an old building without the right structure for users – it was actually a bit like a student house! There are three aspects for us: you need to inspire tenants and guests, you need to connect different functions and you need social interaction. Innovation often comes from unexpected corners, like the coffee machine. This is how we approached our renovation plan.”

Kadans aims to stimulate maximum usage of shared areas, 
increasing the chances of collaboration.’ – Pim

The result is a mix of old and new, bringing together aspects of the building’s former industrial nature with updated elements like flooring and furniture. Kadans aims to stimulate maximum usage of shared areas, increasing the chances of collaboration but also generating a friendly atmosphere in which people look forward to their work. “We didn’t do this alone,” Pim notes. “We did it in good consultation with one of our partners: Eindhoven Engine.”


Katja Pahnke and Pim van Os. Photo: Kimberley van Nuland (Kadans)

Living lab for the ecosystem

Over the year, Kadans and Eindhoven Engine held weekly meetings to discuss the renovation’s requirements and the building’s future needs; in other words, how it can generate interdisciplinary cross-pollination and thereby accelerate innovation.

“We know that Kadans brings together the academic world and companies to work in a shared space. That’s the added value for us,” says Katja. “We see ourselves as the living lab for this ecosystem and, with the Engine formula, we’re able to live this culture of co-creation. More people are coming to us with project ideas and asking what they can do to become part of this community.”

“We see ourselves as the living lab for this ecosystem and,
with the Engine formula.” – Katja

The collaboration is therefore mutually beneficial for both parties. With its connections to regional institutes and companies, Eindhoven Engine is a lead generator of new tenants to grow the Kadans ecosystem. In turn, Kadans recognizes that a building is only as strong as its users and will continue to utilize Eindhoven Engine’s input on the ideal conditions for these parties to excel.

Something to look forward to

Although the pandemic has delayed a formal opening, Eindhoven Engine is looking forward to reboarding as soon as is safely possible. While COVID-19 is an opportunity to reshape our behaviors, nine months of remote working has also driven home the need for shared spaces.

Katja: “As Pim mentioned, innovations are often created in unexpected meetings between people who didn’t know they could find added value in each other’s domains. We have to organize this way of meeting, knowing and connecting with each other. We need an attractive environment for this, we need color, lights and a certain vibe. There’s more to it than just desks and chairs.”

“I think that people will be working from home for two or three days a week in the future – but when they come to the office, the facilities and atmosphere need to be perfect,” Pim agrees. “I think we’ve achieved that with the new building. You immediately see its vibrant heart.”

“And we’ll have a restaurant!” adds Katja. “That should attract a lot of hungry people, who are good for unexpected meetings.”

   

 

ASQ Fontys was a successful online meeting place for innovators

Every year, Fontys University of Applied Sciences brings together the (high-tech) business community with experts from its own ranks in order to encourage mutual cooperation. This takes place under the name ‘ASQ Fontys’ and is organized by the Fontys Centre of Expertise HTSM (High Tech Systems and Materials). ASQ stands for All Sorts of Questions. The 2020 edition took place on 3 November and was completely virtual. This worked out well for the organization and for the 300+ visitors, who seized the opportunity to be inspired in a wide range of technical fields. 

Walter Baets – Eindhoven Engine Academy

The fourth edition of ASQ Fontys offered a diverse range of options: 13 interactive knowledge sessions on research took place simultaneously in various online spaces in addition to seven information sessions on education for professionals.On the virtual exhibition floor, 38 stands were set up through which researchers and students spoke to visitors about their HTSM research projects. One of the knowledge sessions was dedicated to the Eindhoven Engine formula.

Walter Baets: “We are trapped in a linear and causal way of thinking. If we do what we have always done, we get what we always got. We cannot innovate, we re-search. Design thinking is needed.”

Walter Baets concluded the afternoon with a keynote lecture on open innovation in ecosystems. “Our challenge is business model innovation. The energy of imagination will start where time and space are one; that’s part of the Eindhoven Engine formula. Your personal transformation journey starts here.”

