We identify with the term “Entrepreneurial Society” the whole set of components, relationships, dynamics and outcomes characterizing the fascinating journey leading new ideas and new technologies to significantly contribute to economic development and social welfare.
Studies coming from different disciplinary backgrounds and using diversified methodological approaches highlighted the importance of the simultaneous convergence of several elements occurring at different levels, from individuals, to organizations, to government policies. Similarly, mechanisms varying from more micro level ones such as organizational practices, to more macro ones, such as institutional roles and procedures, have been investigated as both facilitating and impeding the generation and exploitation of new ideas and technologies.
Research issues of interest include but are not limited to the following. How critical are new technology-based firms? Is there rivalry between basic and applied research? Do educational systems make a difference in nurturing future innovators? What is the role-played by labor markets? What are the critical factors to successfully incorporate engineering changes into established firms? Are there any industry differences? If so, do they depend on technologies or on market structures? Under which conditions do entrepreneurial universities make a difference? Can entrepreneurial attitudes be nurtured? To what extent local financial markets matters? Are geographical clustering effects relevant? Can they be planned? What is the role, if any, for specific Government policies?
We identify with the term “Collaborative Innovation” a wide range of practices and technologies which have overtime significantly transformed the way new ideas are identified, developed and transformed into technologies and products, challenging traditional models based on strong vertical integration.
Several terms have been used to identify such trends. User-centered models emphasized the importance of direct experiences as knowledge domains, which could very often be simulated and anticipated. Open-innovation models pointed to the significant roles of inter-companies relationships and the redesign of traditional boundaries. Network-based approaches emphasized the role of critical nodes as brokers or gatekeepers. Crowdsourcing approaches leveraged on the evolution of information and communication technology (ICT) to increase the size and scope of the resources involved at different stages.
Research issues of interest include but are not limited to the following. Can innovative and creative work be “disintegrated”? Under which conditions are distributed systems better than integrated ones? Are there technological or market differences? What are the advantages/disadvantages of collaborative vs. proprietary models? Are current intellectual property rights (IPR) tools and regimes useful for collaborative approaches to innovation? What is the role of large vs. small firms? What is the role of incumbents vs. new entrants? Could certain technologies such as additive manufacturing make a difference? Can all staged of development be collaborative? Can financing of innovation be structured accordingly? To what extent can we think global vs. local? How can the potential of an innovation be determined? How can best alignment between a technological innovation and the organization poised to implement it be defined? What testing protocols should be included in alpha and beta phases of development of an innovative product? How can potential failure modes in bringing to market successful products be identified and prioritized? What are the best practices for addressing each? How can these practices be improved? How can collocated and non-collocated teams of engineers collaborate most effectively? What modeling and optimization methods will have to be developed to substantially improve existing product development and delivery processes?
We identify with the term “Future of Manufacturing” the whole set of changes in technologies, procedures, approaches, markets and organizational practices that are at the core of the evolution of how goods and services are conceived, designed, developed, produced and delivered in our globalized societies.
The simultaneous occurrence of the industrial growth of emerging countries and the recession in most developed countries triggered by the crisis of financial markets has raised the world attention to the centrality of manufacturing for economic development. At the same time, we observe an unprecedented evolution of new manufacturing technologies, from intelligent robotics, to additive manufacturing, to nano-manufacturing, to rapid prototyping, to new forms of continuous manufacturing which are on the verge of revolutionizing not just the shop floor operations, but whole value chains.
Research issues of interest include but are not limited to the following.
How critical are the different stages of development? Can specific technology significantly alter optimal plant sizes? How would future “blue collar” workers be trained? Would wage advantage sill matter? How would supply chain be influenced? What kind of new design/development/operational tools should be developed? Would crowd design be possible and worthwhile? Are established players advantaged or disadvantaged? Are there industry differences in the adoption of new technologies? If so, what are the consequences for local production systems? How should newest available technologies be employed to create value for both new and mature products? What new engineering design processes will emerge for new and mature products as global resource constraints begin to have more influence on product development? What component and system representations, virtual and physical, contribute most effectively to maximizing product performance and quality and to minimizing cost, risk, and time to market?
What are current best practices for developing successful and competitive products? How can these practices be improved? Is there a basic platform of structured processes for developing successful products? If so, what process variants should be employed as a function of product type, product volume, and demand variation? How will students most effectively learn the best ways to bring successful products to the market? How can participants in the product-to-market process be educated to use the best known methods for delivering products that achieve their stated objectives? What are the most important uncertainties to address when bringing a collection of products to market? How should these uncertainties be addressed? How is a product’s architecture dependent on the nature of the need defined by the market, the potential pool of suppliers, available manufacturing capability, and the product’s functional specifications? How are product and manufacturing process testing protocols dependent on these things? What are the factors that lead to long-term, repeatable, successful engineering outcomes regarding the value of an evolving product portfolio? Are there ways to design products and construct the corresponding supply chains so that the likelihood of product delays and cost overruns will be minimized? How can existing technology readiness scales be modified so that they apply to portfolios of products being developed over time?