AFIL Working Groups are the core of the Manufacturing Innovation in Lombardy promoting the cooperation among companies and other regional stakeholders
AFIL - Associazione Fabbrica Intelligente Lombardia, is the Lombardy cluster for advanced manufacturing. Its Thematic Working Groups (WGs) are the main instrument provided to the cluster members to foster their collaboration and cooperation in innovation activities. Every WG meets periodically, according to the identified priorities and the idea for projects emerging by its members.
The Thematic Working Groups of AFIL are the core of the manufacturing innovation in Lombardy, and they also contribute to the update of the regional technological priorities mapping. Such map is also used as input for the Lombardy work programmes for research and innovation. To date, 4 WGs are active in AFIL community:
• Additive Manufacturing
• Materials and Surface Treatments
• Digital & Virtual Factory
• De- and Remanufacturing
Each WG is conceived with an open structure and it meets periodically to favour the creation of innovative networks of companies, RTOs, universities and association. Through those networks is then possible to develop project ideas which can be both presented for public calls or developed privately among different members of the group.
For an effective management, every WG is coordinated by a steering committee composed by at least 2 responsible persons, experts in the field and able to lead discussions and the development of the group.
An organisational structure able to support and animate the members network is the main resource needed to develop this tool. In particular, AFIL has 5 employees supporting the WGs activities.
The financial resources to run the structure are gained from the members annual fee.
Evidence of success
During 2017 the WGs member participated to 20 regional meetings and took part in 28 interregional events. The main outcomes resulting from the active participation to these working groups are:
• Direct collaboration on specific technological themes
• Creation of partnerships for Regional and European Calls
• Participation to Vanguard Initiative: ESM and 3DP Pilots (letters of intents signed by companies)
• Matchmaking opportunities at national and international level
One of the most challenging objective is to maintain the commitment of the members involved in the working groups (especially SMEs)
Potential for learning or transfer
The model of AFIL working groups can be replicated in other Regions in order to set-up the basis for collaboration among interregional stakeholders. Indeed, having the same mechanism in place and focusing on synergic thematic can ease the matching of potential partners for the implementation of project ideas either public or privately funded.
This is also a replicable model generating positive impact on the development of Vanguard Initiative-related project. Indeed, regional working groups could help in increasing stakeholders’ commitment and involvement toward the implementation of demo-case projects.
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