Networking

“A major challenge for this online event was the networking component,” says Mark Herman, who organizes ASQ Fontys on behalf of the Centre of Expertise HTSM. “We know that our visitors, including many technical SMEs from the Brainport region, come mainly to discuss innovation issues with each other and with experts and students from Fontys. At ASQ, we offer a platform where encounters are possible and where we do our best to make those encounters as inspiring and easy as possible. To this end, we organized knowledge sessions and a network carousel. But we were a bit uncertain on whether there would be sufficient interaction in this digital setting. The reactions of the participants, plus the fact that more than 100 appointments were made, gave us the confidence that we had succeeded.”

Innovation

At ASQ Fontys, high-tech entrepreneurs can turn to each other and to experts from Fontys with all of their questions. These questions can lead to research in which companies, Fontys researchers and students take on a challenge together. This is already happening: 38 research projects were presented on the virtual exhibition floor, showing that cooperation can lead to innovative solutions. This is not only relevant for the company involved but also provides topical and context-rich education for Fontys students.

Corona research

The latest batch of research revolves around a current theme: corona. Researchers are investigating how high-tech can contribute to recovery and innovative strength during and after the corona crisis. Cees van Tilborg is leading one of these projects, ‘A robot is not a super spreader’. “In the hospitality industry, we see a lot of problems with the serving of food and drinks. People infect each other. The idea is that a robot can offer a solution because it spreads fewer viruses. The main goal of our research is to create a robot that can help in the hospitality industry and canteens, and later in the healthcare sector, and which is affordable.”

Read more about all HTSM research projects at www.fontys.nl/htsmonderzoek (in Dutch).

Even more clout for Eindhoven Engine

Fontys, TNO and TU/e joint shareholders.

This month Fontys, TNO and TU/e officially became equal shareholders (1/3 each) of Eindhoven Engine. Together the three parties promise to do everything possible to accelerate innovation in the Brainport region. The result is an even better cluster of strengths whereby the innovative business community – from start-up to large company – can take maximum advantage of the available knowledge and skills.

Katja Pahnke, who together with Maarten Steinbuch is responsible for the day-to-day management of Eindhoven Engine, is proud of the result. “In this way we can achieve the intended exponential acceleration of innovation even faster. We connect knowledge institutes to the business community. Stimulate collaboration at a single location. This gives you the intended cross-fertilization between different disciplines.” Maarten Steinbuch adds: “This allows you to benefit from each other’s expertise, network and experience. That acceleration of innovation, that’s what we do it for.”

Ella Hueting, Fontys: “In my opinion, this collaboration is unique. We expect these short lines of communication to be of even greater significance for SMEs.”

Jaap Lombaers, TNO: “We are going to have teams of students from TU/e and Fontys in our innovation programs for and with the industry. In this way we can serve business and industry in the Brainport region in all kinds of ways. We expect that this will enable us to lower barriers and accelerate innovation.”

Eindhoven Engine started in 2019. With support from the Brainport Action Agenda RegioDeal, sixteen projects have been started. The collective ambition is to further accelerate innovation in our region through collaboration and co-creation at a co-location.

Eindhoven Engine

Eindhoven Engine unlocks the collective intelligence in the Brainport region. Thanks to a unique formula, innovators from companies can join forces with students and experienced researchers and employees from knowledge institutions in order to work together to accelerate innovation and realize disruptive co-creation projects in which co-location is a prerequisite. The founding fathers of Eindhoven Engine are the knowledge institutions Fontys, TNO and Eindhoven University of Technology and the companies Philips Healthcare, Signify, ASML, VDL, NTS and NXP. Eindhoven Engine’s funds come from the Brainport Region Deal.

Eindhoven Engine News – October 2020

After this unique summer period, life was a bit back to normal at the campus in Eindhoven – at least to a certain extent due to corona and the possibilities for working safely according to the regulations. Following the recent announcements, we are going back to the pre-summer situation but we feel that we are better prepared now. We are eager to boost our virtual meetings with limited activities in co-location in our MultiMedia Paviljoen building, which is now in its final phase of restructuring. We look forward to the finishing line in this process!

