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Enabling an Open Innovation Model for EU Toy Industry SMEs through Co-Creation with FabLabs, Safety Experts and Customer Communities

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ToyLabs (Enabling an Open Innovation Model for EU Toy Industry SMEs through Co-Creation with FabLabs, Safety Experts and Customer Communities)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-06-30

“Toys market in EU (and globally) is characterized by the domination of a limited number of huge global brands, even though 99% of EU toy manufacturing companies are SMEs.
Thus SMEs need to find new ways to strengthen their position, against large competitors. In this context, ToyLabs envisions to introduce a new model that will innovate on the value network of SMEs, towards the direction of changing their market positioning & prospects in the Toy Industry, overcoming obstacles like geographical barriers and fragmented markets.
In particular, a multi-stakeholder co-creation network was created, supported via an open ICT platform, that bring together a toy manufacturer with other key players of the toy industry value network – FabLabs, Toy Security Experts and End Customers- to collaborate closely for the provision of new toys, that are user-oriented, responding to a clear market demand and addressed to multiple markets.
Through ToyLabs approach, each involved stakeholder is expected to offer his valuable perspective that will open up new opportunities for SMEs. Taking advantage of the platform, a toy manufacturer is able to collect multi-source feedback on new product concepts & designs, through iterative cycles where the initial idea is firstly co-designed with FabLabs, validated by toy safety experts and evaluated by prospective customers both virtually (via augmented reality technologies) and actually (based on prototypes).
The main outcomes of the project are the creation of the ToyLabs collaboration network, based on an innovative ICT enterprise collaboration platform, enriched with added value services utilising state-of-play emerging ICT technologies (e.g. social analytics, augmented reality) and a complete methodological approach to support the operation of the network in order to offer to any SME Toy Manufacturer the opportunity to initiate an alternative process for the creation of new, innovative products.”
It is more than evident that SMEs need to find new, innovative ways to position themselves in this market and compete effectively against their large competitors. In order to do this, they should explore ways to address successfully certain key challenges that arise for them, which can be summarised and outlined in the following 6 dimensions:
· Deal with high costs arising from the need to address Toy Safety issues Toy Safety in Europe is governed by the Toy Safety Directive (TSD; Directive 2009/48/EC).
· Figure out ways to compete large firms, which usually manufacture overseas, leveraging EU manufacturing capabilities through synergies’.
· Overcome operation in fragmented markets
· Minimise high failure rates of new products
· Respond early on market trends and customisation needs In such a competitive world,
· Integration of new, ICT technologies and new, innovative techniques and materials.
To meet the fundamental challenges presented above, the ΤoyLabs consortium was created, covering in the most representative way the spectrum of stakeholders involved and of the necessary expertise needed to :
a) Are able to quickly enter the market,
b) Respond to a clear market demand,
c) Are cost effective and d) will be customised in order to be able to enter also other EU markets.
As derives from the concept of Toylabs itself, the main value proposition is to provide methods and tools to support toy sector manufacturing companies in developing their products in a collaborative way by working together with FabLabs and domain experts through a collaboration platform offering several tools for supporting the whole process.
For doing that, the main resources are the KERs of the project and the project partners themselves by taking advantage of their networks of collaborators, customers and marketing channels:
Toy sector market research & collection of requirements
ToyLabs Collaborative toy development methodology
Methodology for analysing market trends
Methodology for finding and involving new partners in product development
Methodology for collecting early feedback using AR
Pilot results from the application of ToyLabs approach within the project timeframe
Toylabs business model (lean canvas) for industrial partners
Toylabs business model (lean canvas) for IT/ technical/ academic partners
Toylabs network of experts
Registry of Toylabs network members
User certification model
Market Trend Analysis software component
AR Feedback software component
Partner Matching & Negotiation software component
ToyLabs Integrated Platform
ToyLabs Platform Validation Results
ToyLabs Scientific Publications
• ToyLabs website
• Newsletter 9
• Social media Active profiles in Facebook and Twitter. 132 entries, 2950 followers, 1742 likes and 16151 impressions.
• ToyLabs blog 20 posts
• Traditional media 2 radio slots, 2 radio interviews and 1 press release.
• Communication material 4 brochures, 1 banner, 1 poster, 1 roll-up, USB stick, various rubber figures, wood keychains. 2 videos (promotional video and walkthrough)
• Organisation of project events 3 workshops/demo events
Progress beyIn-depth state-of-the art analysis
- better appreciation of current status of examined research fields
- identification of opportunities to support ToyLabs vision,
- identification of ToyLabs innovation potential
(4 research fields, ≈110 papers, 40 platforms & tools)
TOYLABS will pursue open access publishing of its research outcomes in journals and conferences, and will at least ensure self-archiving for all its scientific publications that will be available to Zenodo and ResearchGate and project website.
TOYLABS Open Innovation Model and Co-Creation Methodology
➢ the FabLabs expertise on rapid prototyping, use of new materials and ICT solutions, providing them with useful recommendations on toy designs
➢ the early integration of Toy Safety experts in the process, enabling them to avoid early mistakes
➢ the “crowd wisdom” as reflected by specific involved stakeholder groups (i.e. childhood professionals, parent organisations etc.) that provide feedback and insights on future trends.
Toy Sector Market Analytics and Trends Analysis Approach
The methodology aims to provide insights into the expected adoption of a new toy design by a somewhat uninvolved crowd and identify any issues or customers disapproval for current products.
Augmented Reality for End User Feedback Collection
AR model creation and refinement step deals with the uploading of an already designed AR model to the ToyLabs platform.
Partner Matching and Selection Methodology
Requires for multiple and diverse criteria to be synthesised for potential alternatives to be prioritised by order of preference or for the best alternative to be identified.
AHP: The main benefits are that it is easy and simple to use, whereas it can handle both tangible and intangible criteria.
ANP: more advanced form of AHP.
TOPSIS to apply the method on qualitative criteria, additional effort is required to quantify subjective terminology.