The iPRODUCE project started in January 2020. The aim of the project has been to foster innovation and facilitate social & collaborative-based manufacturing, bringing together makers, manufacturers & consumers around common manufacturing ideas.

During the delivery of the project, the collaborative Manufacturing Demonstration Facilities (cMDFs) disseminated the project ideas and results across their communities. As a result of these efforts, this has attracted the interest of different stakeholders from these communities to join the iPRODUCE project. We call them “The Newcomers”.

To better understand who these individuals/ entities are and their motivations and expectations in joining the cMDFs/ project, we’ve reached out to the newcomers with some questions. 

In this piece, we shed some light on who some of our newcomers are.


Profile overview

The cMDFS are located in 5 different countries: Spain, Greece, Germany, France and Italy.

Most of the newcomers are said to be makers or part of a maker community, while others come from enablers (𝘦.𝘨. 𝘐𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘱𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘺 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘳𝘴, 𝘓𝘰𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘢𝘥𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘦𝘵𝘤) and a couple of others are facilitators (𝘦.𝘨. 𝘌𝘜 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘕𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘗𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘤 𝘈𝘶𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘦𝘵𝘤), manufactures, consumers, artists, schools/fablabs, scientific communities and training centres.

The newcomers carry out different activities in their day-to-day lives and come from various sectors.  Most work in education and training with students from different levels, startups and small factories.  Other newcomers focus on product design, product prototyping, digital production and so on. Our newcomers work in the following sectors; architecture and construction, furniture, advanced manufacturing, mobility, electronics/microelectronics, art and lighting.


Motivations to join and tool interest 

The newcomers have joined iPRDOUCE and the cMDFs driven by several personal and professional motivations. Curiously, many of the main motivations are shared by several newcomers. Such motivations include networking possibilities, new collaboration opportunities, developing new ideas, ways to connect with business partners and the opportunity to participate in a project that can offer them new and valuable tools.

On the topic of tools, newcomers have been questioned about which tools being developed in the iPRODUCE project were they most interested in. The majority of the newcomers have mentioned that “all the tools interest me”. Furthermore, almost every iPRODUCE tool was individually highlighted by the newcomers, which demonstrates that they have joined the project as they see the value and benefits in using such tools.

Our newcomers found out about the iPRODUCE project mainly through a cMDF representative, but a few of them also came across the iPRODUCE website or were referred by someone at work. For roughly half of our newcomers, their participation in one of the iPRODUCE cMDFs is their first time joining a maker space or a fablab-type community.


Future expectations and Outcomes

As iPRODUCE runs into its final phase of delivery (where the iPRODUCE platform and respective tools are nearly finalised)), it was also important to understand the main expectations of the newcomers when they joined the project. 

In summary, three main expectations stand out:

  •  Sharing of knowledge, projects and connections
  •  Acquiring new skills, and 
  •  Better understanding of the collaborative economy

Over the upcoming months, the cMDFs will continue to open to receive other individuals and entities that are interested in the cMDFs activities and the general iPRODUCE value proposition. 

We will be following up with the newcomers in the final stretch of the project to check in on whether their expectations were met and their plans for the future.  

17 November 2022
Samuel Almeida
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