In this edition of Eindhoven Engine News:

  • Interview with Ella Hueting, Director of Fontys School of Engineering and chairman of Eindhoven Engine’s Advisory Board.
  • OpenCall project SoStrap highlighted
  • Walter Baets is Making Meaning project with Design Forum
  • Collaborative capital: the value of soft skills in technical domains
  • and more…

Stay connected with Eindhoven Engine.
Subscribe to Eindhoven Engine News via office@eindhovenengine.nl.

Collaborative capital: the value of soft skills in technical domains

“In multidisciplinary projects, people are often experts in their own fields and basically speak different languages,” explains TU/e researcher Piet van Gool. “Most of the time, innovation goes wrong because of the human factor.”

With a background in both psychology and industrial engineering, Piet has found his perfect match in the Eindhoven Engine project Building Collaborative Capital with Tailored Developmental Journeys. This recognizes that limited focus has been placed on soft skills for effective collaboration across disciplines and institutions, which is an absolute necessity for innovation acceleration through co-location. The project will therefore develop, implement and test a set of modular and scalable instruments and interventions for assessing and developing collaborative competences.

Benefits versus burdens

The genesis for this occurred when Piet’s colleague Josette Gevers met Maarten Steinbuch to discuss soft skills within the Engine. “Most people don’t know that there are actually psychology groups in Eindhoven, but we’re in the Human Performance Management group of Industrial Engineering. At a technical university, it’s quite rare!” says Piet. “That’s also where I did my PhD, which looked at job crafting: making little changes to your job on your own initiative to become more engaged and creative in your work. I particularly looked at how people construct and use their social networks, so basically how they collaborate. It’s not so much about the technical stuff but the interactions between people and how they work.”

‘One of my goals is to give people the practical skills
to create their own ideal environment.’

In terms of working methods, one complicating factor in projects can often be the combination of different institutions with different incentives. Eindhoven Engine, for example, has many PhD students who are interested in collaboration but are simply too absorbed in their own discipline. Articles must be published quickly and efficiently and shared goals may be missing, so collaboration can seem like more of a burden than a benefit.

The power of tacit knowledge

To counter this perception, the project is currently co-constructing and validating collaborative strengths-based capability profiles. “In order to unlock the collective intelligence of Eindhoven Engine, we need to assess these in our population and try to build or source interventions to improve the skills and competences of team members,” continues Piet. “Ideally, I would do this not only via questionnaires but also simulations, social network analysis and sociometric badges. I definitely want more face-to-face meetings, including with the Eindhoven Engine community. Most of the things you learn are from your peers – tacit knowledge that you can’t read anywhere. You meet in the corridor or at the coffee machine; you’re not going to have a Zoom meeting about how science works!”

Ultimately, the project should result in a toolbox of validated instruments and interventions for building collaborative capital, which can then easily be implemented on a larger scale. “One of my goals is to give people the practical skills to create their own ideal environment and make the best use of their own strengths and those of others,” Piet concludes. “If you have such an environment, innovations will come.”

Piet van Gool, Eindhoven Engine

Making Meaning project with Design Forum

In a pilot with Design Forum, the Eindhoven Engine Academy offered a ‘Making Meaning’ workshop to five of its running projects. Experienced designers, under the coordination of Jos Hardeman, have worked with the teams and their broader community towards a clearer understanding of the meaning and possible contributions of the project. The ultimate purpose is to assist the projects in developing an approach for meaningful communication about their project. The outcome is based on an outside-in analysis of how users and stakeholders see the project.

