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The development and managing of a cross-disciplinary innovation network in the field of smart materials and design. The case of the smart³ consortia

Presentation held at XIV Triple Helix International Conference 2016, Triple Helix Models of Innovation, Addressing Ecosystem Challenges in the Era of Crises, 26th of September 2016, Heidelberg, Germany
Die Entwicklung und das Management eines interdisziplinären Netzwerkes auf dem Gebiet der smart materials und des Design - die Fallstudie smart³
: Kunze, Holger; Diedrichs, Carlo; Wilde, Enrico

presentation urn:nbn:de:0011-n-4176752 (9.6 MByte PDF)
MD5 Fingerprint: 74f13ba5c7d1ec9275b55eb0f4096e25
Created on: 27.10.2016

2016, 29 Folien
Triple Helix International Conference <14, 2016, Heidelberg>
Presentation, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IWU ()
Adaptronik; BMBF Zwanzig20; Smart3; Interdisziplinarität

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) announced in 2012 a new research-programme for the New German Länder called “Twenty20 – Partnership for Innovation” to fund 10 consortia with 500 Million € until 2019. Universities, research institutes and industry were encouraged to form transdisciplinary consortia in a prospective research field they defined on their own to address relevant future challenges. So this research-programme aims to support the building of new clusters from science and industry and to foster sustainable non-linear innovation processes. For the first time the federal ministry allowed collaborations with research partners from West-Germany in their so called ‘Innovation Initiative for the New German Länder’ in which the “Twenty20” programme is embedded.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology in Dresden took the lead in creating successfully a new consortia around the topic of smart materials – the smart3 consortia. They put in their knowledge about specific smart materials in shape memories alloys together with other profound Fraunhofer Institutes with their expertise in piezo ceramics and smart polymers. In addition they integrated a broad range of expertise form industry and science to face the challenges in production, design, path dependency and cross-disciplinary collaboration. The idea behind this strategy is to take full advantage of new perspectives outside the typical or stuck thinking patterns of engineers mostly in technical parameters. The main goals are:
1. to develop new products based on the functional integration of smart materials and a new design philosophy within 5 years
2. and to strengthen the industrial base especially in the New German Länder.
On the other hand this new kind of collaboration for nearly every partner needs a special emphasis for established traditions, working cultures, special terminologies and (technical) languages, individual goals and social patterns.
So how can be a new cross-disciplinary consortia, with a fast growing number of members, successfully built up and managed? What structures and resources are needed to adaptively react on unforeseen circumstances and to have the stability for an incremental development of the consortia to reach the goals at the end of the day?
From the very early beginning we formed a core team which is characterized by open-minded personalities, trustful relationships and a huge amount of professional engagement in the fields of smart materials, industrial design -combined with comprehensive knowledge in teaching- and communication processes. The team members are representatives from the Fraunhofer IWU, the Burg Giebichenstein college of art and the communication facilitators of Triple Helix DIALOG.
During the application process we started with a series of three participatory workshops to formulate a strong strategy, to generate first ideas for R&D-projects and to conceptualise the organisational and management structure of the smart3 consortia. When the federal ministry announced in July 2013 that the smart3 consortia is one out of ten consortia who get a grant with a maximum amount of 45 million € until 2020, there were to take huge steps in formal structures but also there were challenges due to the funding policy framework, a traditionally lack of interest on a truly cross-disciplinary collaboration, technological risks and different levels of maturity of the addressed smart materials.
The development of a new design philosophy is a key to raise the great potential of smart materials. Because of the functional integration into the material you may not be able to immediately recognize the purpose of a product based on smart materials. Form does not have to follow the function anymore like the dogma of Bauhaus, but it is still an on going process also to understand the new possibilities through functional integration.
The paper will focus on the main challenges of developing a new design philosophy, building up the smart3-network and gives some insights of which strategies we use to foster collaboration and bring breakthrough ideas to successful cross-disciplinary R&D-projects where engineers, designers and experts from sme work on meaningful technologies and products on the base of smart materials. It gives also a conceptual framework to depict the individual engagement of the core team in the Triple Helix of the smart3 consortia.
Further Link: (only in German)