About this good practice
The Prato Textile Industrial District faces techno-scientific and techno-economic challenges:
• SMEs of the textile industry must learn about the shifting techno-productive frontier that require a new entrepreneurial mind-set and rethinking processes and products on new cognitive bases.
• New strategic horizons and innovative designs are required, which should be implemented through new and evolving interaction structures between firms and research laboratories.
• New self-organised supply-chains are essential, since the logistic system has become a kind of “nervous system” of economic activities via IT.
The Municipality of Prato, University of Florence and business associations have teamed with the PRISMA project. A series of seminars focused on cross-sectorial analysis of logistics companies. This collaboration included companies, the local production system and stakeholders of global supply chains.
At the core of this approach is a techno-economic audit of companies via interviews, during which entrepreneurs and managers are stimulated to think about the aforementioned challenges. Reviewers elaborate a specific report for each analysed company, which is then debated in follow-up meetings.
In this way, innovative directions are highlighted, so that companies can subsequently develop innovative projects that fit for calls from different institutional levels. The analysis is also focused on production-chains, where topics involving systemic questions emerge.
Depending on the number of enterprises audited.
Evidence of success
Our methodology has generated positive results:
1) A first call for start-ups was successful, given the high number of proposed projects.
2) The first step of our analysis activity has allowed to point out at least fifteen innovative design lines that pursue the introduction of highly innovative technologies, concerning either single companies or networks of them.
Interactions between companies and researchers are generating a significant set of innovative projects.
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice is able to identify key problems that concern both single companies and the local production lines.
At the same time, the survey allowed entrepreneurs and managers to self-analyse their context and immediately exchange information and knowledge with the research team. In short, bidirectional knowledge transfer is realised, enriching firms and researchers, while also jointly identifying potential innovative lines.