Elements of design thinking

What better than to first apply this approach to the Eindhoven Engine itself? Obviously, the approach is based on elements of design thinking, but it is not a full design thinking cycle. During a kick-off meeting with the core team, the procedure is explained and the few first ideas are exchanged. Next, the broader project team (in this case, the broader Eindhoven Engine team) can give input on their views in response to a questionnaire. Workshops are carried out with the wider project community, in which the team of designers use creative methods and aim to crystalize the essentials of the project from the viewpoint of its stakeholders. The designers analyze all of this and bring it together in a project canvas. The latter is validated in a meeting with the project team and its direct stakeholders. Eventually, a poster is created for communication purposes.

‘In fact, the Engine has a role to play in the transformation towards the co-creation paradigm of innovation.’

Lifelong learning platform

What was the outside world suggesting that Eindhoven Engine do? Other than the target groups we already have, it was suggested that we open the doors to intrapreneurs and employees interested in a sabbatical period and that we support companies and people who are having major challenges with transformation. By adding this focus, the Eindhoven Engine could become a lifelong learning platform.

Purpose-driven

The Engine is purpose-driven and accelerates the transformation from research towards application. In fact, the Engine supports application/client-driven innovations. It is important to open the projects up in order to integrate the full chain or, perhaps better, the broader network of stakeholders. Ideally, projects should include end-users, business development and students and maybe also politicians and/or the general public. This should create more flexible participation in innovation for all interested parties.

The Eindhoven Engine assists in and empowers the transformation from the power paradigm to the co-creation paradigm (Jansen and Pieters, 2017) or from the procedure-driven innovation approach to values-based innovation (Baets, 2020). This implies a stronger focus on rapid prototyping and a very close link with the researchers and companies.

In fact, the Engine has a role to play in the transformation towards the co-creation paradigm of innovation. It bridges co-creation, co-location, activation of collective intelligence, open innovation and disruption. In doing so, it facilitates innovation of wicked problems.

Walter Baets, Eindhoven Engine Academy

Impactful Innovations Webinar – part 3

On 10 July, the third webinar of our Impactful Innovation series was held. The goal of the webinar series is to not only share challenges, innovations and impacts across Eindhoven Engine projects but also to actively work towards cross-project group interactions in order to unlock our collective intelligence.

This particular webinar was dedicated to two exciting topics. In the first presentation, Joep van der Velden (Kropman) took us into the world of continuous monitoring and fault detection of large HVAC systems (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) in order to reduce CO2 emissions. This was followed by Lukas Dekker (Catharina Ziekenhuis, TU/e), who presented the need and vision for value-based, outcome- and technology-driven future healthcare based upon innovation ecosystems.

It is very inspiring to see that these webinars are contributing to cross-organizational interactions. Big thanks to both Joep and Lukas for their excellent and enthusiastic presentations and, of course, to all participants who are enabling our collective intelligence. We look forward to the next webinar!

This particular webinar was dedicated to two exciting topics. In the first presentation, Joep van der Velden (Kropman) took us into the world of continuous monitoring and fault detection of large HVAC systems (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) in order to reduce CO2 emissions. This was followed by Lukas Dekker (Catharina Ziekenhuis, TU/e), who presented the need and vision for value-based, outcome- and technology-driven future healthcare based upon innovation ecosystems.

It is very inspiring to see that these webinars are contributing to cross-organizational interactions. Big thanks to both Joep and Lukas for their excellent and enthusiastic presentations and, of course, to all participants who are enabling our collective intelligence. We look forward to the next webinar!

Joris Dufils, Eindhoven Engine

Eindhoven Engine gives green light to new innovation projects collectively worth €16.8 million

With an investment of over €2.2 million, various challenging, innovative projects with potential impacts on society and the economy are being given space within Eindhoven Engine. Together, these projects represent an investment of €16.8 million. The money for the Eindhoven Engine OpenCall comes from the Regio Deal Brainport.

