This is how Flanders Make tackles an innovation process

An innovation process is an accurate balancing act between the ambition of a company, the competences of people and the potential of resources. Flanders Make is a partner that listens to these needs on the basis of its expertise and guides the company purposefully through the innovation process.

Innovation is not a goal in itself. It must respond to market needs in order to win new customers and bind existing customers with valuable products and services. This is possible in many different ways. Usually, one thinks of tangible innovations such as a faster car, a more practical robot or an autonomous machine. Yet innovation is often found in those things you don't immediately see. Did you know, for instance, that an electric drive becomes up to 40% more powerful if you use the right cooling? Or that the use of models for the design of product families creates significant time and efficiency gains?

Flanders Make cooperates with companies in numerous ways. Below, we will go deeper into 4 of them:

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1. Precompetitive research projects: not against but with each other

In a precompetitive research project, several companies are working together on a shared technological challenge. Flanders Make identifies, together with companies and research institutions, very concrete technological domains on which the research will focus. We look at the potential for the industry, possible concrete applications and the expected obstacles to a broad implementation. Companies that join such a pre-competitive research project are at the forefront of the innovation train. They can immediately validate the new technology or application for their company-specific case. This lowers the threshold when, after the project, they want to start working with the technology. So, several companies sit around the same table and work together on one project. However, there is no direct competition: afterwards, each goes its own way and the research results take on a company-specific form.

By bringing companies and researchers together, the results of the research can reach companies more quickly. In addition, companies learn from one another about the implications of using new technology.

Precompetitive research projects are supported by the Flemish Government through VLAIO (Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship).

2. Tailor-made innovation: all eyes on you

Companies can turn to Flanders Make for the development or improvement of a specific technological solution, from an idea to a fully functional product or process. In this approach, we work together one-on-one. All our knowledge and resources are at your company’s disposal.

Sometimes, however, it is not so clear where the shoe pinches. In that case, a feasibility study will provide the answer. In such study, we look for growth potential, identify gaps and draw up an action plan. Also for these projects, support mechanisms, such as the Innovation Boosting initiative, are available.

3. Living labs: experimenting with Industry 4.0 technology

In order to inspire and guide companies towards Industry 4.0, we use living labs. These are industry-relevant set-ups that companies can use to experiment with new technology. This provides them insights into the potential for their company and helps them to identify opportunities for their own innovation process.

We have numerous living labs: from smart connected systems to operator-supporting technologies.

4. Demonstration platforms: the power of international collaboration

SmartFactory stands out as an Industry 4.0 demonstration platform. With this initiative, we join forces with companies to provide answers to the challenges of our production companies within the Benelux. In this way, we are building a mobile production unit of the future that, thanks to the efficient use of new technologies and methods, will be able to produce made-to-measure mass products. Flanders Make creates the perfect framework for these partners to communicate and to carry out joint research, development, testing and implementation activities. Eight companies have already jumped on the bandwagon. They can now watch their own technologies at work with those of other partners as well as those of SmartFactory Kaiserlautern. Thanks to technology transfer, they can not only develop a vision of the future for their company, but also realise it.

I'm interested. What should I do?

Contact us today by sending an e-mail to Together we will look at what it takes to realise your innovation potential!

In need of innovative solutions for your production process?

Filip De Coninck - Chief Valorization Officer

Filip De Coninck - Chief Valorization Officer

Filip De Coninck is Chief Valorization Officer of Flanders Make. He stands already for 20 years with one leg in research and the other in the industry. With a focus on sustainable innovation and an entrepreneurial heart beating for opportunities, he builds collaborative bridges between researchers and entrepreneurs.

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