Following the submission deadline of 4 June, a team of experts has examined the 11 projects submitted. Each of the projects was first assessed against formal criteria which had been published in advance and which set a high quality standard. Paul Merkus, coordinator of the OpenCall: “The text of the OpenCall 2020 was clear, which allowed the evaluation process to run smoothly and fairly. The team of experienced, independent experts was able to determine the ranking of the nine eligible proposals on the basis of these criteria. I’m proud of that.” Yesterday, the Advisory Board of Eindhoven Engine – with representatives from the knowledge institutions TU/e, TNO and Fontys and the business community – also gave a positive recommendation on the proposed selection of projects.

“We see a nice mix of diversity in the consortia.
Eindhoven Engine is picking up
more and more steam.”

“In this time of the corona pandemic in particular, we see a great need for innovation. Companies and knowledge institutions have worked together intensively to come up with strong project proposals,” add directors Katja Pahnke and Maarten Steinbuch. “We therefore see a nice mix of diversity in the consortia. Eindhoven Engine is picking up more and more steam.” The projects are highly diverse in their focus: climate, vitality, health and smart manufacturing.

“Co-creation and co-location are the basic ingredients for unlocking collective intelligence in order to give a boost to innovation: this is Eindhoven Engine’s way of working. We look forward to the participating consortia soon becoming part of our ecosystem.”

Katje Pahnke, Maarten Steinbuch & Paul Merkus

Eindhoven Engine

Eindhoven Engine unlocks the collective intelligence in the Brainport region. Thanks to a unique formula, innovators from companies can join forces with students and experienced employees from knowledge institutions in order to work together to accelerate innovation and realize disruptive co-creation projects in which co-location is a prerequisite. The founding fathers of Eindhoven Engine are the knowledge institutions Fontys, TNO and Eindhoven University of Technology and the companies Philips Healthcare, Signify, ASML, VDL, NTS and NXP. Eindhoven Engine’s funds come from the Brainport Regio Deal.

 

 

OpenCall 2020 projects

Carbyon DAC

Humanity is facing an unprecedented challenge: global warming, driven by carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil sources such as oil and gas. However, these emissions, if captured, can be a renewable carbon source with applications such as crop growth and sustainable fuel synthesis. Carbyon will develop Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and turn it into a green substitute to fossil fuels. As the global demand for renewable carbon will increase once the price level reaches €50 per ton of CO2, Carbyon is challenging multidisciplinary teams within Eindhoven Engine to collaboratively improve the main cost drivers of DAC technology.

Partners: Carbyon, DIFFER, TU/e


ECoS-IAQ 
Efficient Comfortable School Indoor Air Quality

Installations in buildings are responsible for around 35% of all energy consumption, approximately 20% of which is due to inefficient operations. Inferior environmental conditions within classrooms can have both short- and long-term health effects, mainly due to the presence of particulate matter. With greater insights into sensors, data interpretation, trend signaling, continuous monitoring, fault detection/diagnosis and predictive maintenance, problems can be identified in the Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems of schools. The ECoS-IAQ project focuses on the creation of product development concepts for air handling manufacturers, air filter manufacturers, control companies and installers.

Partners: 
Building G100, Camfil, ISSO, Kropman, Lucas Onderwijs, NedAir, TU/e

SmartMan

Smart Manufacturing aims to improve factory efficiency by optimizing production processes, but SMEs often lack the capacity to create innovation in this domain. Bringing together Eindhoven Engine, Fontys, TNO and Brainport Industries Campus, the SmartMan project comprises research into various facets of smart manufacturing, including robot-assisted manufacturing, data sharing, industrial AI, virtual reality and autonomous transport. Student projects will be executed at SMEs with the goal of developing knowledge, technology and methods for combining quality, automation and flexibility in manufacturing. Success will be measured in terms of the economic value of improvements per project and company.

Partners: Fontys, TNO, Smart Industry Fieldlab Flexible Manufacturing partners, VDL, VBTI and several SMEs

 

iHeat@Home
The iHeat@Home project contributes to a breakthrough innovation in thermal energy storage: a heat battery which is better, cheaper, smaller and greener than any competitor. This will accelerate the energy transition, promote the development of renewable energy sources, reduce grid investments and create new business. This is all happening here in the Brainport region. iHeat@Home focuses on solutions for real-time data on the heat battery’s state-of-charge and its optimal data management, with three coherent solutions: 1. The basis for a sensor which is robust and cheap; 2. Communication protocols and data management; 3. Integration in a validated, user-ready heat battery. The aim is to bring this technology to the market by 2023.

Partners: 
Caldic, Fontys, TNO, TU/e, Warmtebatterij BV


POWer FITTing 
FITTing Persons’ vitality and optimizing their Work Environment

In an increasingly competitive global economy, physical inactivity and burnout rates are increasing. Sustainable employability based on good physical and mental health is therefore crucial, preventing absenteeism and also reducing healthcare costs. POWer FITTing optimizes the relationship between vitality and the (home) office environment through the combination of data acquisition, integration and application for the validation and acceleration of user-oriented solutions. By taking into account individual, societal and contextual factors, this enables employees to remain both healthy and productive. This benefits companies, individuals and wider society.

Partners: 
Fontys, HC Oranje-Rood, IMEC, TNO, TU/e


WOMBATH
towards an artificial womb

Following their birth, each child faces a physiological transition from mother-placental life support to (self-sufficient) life outside the womb. For some premature babies, this transition occurs too quickly. This places a heavy demand on the child’s immature vital organs, which is why extremely premature babies often experience serious, lifelong health problems with possible social consequences. As a trial in recent years, premature lambs have successfully been kept alive in a fluid-based environment, allowing them to develop in the same way as in the womb. The results are also promising for human application. The WOMBATH consortium will develop a medical device – an artificial womb – that supports the safe development of extremely premature babies outside of the womb. Ultimately, these infants will have better health prospects than premature infants with conventional care.

Partners: LifeTec Group, Máxima Medical Center, MEDSIM, NEMO Healthcare, POLIMI, RWTH Aachen, TU/e

Virtual co-location: the real value added

Unexpected encounters are important to stimulate creativity, connect people from different backgrounds. This is important for new ideas, new innovations. The challenge, of course, is how to harness this all in this virtual age. For instance, imagine a kind of virtual marketplace where you can facilitate the exchange of ideas, then you could of course, unexpectedly, come across a cool and practical idea.

Most of us will think about co-location as a physical concept of people working in the same space or building. In respect to innovation, one might think about an R&D division or an innovation campus (like the former Natlab or the MIT Medialab). That is what we know works, and has delivered innovations the way we know them.

Multidisciplinary and multidimensional

Today, the demand for innovation is changing rapidly.  Most companies cannot continue to innovate the way they did for years, nor can they innovate within their known product lines.  The opportunities are being created where multidisciplinary co-creation occurs.  The complexity of today’s economy, and the potential disruption, for good or for bad, of exponential technologies force companies increasingly into open innovation. Which means that co-location becomes more multidimensional.

Of course, multidisciplinary open innovation teams, working in co-creation to come up with innovations for problems that matter and that we need to solve, still benefit from sitting together, meeting, exchanging and empathizing.  But Corona has shown us that this can be usefully extended by virtual co-location, opening up a multitude of additional possibilities that we did not imagine. Virtual co-location is not just bringing co-location into the virtual world; it is redefining it in order to make optimum use of the collective intelligence of the co-creators. 

Extending the boundaries

Then space becomes more than just a physical concept; it becomes an idea, a way of working together, sharing and co-creating in ways we never did before.  The quality and diversity of the ecosystem at the co-location, as well as the facilitation of the open-innovation teams, all become part of the concept of co-location. Suddenly, we can do so much more. We exponentially extend what we could have done before only in a physical space. Virtual co-location extends the scope of the possible.

Corona has, paradoxically, given us an opportunity to go beyond what we have done before. It can be a catalyst for co-creation. Become part of this new co-location and share your thoughts and ideas.

Walter Baets
w.r.j.baets@tue.nl
Eindhoven Engine Academy